How to talk about clothes in French

In this lesson, we are going to see how to talk about clothes in French.

If you ever find yourself on a shopping spree in France, being able to describe accurately what you want will save you time and money! It’s also a very good ice-breaker in French conversation with locals.

talk about clothes in French

Table of content :

  1. Clothes in French : the most common verbs
  2. Basic clothing vocabulary
  3. Talking about fabrics in French
  4. Underwear and beachwear
  5. Footwear
  6. Knowing useful accessories in French
  7. French expressions with clothing

Clothes in French : the most common verbs

When shopping, you need to learn a few key French verbs to be able to communicate with the shop attendants. People working in clothing stores may ask lots of questions ; therefore it’s a good idea to understand these verbs.

  • Aller bien/mal à quelqu’un = to suit someone nicely/badly
  • Enlever = to take off
  • Enfiler = to slip into / to put on
  • Essayer des vêtements = to try clothes
  • S’habiller = to get dressed
  • Se déshabiller = to get undressed
  • Laver des vêtements = to wash clothes
  • Mettre = to put on
  • Porter = to wear
verbs for clothes in french

Basic clothing vocabulary

The French word for a piece of clothing is “un vêtement” (masculine). However, clothes are usually used in plural: “les vêtements“. When we talk about an outfit, we say “une tenue”. In slang, you’ll often hear “les fringues”. Let’s see more in details some more key vocabulary.

Key clothing items in French

  • Une chemise = a shirt
  • Un costume = a suit
  • Une jupe = a skirt
  • Un haut = a top
  • Un manteau = a coat
  • Un pantalon = pants
  • Un pull = a sweater
  • Une robe = a dress
  • Un short = shorts
  • Un survêtement = a tracksuit
  • Une veste = a coat / a jacket

Useful clothing phrases in conversation

  • La taille = the size
  • La pointure = the shoe size
  • Quelle est votre taille / votre pointure ? = What’s your size / shoe size ?
  • Je fais du 36/38/40.. ou du S/M/L.. = I’m size 36/38/40 (for clothes and shoes)
  • Je chausse du 39/40/41.. = I’m size 39/40/41 (only for the shoes)
basic clothing vocabulary in french

Underwear and beachwear

Knowing a few words of French lingerie can make you avoid some embarrassing moments. You will find below some practical terms for French underwear and beachwear.

Underwear terms

  • Des bas = pantyhose
  • Un body = a bodysuit
  • Un boxer / un caleçon = men’s brief
  • Des chaussettes = socks
  • Des collants = stockings
  • Une culotte = women’s panty
  • Un soutien-gorge = a bra
  • Un slip = underwear
  • Un string = a thong

At the beach

  • Un maillot de bain une pièce = a one-piece swimsuit
  • Un maillot de bain deux pièces ou bikini = a bikini
  • Un short de bain = swimming shorts
french beachwear

French footwear vocabulary

Although French women love their high-heels, the use of comfortable shoes can sometimes be vital ! Let’s see the different types of footwear in France.

  • Des ballerines = ballerinas
  • Des baskets ou des tennis = runners / sneakers
  • Des bottes = boots
  • Des chaussures de marche ou de randonnée = hiking shoes
  • Des chaussures plates = flat shoes
  • Des mocassins = loafers
  • Des sandales = sandals
  • Des talons aiguilles / des talons hauts / des escarpins = high-heels
  • Des tongs = flip-flops
footwear in french

Knowing useful accessories in French

If you’d like to complete your look with some trendy accessories, read on !

Different hats in French

  • Un béret = a beret
  • Un bonnet = a winter hat
  • Une casquette = a cap
  • Un chapeau = a hat

Other accessories

  • Une ceinture = a belt
  • Une écharpe = a scarf
  • Un foulard = a headscarf
  • Des gants = gloves
  • Des lunettes  = glasses
  • Des lunettes de soleil = sunglasses
  • Un sac = a bag
  • Un sac a dos = a backpack
  • Un sac à main = a handbag
accessories in french

French expressions with clothing

French language has a lot of idioms, as we’ve seen with the colours or the food for example. The same applies with clothing, as you can see below :

  • Ca te/vous va comme un gant = (it fits you like a glove) it suits/fits you very well
  • Changer d’avis comme de chemise = (change opinion as a shirt) to often change your mind
  • Etre sur son trente-et-un = (to be on your 31st) to be very elegant/well dressed
  • N’avoir rien à se mettre = to have nothing to wear
  • Se prendre une veste = (to take oneself a jacket) to come a cropper
  • Se serrer la ceinture = to tighten the belt
  • Trouver chaussure à son pied = (to find the shoe for your foot) to find the right partner
french expressions with clothes

I hope you enjoyed today’s blog ! For the fashionistas and advanced learners, I recommend to read the French Vogue.

You can easily build French vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with French with Agnes, anywhere in the world. Do not hesitate to get in touch should you wish to follow your dream about learning French.

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