List of French Clothes and French Clothing Vocabulary - Les Vêtements

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Ahhh, French fashion. There are a zillion specific words to describe French clothes, however lists on the web are usually very limited. So here is a longer list which will help you master French clothing. 

If you'd like to suggest more words, please contact me through Facebook or Twitter .

Les vêtements : clothes.

  • Les fringues : clothes in slang (ends on a G sound)

Les vêtements d’extérieur - outerwears 

  • Un manteau : a coat, a dress coat, usually long. It’s also the generic word to say something warm to wear outside.
  • Une veste : a blazer, also generic for outerwears.
  • Un imperméable : a raincoat. 
  • Un K-way (pronounced "ka way"), un coupe-vent : a rain jacket. K-way is a brand, but it's so popular that it became the word used to describe this very thin plastic jacket that you can fold into a small bag and then tie around your waist. Most kids have one for Spring days!
  • Un blouson : an waist length jacket, a bomber jacket, often used to describe a leather jacket : un blouson en/de cuir.
  • Un anorak : a ski jacket.
  • Une doudoune : that’s somewhat a new word. It's a sort of padded/ski jacket, parka (see a picture here

Les hauts : tops

  • Un chandail : a sweater - sounds like “eye”, and a bit old fashion.
  • Un tricot : a (knitted) sweater - very old fashion
  • Un pull : a sweater - most commonly used word nowadays
  • Un (pull à) col-roulé : turtle neck sweater
  • Un pull en V : un pull à col en V - V neck sweater
  • Un pull à col rond : round neck sweater
  • Un cardigan, un gilet : cardigan sweater (open in front with buttons) 
  • Une chemise : a shirt (usually for man, but could be used for women also).
  • Une chemise à manches courtes : short sleeve shirt
  • Une chemise à manches longues : long sleeve shirt
  • Une chemise à manches trois quarts : 3/4 length sleeve shirt
  • Une blouse : a lady’s shirt (a bit old fashion)
  • Un chemisier : a lady’s shirt - yes, I know it's a masculine word to describe women clothes, whereas "une chemise" for man is feminine... go figure!
  • Un T-shirt : Tshirt, pronounced in Franglish “ti sheurt”
  • Un débardeur : tank top

The list continues on page 2 with men suits, pants, skirts, dresses and night-time clothing.

Continues from page 1

Un Costume - men suit

  • Also means a costume as in a disguise.
  • Une veste : a blazer, a sports coat. Un gilet : a vest - watch out for the false cognate - “un gilet” is the 3rd part of a 3 piece man suit, the one you wear under the jacket ≠ “une veste” which is the blazer part. “Un gilet” is also a cardigan sweater. “Un gilet” is also called “un veston” but it’s old fashion.
  • Un complet : a man’s suit - very old fashion. 
  • Un tailleur : a lady’s suit. You can say “un tailleur pantalon” : lady’s pants suit, or “un tailleur jupe” : skit’s suit. "Tailleur" as the sound of "Thai" in it.
  • Un smoking : a tuxedo. 

Les bas - the bottoms

  • Un pantalon : pants - note this word is usually used in the singular. “Des pantalons” to refer to one pair of pants is possible, but quite old fashion.
  • Un jean : jeans. Singular as well. Not pronounced like the French name “Jean” but like the English word “jean” (djin).
  • Un short : shorts. (singular)
  • Un bermuda : knee length shorts
  • Un Capri : above the ankle pants.
  • Un caleçon : leggings (a sort of stretchy pants). Watch out, this is also the word for men’s underwear: boxer shorts.

Pour les femmes : for ladies

  • Une robe : a dress – not a robe which is « un peignoir ». 
  • Une robe du soir : an evening dress. Do not mistake it with "une chemise de nuit" with is a nightgown to go to bed...
  • Une robe bustier : a strapless dress
  • Une robe sans-manche : a sleeveless dress
  • Une robe à manches longues/courtes : a dress with long/short sleeves
  • Une robe avec des petites bretelles - a dress with small straps
  • Une jupe : a skirt.
  • Une mini-jupe : very short skirt
  • Une jupe au dessus du genou : above the knee length skirt
  • Une jupe au dessous du genou : under the knee length skirt
  • Une jupe longue : long skirt
  • Une jupe plissée : pleated skirt
  • Une jupe droite : straight skirt
  • Une jupe fendue : a skirt with a slit

Pour la nuit : for the night

  • Une chemise de nuit : a night gown.
  • Un pyjama : PJs. Singular in French.
  • Une robe de chambre : a robe (to be inside the house)
  • Un peignoir (de bain) : a bathrobe
  • Des pantoufles : slippers

Vêtements spéciaux - special clothing

  • Une salopette : an overall
  • Un bleu de travail : it's a type of overall protection clothing that contractors wear... usually blue.
  • Un uniforme : a uniform
  • Un tablier : an apron
  • As far as I know, there is no word for "scrubs". We'd say "une blouse d'infirmier/infirmière, de docteur...".

I will soon list more French clothing, in particular shoes, accessories and underwear, list of French adjectives used to describe clothes, including colors.

You will be able to practice all this vocabulary and grammar in context with my bilingual easy "learn French in Context" story : Camille cherche une robe.

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Your Citation
Chevalier-Karfis, Camille. "List of French Clothes and French Clothing Vocabulary - Les Vêtements." ThoughtCo, Mar. 4, 2017, Chevalier-Karfis, Camille. (2017, March 4). List of French Clothes and French Clothing Vocabulary - Les Vêtements. Retrieved from Chevalier-Karfis, Camille. "List of French Clothes and French Clothing Vocabulary - Les Vêtements." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 20, 2018).