In this article, I’m going to teach you all the words used in English for clothing. This article is in storytelling format due to which you can feel comfortable with reading. So let’s jump into the main article.
If you are having a problem with how to remember vocabulary so you can read this article-
Welcome to this vocabulary builder learning article. In this article, I’ve used IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) which is the best tool for improvement of pronunciation and accent. You can sound like a native if you do use IPA for Vocabulary or Accent improvement.
We’re going to go over lots of clothes or garments so you can increase your English Vocabulary. We’ll also talk about the pronunciation of the words so you can feel confident using them in conversation.
- Button-down (Dress shirt)
This button-down is what we call a shirt with buttons top to down the front and a collar. Sometimes it has a pocket.
How to pronounce/speak:-
Most Americans will pronounce ‘button’ with a stop T. This is because of the sound pattern T-schwa-N (TəN). Most Americans make that a Stop T. Like- But+ n = button. Put your tongue up to the T (speak- but) then stop the air (don’t put down your tongue in your mouth), and then make the N sound. Ba+Un=Button.
Button-down, Button, Button-down, Button, Button-down.
This can also be called a dress shirt. Okay, what’s interesting here is that you can say the ‘S’ at last in- the dress then the shirt. Or you can drop it, connect the two words and just say the SH: dresh-shirt. Dresh-shirt. You can definitely do that and it will still sound normal. Dresh-shirt.
Try that:- Dresh-shirt, Dresh-shirt, Dresh-shirt = Dress Shirt.
This is also a little tricky because it has two R’s, and those can be a challenge. If they’re hard for you, practice holding out the R:
Speak Like- drrrrrrrrrrrress shirrrrrrrt. shirrrrrrrt.
Notice in the second word there is no vowel, it’s the R vowel, sh—rrrr—t. Shirt, Shirt. Dress shirt, Dress shirt. Say that with a loud voice:- dress shirt.
- Underwear (Panties)
Now I’m not gonna teach you how to pronounce Underwear. We have underwear, which is another tricky one with two R’s in it.
Again, hold out the R’s to practice: underrrrrr wear. Make sure you have jaw drop for that EH vowel before the second R consonant.
Say it:- Weaaaaaar. Weaaaaaar. Underwear.Underwear. underwear.
Another term for this: Panties, some people hate that term Panties. Oh boy, this word. I don’t actually use it, I use ‘underwear’. Something to note about the pronunciation: It’s not uncommon to drop the T after an N sound. So you can either pronounce this word with a True T as panties, Or with no T at all. ‘pannies’.
Say those: panties, ‘pannies’.
Another term for this: Undergarments, that’s not as common, Undergarments. You may see this word on a sign/sentence, like, “Keep your undergarments on while trying on swimwear”, but we really don’t say it. American doesn’t use it very much. It’s tough to pronounce, so let’s just not worry about it.
Undergarments, that’s not as common.
Women wear a bra. The full word is brassiere but almost no one says that.
Bra = brassiere.
We usually use the word ‘bra’, with the AH vowel as Brah=Bra (h will be a little bit silent). But in the word, brassiere, we don’t have the AH vowel. It’s the schwa (ə) in the first syllable, bra, bra, Brassiere, Bra.
Say it:- Brassiere, bra, Brassiere, bra, Brassiere, bra.
- Boxers (Briefs)
Men can wear Boxers, Boxers. Did you know that there’s no X sound in American English? The letter X is either the KS sounds together, like in EXTRA, KS or the GZ sounds together, like in EXACTLY. GZ. In boxers, it’s the KS sounds. Boxers. Boxers.
Say it:- Boxers, Boxers, Boxers.
Another word for boxers is briefs, Briefs. We have two vowel letters here, but they’re just making one vowel sound, the E vowel, Briefs. If R gives you problems in a cluster, remember to hold it out: brrrrrriefs. Briefs.
Try it:- briefs, Briefs, briefs, Briefs, briefs, Briefs.
Socks. Letter O here making the AH as in FATHER vowel (Fahther). So-. Lots of jaw drop. Socks. Say it out loud: socks, Socks. You can have just little athletic socks for running. You can have dress socks to wear with your suit or for dressier outfit. You can have boot socks or knee-high socks that you should wear with a boot that came up your leg.
Dress socks, boot socks, knee-high socks.
Notice how the S at the end of the dress leads you right into the S of socks, with no break. Dress socks. Dress socks. And no, you don’t have to try to make it an extra-long S, just one S sound. Try that, dress socks, Boot socks, the ‘T’ here is a Stop T because the next word begins with a consonant. Boo(t)=boot (stop the air)—boot—socks. Boot socks.
Try that now. Boot socks, Knee-high socks.
We have three words here, but they should all flow together. We don’t want separation. Knee-high socks. It’s like one word with three syllables. Knee-high socks, Knee-high socks.
