Paris, France is the fashion capital of the world! French clothing vocabulary must be in your vernacular if you plan to visit France.
Clothing is a tremendous part of French culture – think haute couture. You’ll notice that everyone, even French school children are dressed to the nines. Talking about fashion is also a topic many people discuss so it’s important to know what clothes in French are called.
Let’s take a look at what different articles of clothing are called and how to talk about clothes like a native French speaker.
What Is The French Word For Clothing?
The first thing to be aware of is that all objects in French are given a masculine or feminine determiner. Here are the grammar articles to use when discussing French vocabulary for clothes:
- Singular feminine: une
- Plural feminine: la
- Singular masculine: un
- Plural masculine and feminine: les
The French word in general for a single piece of clothing is un vêtement although clothing in French is often referred to in the plural sense as les vêtements. To sound like a native speaker you can also say les fringues which is slang for clothes.
Traditional French Clothing
What did French fashion look like in the past?! As we know, the French have always been considered to be fashionable. Even though traditional dress may look odd to us today and varied across different districts within France, these frocks were once high fashion.
Traditional Clothing For French Women
Women would traditionally wear an outfit consisting of four main pieces. French women’s clothing has four basic pieces. Underneath everything would be a chemise. Then there would be a jupon, which is similar to a skirt, and if a woman wears more than one, it was meant to be a show of status.
A top would be a mantlet which is sort of like a short waistcoat that served as a shirt. A square piece of cloth called a fichu was then worn around the neck and shoulders like a scarf. Finally, the outfit was completed with a cap or some other headwear.
The typical pieces of a women’s daily dressing attire would be:
- a chemise (une chemise)
- a jupon (un jupon)
- a mantlet (un manteau)
- a fichu (un fichu)
- a hat (une casquette/un chapeau)
- a cap (un bouchon)
These outfits would vary in color and material across the different regions of France. Little girls would wear the same kind of outfits.
Traditional Clothing For French Men
Men would traditionally wear an outfit of six pieces. They too would wear a chemise, but it served as an undershirt. Bottoms would be culottes, or knee-length pants which would also have knee-high socks on top. Then on top of those would be mitasses which are garters meant to protect from puddles.
Over the undershirt would be a guillette which is a vest and then a capote or justacorp was worn as a heavy coat.
The typical pieces of a men’s daily dressing attire would be:
- a chemise (une chemise)
- culottes (les jupes-culottes)
- hosery (la bonneterie)
- knee-high socks (les chaussettes hautes)
- mitasses (les mitasses)
- a guillette (une guillette)
- a capote (une capote)
- a justacorp (une justacorp)
The color and style of the outfit would differ across the different regions of France and little boys would wear the same outfits as their fathers.
French Clothing Vocabulary
These are the common types of clothing that exist today. We’ve separated the types and styles of clothing into seasons and other categories so you can more easily learn French clothes names to find what you’re looking for at the shop, market, or mall.
French Words For Summer Clothes
Summertime fashion some may argue is the most fun fashion. You can get away with so much more in the hot temperatures. Here are some of the common clothing items in French for summertime.
|A belt||Une ceinture|
|A bikini||Un bikini|
|A crop top||Un crop top|
|A dress||Une robe|
|A skirt||Une jupe|
|A swimsuit||Un maillot de bain|
|A t-shirt||Un t-shirt|
|A tank top||Un débardeur|
Fall Clothes In French
These are some typical fall clothes you may wish to purchase in France.
|A blazer||Une veste|
|A coat||Un manteau|
|A hoodie||Un sweat a capuche|
|A jacket||Une veste|
|A polo shirt||Un polo|
|A sweater||Un chandail|
French Words For Winter Clothes
Ah, winter. The time to get all snuggly and stay warm. The French have some of the most fashionable winter clothes around. Here are some popular winter clothing items in French.
Spring Clothes In French
With spring comes new hope and color! Lots and lots of colors to take you out of the drab and dreary winter. These are common clothes people wear in springtime.
|The cargo pants||Le pantalon cargo|
|A dress shirt||Une chemise habillée|
|The jeans||Le jean|
|The leggings||Le legging|
|A raincoat||Un imperméable|
|The shirts||Les chemises|
|The socks||Les chaussettes|
Business Wear In French
Are you working a professional job in a French-speaking country? Then you may need to purchase business wear. Here are some typical business-related clothing items in French.
|A blouse||Une blouse|
|The cufflinks||Les boutons de manchette|
|A suit||Un costume|
|A tie||Une cravate|
Under Garments And Pyjamas
The all-important undergarments. They really do play an important and vital role in fashion and we can thank the French for inventing lingerie! Here are all the French words to talk about your underwear needs.
|The Boxers||Les boxeurs|
|A bra||Un soutien-gorge|
|The briefs||Les slips|
|The lingerie||La lingerie|
|The pjamas||Le pyjama|
|A sports bra||Un soutien-gorge de sport|
|A thong||Une lanière|
|The underwear||Le sous-vetement|
|The pantyhose||Le collant|
Shoes In French
It seems the French have shoes for every occasion. We’ve listed the most common types of shoes here however know that there is a certain shoe dress code for events when in France.
|The boots||Les bottes|
|The flip flops||Les tongs|
|The heels||Les talons|
|The hiking boots||Les chaussures de randonnée|
|The slippers||Les chaussons|
|The sneakers||Les baskets|
|The trainers||Les formateurs|
Different Fabrics In French
When purchasing clothes, you may have a particular preference for certain fabrics. For instance, cotton over polyester. Here’s how to say the common fabrics used in today’s fashion.
Additional Terms Related To Clothes In French
Here are some additional French vocabulary relating to clothes and shopping in French.
Phrases To Use When Shopping I French
You may need to ask for the changing room or where to find a certain item while shopping. It’s also helpful to know how to ask for different sizes, so here you go!
There you go! We hope this vocabulary has helped you learn French!
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