How To Talk About Clothes In English

How to talk about clothes in English

Introduction

This is part of a collection of guides that I am writing about clothes.

In this first article, I want to show you how to talk about clothes in English. But these are the most common kinds of clothing that people wear daily.

You might have to do this in an English test like IELTS or TOEFL. Or maybe you will have to do it as part of your schoolwork.

Or maybe you just want to be able to talk about clothes for your job.

Then again, you might just want to talk about clothes with people you meet in conversation.

Whatever your desire or motivation, I am here to help you.

Read on, and I will show you how to talk about clothes in English!

Let’s dive right in…

How to talk about clothes in English (15)

Basic English Vocabulary of Clothes

Let’s look at the most common types of clothes and clothing we can see — and how to talk about these in English.

T-Shirt

This is a simple type of clothing that is worn by everyone.

Usually, a T-shirt is made of cotton and has short sleeves and a round neck.

But it can be made of other fabric and have long sleeves or a V-neck.

Many T-shirts have pictures or designs on the front or back. And many others have slogans.

And some T-shirts have a rock or pop group name on the front. Or are used to promote something.

 

Sentences Using The Word T-Shirt

 

I have so many T-shirts — some of them are really old and starting to fade.

 

Mike has to wear a suit at work all week, but at the weekend he only wears a T-shirt and jeans.

Shirt

Traditionally, a shirt was worn only by a man.

But nowadays, both men and women wear shirts.

Shirts can be formal or informal. They can have long or short sleeves. And they can be made of a fabric such as cotton, silk or linen.

Usually, a shirt is made of a soft fabric to feel comfortable against the body.

A shirt usually has a collar, but some shirts have no collar at all. And it might have a breast pocket — somewhere to put a pen.

 

Sentences Using The Word Shirt

 

Simon has a collection of cotton shirts that he wears to work. He must present a formal appearance in the office.

 

I have a denim shirt that I have had for years. It’s very comfortable to wear and I can’t bear to throw it out.

Top

Top is a word used in English to describe different kinds of clothing worn on the upper part of the body.

Shirts, t-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies can all be referred to as a top.

Women’s clothing worn on the upper part of the body is often called a top, as the clothing doesn’t clearly fit into a more defined category of shirt or t-shirt.

Above are some examples of tops.

 

Sentences Using The Word Top

 

Mandy has many tops that she wears for all different occasions. Some are quite formal, others are more suited for the weekend and going out.

 

Lucy bought a new top in the mall on Saturday. It was very expensive, but she loves the way it looks on her.

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Jeans

Jeans have been around for over a hundred years!

Everyone has at least one pair of jeans…

Usually, jeans are made of denim — a dark blue fabric. And have copper rivets or buttons.

But nowadays jeans can come in any colour. And in many different styles too.

 

Sentences Using The Word Jeans

 

Some of the jeans I have I bought so long ago. But they fit me so well, so cannot get rid of them.

 

My mum threw out one of my old pair of jeans. She said they were too old and getting dirty!

How to talk about clothes in English (5)

Shorts

These are short trousers.

Shorts can be worn for sport or exercise. But also for leisure — shorts are ideal clothing to wear in hot weather or if you are going to the beach.

Shorts can be made in any kind of fabric, and all kinds of designs.

 

Sentences Using The Word Shorts

 

In the summer, when I go running in the morning, I always wear a pair of shorts for comfort.

 

Carla has packed a pair of floral-print shorts to take to the beach.

Jacket

A jacket is worn over a shirt or a t-shirt.

Jackets come in many different styles, ranging from formal to very casual. But a jacket usually has long sleeves to cover the arms, a collar and pockets. Jackets usually have two pockets on the sides on the outside. And two inside pockets.

If the jacket is formal in style, it usually has a breast pocket too.

Jackets can be made in any kind of fabric — wool, cotton, linen, leather, or suede.

Check out some of the jackets above.

 

Sentences Using The Word Jacket

 

Dan has to go to a dinner party for work on Friday evening, so he plans to wear a smart jacket with his white shirt.

 

I have a thick cotton jacket that I like to wear in the winter to keep me warm.

fashion cover-min

While you are here, check out my Talking Points lesson plan on FASHION.

This can go very well with this guide on clothes.

Click the link below.

how to talk about clothes in english suit (1)

Suit

A suit is a jacket and a pair of trousers worn together.

The jacket and trousers are made of the same fabric and have the same design.

A suit can be made of wool, cotton, silk or linen. It can also be a combination of different fabrics.

Traditionally, a suit was usually worn by a man. But can be worn by men and women today.

Most suits are worn in formal situations — for work, a wedding or a special party.

Take a look at the picture of suits above.

 

Sentences Using The Word Suit

 

Tim always wears a suit to work with a shirt and tie.

 

Craig has three pin-stripe suits; he has to wear a suit when he goes to the office.

How to talk about clothes in English (7)

Sweater/Jumper

This is a garment usually made of wool.

This is because a woollen jumper can keep us warm.

But it can also be made of cotton.

Sweaters and jumpers usually have long sleeves — to keep our arms warm. But can have no sleeves at all.

We call this kind of sweater a tank top in English.

And the collar can be a round neck, a V-neck or a roll-neck.

Take a look at the picture of sweaters above.

 

Sentences Using The Word Sweater/Jumper

 

It’s so cold today! I will have to wear a sweater and a thick coat.

 

Part of our school uniform is a grey jumper — but I really don’t like it!

How to talk about clothes in English (8)

Cardigan

A cardigan is a kind of sweater, except the front is open and can be fastenedusually with buttons but sometimes with a zip.