Notice the K is silent. Knee-high socks. Try that with me. Knee-high socks.
This is an undershirt and it’s a common thing for men to wear under a dress shirt.
Undershirt, It’s the ‘under’ part from ‘underwear’ and the ‘shirt’ part from ‘dress shirt’! Remember, the R is the vowel in ‘shirt’: sh—rr—t. Shirt, Undershirt.
Say that:- undershirt, undershirt, undershirt, undershirt.
Your basic T-shirt. T-shirt. Once you’ve got ‘shirt’ down, this one’s pretty easy. T-shirt. Say that
T-shirt, T-shirt, T-shirt, T-shirt, T-shirt.
- Long Sleeve T-Shirt
The long sleeve T–shirt of course has long sleeves. Long-sleeved T-shirt. You don’t have to pronounce the D in ‘long-sleeved’. Coz, T comes between two other consonants, and sometimes we drop T’s and D’s when that happens. Long-sleeved t-shirt, Long-sleeved T-shirt.
Say that- Long-sleeved T-shirt.
- V-neck T-shirt
The neckline with a T-shirt. When it’s shaped like V, we call it a V-neck T-shirt, V-neck.
Say that loudly:-V-neck, V-neck T-shirt, V-neck T-shirt.
- Tank Top
Tank top. We don’t fully pronounce the K here, Kk. We just do a quick stop of air as we do with the Stop T. Tank top, Tank top. Tank top. And that vowel in the tank: It’s the A vowel followed by an NG sound. That NG sound really changes the vowel. It ends up sounding much more like the AY diphthong, tay, tay, tank. Tank top.
Try that- Tank top, Tank top, Tank top.
- Strapless Shirt
Then you could also have a shirt that didn’t have any straps. It is just tight here and came down. That would be called a strapless shirt, Strapless. It has the word ‘less’ in it, but we don’t pronounce it like that. We pronounce it ‘liss=less’, Quickly. It’s unstressed, Strapless. Say it out loud: strapless, strapless, strapless, strapless.
- Tube top
If strapless is tight all the way down, then we call it a tube top, Tube top. Don’t release the B, just close the lips, tuoooo-top= tub—top=tube-top, then open right into the T sound. Tube top. Try that- tube top.
This is a nice old comfy sweatshirt. So it’s made out of this thick material, really cozy. This one has a hood. They don’t have to, Sweatshirt. You don’t need to fully pronounce either one of those T’s. You can make them both Stops. Sweaaa(t) shirrrrr(t)=Sweat shirt. abrupt stops give us the idea that it’s a T. sweatshirt.
Say that loudly:-Sweatshirt.
This one has a hood And this is not quite the same thing as a hoodie. A hoodie has a hood and then it zips up the front. So this is a hoodie, hoodie. Careful the double O here is not the OO vowel, like in proof, oo, it’s the UH vowel like in ‘book’. UH. UH not OO. Hoo-, Hoo- hoodie. Hoodie.
Say that loudly:-Hoodie.
Dress, Dress. The thing that’s interesting about the DR cluster is that it can sound like JR, and that’s right. So it can be DD, dress, or JJ, dress = jjjjj-rrrrrr-ess. If you’re not sure about your R, hold it out. Drrrrrress. Dress, dress. I’m making it with a J sound, I think that’s more common. Dress. Say it- Dress, Dress.
- Jumper (Romper)
This is a jumper. I think there are a couple of different terms for it but basically, it’s one piece. It’s not separate top and bottom but it’s also not a dress. It’s like pants or shorts. Jumper or one-piece. I’ve also seen this called a ‘romper’. The trick with –er ending sounds is to make an R sound but make it really quickly since it’s an unstressed syllable.
Jumper, -er, -er. Jumper. Romper er, -er, Romper.
Try those- Jumper, Romper.
- One piece
One piece. Right from the N to the P with no break, we don’t want this to be choppy. Onnnnnnepiece. One–piece.
Try that- one-piece.
This is a sweater, Sweater. We have a Flap T here because the T comes between two vowels. So it’s not a sweater, with a True T, but sweader=sweater, t= D D D flap, with a Flap T.
Try that- Sweater.
The wrap is also a sweater but you would probably call it a wrap. It’s one of these things which you put on and it doesn’t close up in the front but you kinda wrap it like that Wrap. The W in the WR cluster is silent. Just begin with an R sound. Rap=Wrap. wrap.
Say it out loud- Wrap.
And this is also a sweater but you would probably call it a wrap. It’s one of these things which you put on and it doesn’t close up in the front but you kinda wrap it.
Jeans. Do you love them as much as I do? Jeans, with the EE vowel, jee, jeans. Here the plural is a Z sound, but it’s light, it’s weak. Don’t give it much energy. Jeans, Jeans.
