Clothes in IELTS speaking is not easy because there is so much special vocabulary you need to talk about this topic. This post shares several current words and phrases related to fashion so you can also sound ‘on-trend’ when talking about your style preferences and what’s ‘in’ or ‘out’ this season.
IELTS Speaking Vocabulary: Clothes and Fashion
IELTS Vocabulary: Clothes
Be careful with these common mistakes!
The clothe I love is X
The cloth I like most is…. X
Clothes (is always plural)
Cloth refers to the material and is also used for materials used for cleaning
One item of clothing I love is 😄
One piece of clothing I love is 😄
I like to dress jeans X
I like to wear jeans 😄
I wear jeans, it is so comfy X
I wear jeans/trousers, they are so comfy 😄
My jeans / trousers (g.b.) /pants (u.s.) are comfy
1. To wear clothes – (sounds like “WHERE”!)
To wear is irregular
I usually wear jeans and a T-shirt
Last week, I wore a suit – WAR!
I have never worn a tie before!
I tend to wear…
2. To dress (usually no object)
I like to dress smartly / casually / neatly
I will dress up when going to a party = dress smartly
To get dressed
I got dressed quickly
I got the children dressed
I haven’t worn these new shoes in yet! =to wear something new until comfortable
I have worn this jacket out, I need a new on =used so much it can no longer be used
I am worn out = I am tired!
Different kinds of clothes you like to wear
Be careful with this common mistake when talking about clothes in IELTS Speaking.
I like to wear short skirt X
I like to wear short skirts 😄
I like to wear a short skirt 😄
I like to wear smart pants
(= clean and tidy)
You should use either the plural or use ‘a’.
I typically wear jeans and a t-shirt / a hoodie / a sweatshirt / silk clothes
I like to look dashing = handsome/beautiful
Describing your favourite clothes
Here are some useful words and collocations you can use to describe your favourite clothes and different type of clothes you may wear.
- presentable = quite smart
- scruffy = messy, untidy
- willy-nilly =without care, a bit untidy
- stylish yet comfy
- a conservative style
- classic clothes
- vintage clothes
- semi-formal dresses / clothes
Dressed up to the nines = really smart/elegant
Dressed to kill (for a woman)= really smart/elegant
I am going to dress to impress!
- bright/dark colors
- baggy = very loose (too big)
- tight / clingy = (too small)
Clothes that are in fashion
Be careful with this common mistake about using the word ‘colour’ when describing colours – you don’t need it!
I like to wear clothes in black colour X
When talking about colours in English, we rarely use the word ‘colour’. Just use the actual colour!
I like to wear clothes in black 😄
I like to wear black clothes 😄
IELTS Speaking Sample: Clothes and Fashion
What type of clothes do you like to wear?
Well, I prefer casual clothes – simple and comfortable. A pair of jeans and a shirt would be perfect. I’m not the fashionable type. But of course, I also dress up for special occasions.
What kind of clothes do people in your country usually wear?
Climate affects people’s clothing. I live in the tropics, so people in my country usually wear clothes with light fabrics. We also wear light-coloured clothes. For casual attire, a pair of jeans or short pants, a shirt for men, or a blouse for women are common.
How important is fashion to you?
I am not much worried about it. I prefer wearing simple yet presentable clothes.
What kind of clothes do you dislike?
Well, I dislike wearing untidy and eccentric clothes. Example would be tearing or ripped jeans. I also avoid clothes with flashy colours or those that are too stunning.
Are clothes important to you?
Yes, they are essential as they protect us from cold, dry and hot weather. It protects our body from germs that are present in the atmosphere and also helps to maintain proper hygiene. It also helps to protect our body from ultraviolet radiation, which may cause skin problems.
Do you think people behave differently in different kinds of clothes?
Yes, I think people behave differently when they wear different clothes. For example, one who wears formal clothes may portray a professional and confident image. Wearing casual clothes, on the other hand, makes us look comfortable and relaxed.
What kind of clothes do people wear to work in your country?
Those who work in the corporate wear either smart casual or business/formal attire on a regular workday. Some employees such as teachers, have uniforms. Other workers are allowed to wear casual clothes to work.
Describe someone you know who dresses well. You should say
- who they are
- how you know them
- what kind of clothes they wear
and say why you like the way they dress.
Let me talk about a friend who dresses very well. Her name is Tina. We are of the same age, and she is currently a professor in a prestigious university in my country. Although she is not in the fashion industry, she dresses fashionably. She is tall, not very slim and is very attractive.
She has been my friend since high school. I see her sometimes as she also lives in my neighbourhood. We also spend time together with friends, especially on weekends.
She doesn’t have a specific dressing preference or style. I think she bases her attire on the weather as well as on occasions and events, I usually see her wearing light-coloured dresses and high-heeled shoes when she goes to work. She also wears formal clothes. She is fond of accessories that look fashionable. Her footwear always matches her dress. I think she has a huge collection of clothes, shoes and bags as I rarely see her wearing the same set after some time. I see her wear casual clothes too but they don’t look plain or boring on her.
I think she can carry herself very well in any kind of dress. She looks comfortable no matter what her attire is. She always looks clean and tidy. I like her style because she doesn’t dress extravagant or offensive. She always looks professional and presentable.
Describe an item of clothing that you recently bought.
You should say:
- what it is
- when and where you bought it
- what it looks like and
- explain why you bought it.
