English Vocabulary for Clothing

Designing Fashion
Clothing Fashion. Hero Images / Getty Images

The words below are some of the most important used when talking about clothes and fashion such as when you go shopping. Words that are used only for women are marked with a 'w', words that are only used for men are marked with an 'm'.

General Clothing Terms and Examples

  • anorak - If you're hiking in cold weather, you'll need an anorak.
  • belt - I've lost weight, so I need a new belt to hold up my trousers.
  • blouse w - That's such pretty blouse. I love the checked pattern.
  • cardigan - Put on a cardigan and turn down the heat to save money at home.
  • dress w - Anna wore an elegant red dress to the reception.
  • gloves - I prefer to wear gloves to mittens because my fingers need to be free.
  • jacket - Let me put on a jacket and let's go for a walk.
  • jeans - I only wear jeans on the weekend as I have to wear a business suit during the week.
  • jumper - That's a cute jumper. Where did you buy it?
  • overalls - Overalls have been out of fashion for a very long time.
  • overcoat - When dressing formal, it's best to wear an overcoat.
  • pullover - I'm cold, so I need to put on a pullover.
  • raincoat - Raincoats won't keep you warm, but they will keep you dry.
  • scarf - A scarf is a beautiful accessory to add a touch of elegance.
  • shirt - You should wear a dress shirt to work today.
  • sweat-shirt - I put on a sweat-shirt and went to the gym to work out.
  • T-shirt - He usually wears a t-shirt to work. He's a slob.
  • tie - On the west coast people don't usually wear ties. However, ties are quite common on the east coast.
  • skirt w - She wore a skirt and blouse to the job interview.
  • mini-skirt w - Mini-skirts were introduced in the 1960s and were considered very provocative.
  • shorts - It's summer. Why aren't you wearing shorts?
  • socks - If you don't wear socks, your feet will stink!
  • suit - Some professions require men to wear a suit to work.
  • sweater - I pulled on the warm sweater and drank a cup of cocoa.
  • trousers - Everyone puts on their trousers one leg at a time.

Sportswear

  • jogging suit - Alice got into a jogging suit and ran three miles.
  • tracksuit - In some countries, people like to wear tracksuits when lounging around the house.
  • bikini w - Sports Illustrated features a bikini issue every year. Some think beautiful women in tiny bikinis don't have much to do with sports!
  • swimming costume / swimming-suit w - Get your swimming-suit on and lets go to the beach.
  • swimming trunks m - In the USA, most men wear swimming trunks rather than speedos.

Footwear

  • boots - If you're going for a hike, you'll need to wear boots.
  • sandals - During the summer, I usually wear sandals on the weekends.
  • slippers - I sometimes like to get in my pajamas, put on my slippers and spend a quiet evening at home.
  • shoes - The heels on my shoes have worn out. I need a new pair.
  • sneakers - We're just getting some groceries, put on your sneakers and let's go.

Underwear

  • bra w - Victoria's Secret has made the bra into a fashion statement.
  • knickers w - Don't get your knickers twisted!
  • panties w - She bought three pairs of panties with her bra.
  • tights / pantyhose w - My sister doesn't like to wear dresses because she hates pantyhose.
  • boxers m - She thinks boxers look better on men than briefs.
  • briefs m - Briefs are also called "tidy whities" in idiomatic American English.

Hats and Caps

  • beret - Men in France seem to love wearing berets.
  • cap - Americans wear a lot of baseball caps.
  • hat - Men used to wear hats in the 1950s. Everything has changed since then!
  • helmet - Soldiers could be recognized during the war by the type of helmet they wore.

Natural Materials

  • cotton - Cotton breathes and is an excellent all-around fabric.
  • denim - Denim is the cloth used to make jeans.
  • leather - Leather jackets are considered quite stylish by some.
  • linen - Linen sheets are very comfortable during hot summer nights.
  • rubber - The souls of boots are often made out of rubber, or rubber-like materials.
  • silk - Silk sheets are considered a luxury in most parts of the world.
  • suede - "Don't you step on my blue suede shoes" is a line from a famous Elvis Presley song.
  • wool - I prefer to wear a traditional wool coat to keep warm in winter.

Artificial Materials

  • plastic - There are many plastic components in today'sporting shoes.
  • nylon - Nylon is used to make rain jackets.
  • polyester - Polyester is often mixed with cotton to make a shirt "iron-free".

Fashion

  • designer - Designers are often outlandish people.
  • fashion - The latest fashions come from Paris and London.
  • fashion-conscious - Fashion-conscious people spend thousands on clothes every year.
  • trend - I can't keep up with the latest trends.
  • unfashionable - That jacket is quite unfashionable.

Patterns

  • checked - The checked shirt is quite popular in Portland.
  • flowered - She likes to wear flowered dresses.
  • patterned - I generally stay away from patterned shirts.
  • plain - I prefer a plain blue shirt.
  • polka-dots or spots - Spotted blouses are fashionable this season.
  • pinstriped - A dark blue pinstriped suit can be very elegant.
  • tartan - The Scottish are known for their tartan clothes.