Now other jeans are a little different. They are maternity. So maternity refers to anything that is specially made for pregnant women, Maternity. THE first T is a True T, the second T is a Flap T. Why? They both come between vowels.
Yes, but a T is always a True T if it starts a stressed syllable. Maternity, maternity.
Say that loudly:-Maternity.
Sweatpants. Just like ‘sweatshirt’, the T in ‘sweat’ is a Stop T because the next sound is a consonant. Sweat-pants. Sweatpants.
Say that loudly:-Sweatpants, Sweatpants.
So shorts could be called running shorts, athletic shorts, soccer shorts. Whatever you use them for. Workout clothes. Shorts. All kinds of shorts. The vowel in ‘shorts’ is the AW as in the LAW vowel. But when this vowel is followed by R, it’s pretty different. The lips round more and the tongue pulls back a little more. O, OR instead of AW, oooor. O, OR. Shooooorts, shorts. Shorts.
Say it- Shorts.
I also said “workout clothes”. The word ‘clothes’ has a voiced TH, clothes. But you know what? Drop it! Americans almost always drop the TH in this word, clothes. So now it sounds just like this word, close=clothes. Yes. They will sound the same. That’s okay.
Say it- workout Clothes.
Pants. You can also call them to dress pants, Pants, dress pants. We have the AA vowel followed by the N consonant. All nasal consonants change the A vowel. Rather than A, it’s aa-e, aa-e. The tongue relaxes in the back before the N. Paaa, paaa, pants. Pants. Pants.
Try that- Pants.
In khakis, Khakis. The H is silent. Kaa-kis=Khakis
Say it- Khakis.
- Swim Trunk (Swim Suit, Bathing suit)
These are swim trunks for men You could also call them just a swim suit. Swim trunks. The TR cluster can be pronounced CHR. That’s common. So you can say t, trunks, or you can say ch, chruncks. Swim trunks. Swim. Note this is the IH vowel, swim, not the EE vowel sweem. Ih, ih. More relaxed. Swim trunks.
Say that- swim trunks.
Swim suit. If an ending T like this is at the end of your thought group, it sounds nice to make that a Stop T. Swim suit. Swim suit.
Try that- Swimsuit.
You could also say bathing suit. This word is tricky because it has a TH sound. This TH sound is voiced and just the very tip of your tongue comes through the teeth. Bathing suit, Bathing suit.
Try that- Bathing suit.
For women we have one-piece. This is a one-piece suit. It’s strapless one-piece and strapless. We already went over these. One-piece, when we were talking about the jumper and strapless, when we were talking about shirts.
Now two-piece. Bikini, 2-piece. In bikini, we have three-letter I’s, but the first one is a schwa (ə): like- Buh, Bikini.
Say that, bikini.
Two-piece, Two with the T consonant and the U vowel. Let your lips be more relaxed and then round into the position U. Twoo. The movement of the rounding N is a very nice relaxed sound rather than tu-tu where your lips are tight in the position the whole time. Relaxed then
round. Two. Two-piece.
When someone at the beach, she also likes to wear one of these. It’s called a rash guard and it’s a shirt made out of bathing suit material that can protect you from the sun.
Rashguard. Remember to hold out the R’s if they’re tricky for you. Say- Rrrrrrrash guarrrrrrrrrrd.
‘Guard’ is like ‘car’ or ‘far’: you need to drop the jaw for the vowel and leave the tongue tip forward, then pull it back and up for the R. Gaah-r. Guard.
Say it out loud: rash guard.
This is a suit. So it’s a jacket or suit coat and pants.
Suit / pants / jacket / suit coat. Suit.
If the next word begins with a consonant, remember this ending T will be a Stop T: suit pants,
suit jacket, suit coat.
Say those out loud- suit pants, suit jacket, suit coat.
I forgot to explain one that is a tie. This is a tie. True T, AI diphthong. Tie. Tie.
Say that loudly:-Tie.
Now two more;-
Now there’s also something called a blazer and it’s cut like a suit jacket but it’s a little bit more casual and it’s not part of a set. Both men and women can wear suits or blazers and women’s suits can come with pants or skirts. Blazer. The letter A makes the AY diphthong.
Diphthong means two positions: jaw drop, then tongue arching toward the roof of the mouth.
AY, ay. Blay-, blazer.
Say that out loud: blazer.
- Hose (Panty Hose)
And when women are getting more dressy or dressier, sometimes they wear hose or pantyhose, Hose or panty hose. ‘Panty’, when said with ‘hose’, pretty much always has a dropped T. Pantyhose. ‘Hose’ has the OH diphthong. Two positions: jaw drop, and then lip rounding. Oh, oh, hose.
That’s it for this article. I hope you’ve enjoyed it.