Cardigans can be made of the same kind of fabric as sweaters.

In the past, cardigans were worn by older men. But now they can be worn by anyone, as they have a wide variety of styles.

They seem to be very popular with women.

People often refer to a cardigan as a ‘cardi’.

Look at the cardigans above.

 

Sentences Using The Word Cardigan

 

I always wear a cardi if it’s a little chilly.

 

Put your cardigan on! You’ll catch your death of cold!

How to talk about clothes in English (9)

Sweatshirt

This is a kind of top that we might wear for sport. But also just for casual use.

Sweatshirts are usually made of cotton and have a round collar.

Sweatshirts come in a wide variety of colours and have many different designs on the front of them.

 

Sentences Using The Word Sweatshirt

 

In the winter, I always wear a sweatshirt when I go running in the morning.

 

I prefer to wear a sweatshirt than a jumper — I find it less itchy against my skin!

How to talk about clothes in English (10)

Hoodie

This is a kind of sweatshirt that has a hood attached to the neck to cover the head.

In the last few years, they have become known as a hoodie.

They are made of the same kind of fabric as sweatshirts and can have the same kind of designs.

Hoodies can be worn to the gym, for sport or as informal wear.

Check out the hoodies above.

Sentences Using The Word Hoodie

Nicky loves the new hoodie that her mother bought her for her birthday!

I love to pull the hood up on my hoodie when I go outside. It feels very warm.

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Blouse

This is a kind of shirt that women wear.

It can be made of any kind of fabric and has many different design styles.

A woman might wear this for work or for a formal situation.

 

Sentences Using The Word Blouse

 

Jane wore a cream-coloured blouse and a blue jacket for the job interview.

 

Hannah loves the way her dark blue pencil skirt goes with the new blouse she bought.

Skirt

This is another item of clothing that a woman or girl usually wears on the bottom half of her body to cover her legs.

Skirts can be made in any kind of fabric and come in a wide array of styles and fashions.

Skirts can be very short — or very long, almost to the ground.

Check out the pictures of skirts above.

 

Sentences Using The Word Skirt

 

Kate likes to wear a pencil skirt to work, as it looks more formal.

 

Anita bought a beautiful ethnic print skirt from the charity shop.

How to talk about clothes in English (13)

Dress

Another type of clothing worn by women.

A dress covers the whole body. A dress can be worn high on the neck — or hung from the shoulders.

It can be short or long, just like a skirt.

And there are many different types and styles of dress. Some types include evening dress, cocktail dress, summer dress and the very popular ‘little black dress’ style.

Take a look at these dresses above.

 

Sentences Using The Word Dress

 

Misha decided to wear her little black dress for the date on Friday.

 

In the summer, I always love to wear one of my summer dresses — so comfortable in the heat.

 

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Plural Words for Clothes

Some words are singularlike shirt, jumper, dress.

But some others are plural. We often apply the phrase ‘a pair of…’ to these kinds of clothes.

Look at the list below.

  • A pair of shorts
  • A pair of trousers
  • A pair of jeans
  • A pair of tights

 

We never say things like ‘a trousers’ or ‘a jeans’.

We can say;

  • Some jeans
  • Some trousers

 

I bought some jeans on Saturday.

 

I will wear some nice trousers to the party.

 

Always plural

Always use the phrase ‘a pair of…’.

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Questions About Clothes

Take a look at the questions below about clothes.

Try to answer them as best you can. Give a full sentence every time.

 

Do you have many T-shirts?

When do you like to wear a T-shirt?

Describe a t-shirt that you often wear.

 

What kind of shirts do you have?

In what situations should someone wear a smart or formal shirt?

Is there a traditional kind of shirt in your country?

Can you describe it?

 

Are fashion tops popular in your country?

Do you have any tops that you like to wear?

 

How many pairs of jeans do you have?

Do you like to wear jeans? Why/why not?

Do you have any ripped jeans? What do other people think of these kinds of jeans?

In what situation should you not wear jeans do you think?

 

When do you like to wear shorts?

What do you think of very short shorts? Are they too short? Or acceptable? Why?

Do you like to wear cargo shorts?

 

Do you have a jacket that you often wear?

Can you describe it?

Do people have to wear formal jackets in your country?

In what situations?

Do you have a leather jacket?

 

Do you own a suit?

When do you wear it?

Are suits worn by people in your country?

What are suits usually made of?

Is there a traditional kind of suit in your country?

Can you describe it?

 

In what kind of weather do people wear sweaters?

Do you have many sweaters?

What is your favourite kind of sweater? What is it made of?

 

Do you have a cardigan?

Why do you like to wear it?

Are cardigans popular in your country?

Who usually wears a cardigan? A man or a woman?

 

Do you own a sweatshirt or a hoodie?

Describe a hoodie that you own.

What kind of logos can you see on the front of a sweatshirt or hoodie?

In what situations can we wear a hoodie?

 

Who wears blouses?

Do you own one? Or someone you know?

Can you describe a blouse?

 

Do you own a dress?

Or someone you know?

How to describe a dress?

What is a summer dress?

What is a cocktail dress?

 

Do you possess many skirts?

What style are they?

Some skirts are very short. What do you think about this?

What fabric can skirts be made of?

Describe a skirt you like to wear.

Conclusion

This is the first part of my series on clothes.

Practice all the above vocabulary and speak out loud any sentences that I have provided above.

And try to answer all the questions. This will help you to express talking about clothes in more detail.

Best of luck!

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