The last item of clothing that I bought was a pair of boots. I bought them when I went to the Silk Market on my day off. They are black, tall, and soft. They also look very smart. This pair caught my eye because they were simple and matched my clothes and accessories. I chose them because boots can be worn on many occasions and are still appropriate. Also, in the winter, it’s freezing here in Beijing and it’s good to have some warm shoes to wear when you go out. It is popular to wear shoes that have pointy or tight toes, but to me, this style looks silly and is very uncomfortable. My boots give my feet plenty of room to be comfortable without looking clumsy and bulky. I’m short, so I like these boots because they have a high enough heel to make me look average without being awkward or difficult to walk in. Now, of course, one of the most essential things for me besides the style is the price, and that is what attracted me to these boots. My friends tell me that if I had gone to Europe or America, my boots would have cost me an arm and a leg. No pun intended. Here in China, my boots are very reasonably priced.
I guess that would be the final reason why I bought them.
Vocabulary for Cue Card
Awkward: Causing difficulty; hard to do or deal with. Eg: There is always an awkward silence in the temple
Clumsy: Awkward in movement or in handling things. Eg: She is way too clumsy than I thought
Bulky: Large and unwieldy. Eg: Sarah was carrying a bulky bag
Plenty: More than enough. Eg: There are plenty of clothes in my wardrobe already
How important are clothes and fashion to you? [Why/Why not?]?
Clothes and fashion are not that important to me. I always prefer comfortable clothes but make sure I look presentable and clean. I am more of being practical in choosing what I wear.
How different are the clothes you wear now from those you wore 10 years ago?
Well, I can say that there hasn’t been much change in the clothes I wear now to that of about 10 years ago. I still wear regular jeans and shirts for casual days or formal clothes for business events. But, since the trend has changed, the kind of this essential clothing has also changed for me, especially regarding the style of jeans and shirts. I used to wear straight-cut jeans, but I wear contemporary styles such as slim-fit clothes.
Can clothing tell you much about a person?
We can tell a lot about a person based on what he wears and how he wears it. For example, when we look at a person in a well-fitted suit, we get the impression that he is successful and has his life together. On the other hand, a person who usually wears a t-shirt and shorts signals that he/she is laid-back and easygoing.
What do you think the clothes we wear say about us?
At times, I think the clothes we wear may show part of our personality or status. For example, clothing may determine the kind of job a person has. For some, it may be a tool for expression. Some could be stylish, which may reflect their personality as being creative.
How do people choose what style of clothing to buy?
Many people buy clothing because it is a new style or a colour they like. Often people will buy something because it looks like what a favourite movie star or singer wears. Other people buy clothes that suit them or that they will wear most often. Other people just buy clothes because they are functional.
Do you think the brand of clothing is important?
I don’t really care about the clothing brand as long as I buy is good quality. Famous brands are usually too expensive for me, so I rarely buy them. Often I can find inexpensive brands that are just as good a quality and very nice. Of course, here in China, you can get brand-name clothes at a very low price.
Why do some people buy brand-name clothes?
Many people buy brand-name clothing because they like the style. However, some people simply want their clothes to last a long time, so they buy a particular brand of clothing known for its good quality. Other people buy brand-name clothing because they feel it makes them look more stylish and hip. Some people just like to have that name on their clothing. I think it might make them feel important.
Compare the materials and fashions of today’s clothing with those of the past.
In my opinion, older fashions changed more slowly and gradually from one to another. They faded into each other. The fashions of today have changed drastically in a short period. Often certain clothes will only be in style for one year, or so before another, very different style is in. Of course, there are more choices to choose from now.
Do men and women have the same shopping habits when they buy clothes?
No, they have very different shopping habits. Often men will shop less and only because they need new clothes. They often do not buy much and will spend less on what they buy. I think that they dread shopping and probably would instead go to the dentist. Women buy clothes more often, and they usually pay more for their clothing. Often they will buy new clothes because they want to be in style. Women also don’t mind spending money as long as it’s their boyfriend or husband’s.
Sometimes factory workers and, very often, school students have to wear uniforms. What do you think of this?
I think it helps reduce competition in the work or school area. When the workers or students don’t feel that they have to keep up with someone else’s clothes or style, they can concentrate on work or study. The bad side is that if the uniform is uncomfortable or does not look very smart or stylish, it makes work or school unpleasant for some people. Also, it can make people feel they have no individuality and are just like everyone else.
IELTS Speaking Practice: Clothes and Fashion
The examiner may ask you to talk about the clothes you like to wear or your attitude towards fashion. Read the following IELTS-style questions and answers below, and pay attention to the phrases in bold. Use the ‘Definitions’ section at the bottom of the page to check the meaning of any phrases you don’t understand.
Part 1-style questions
Examiner: Do you enjoy buying clothes?
Pedro: I used to … yes … like most young people, I was a bit of a slave to fashion, and I’d always have to buy that must-have shirt or pair of shoes … I’m not so bothered now, though … I wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing something old fashioned, but I’m not as bothered as I used to be about what I wear …
Examiner: What kind of clothes do you like to wear?
Marco: I prefer casual clothes actually … I hate getting dressed up for special occasions … I think it’s possible to look good in a pair of jeans … but that’s my opinion … I don’t think my wife would call me a fashion icon that’s for sure …
Examiner: Are there many clothes shops where you live?
Sylvia: Yes … there are lots in my town … apart from the big chain stores we’ve got a couple of really nice shops that sell vintage clothes … old clothes but in a classic style that never really go out of fashion … I love going there …
Part 2-style task
Describe someone you know who dresses well. You should say
- who they are
- how you know them
- what kind of clothes do they wear
and say why you like the way they dress.
Tomoko: I’d like to talk about one of my teachers … Miss Evans … she teaches us English in the school I go to … we always look forward to seeing what she’s going to wear when our lessons start … she’s always very well dressed and takes a lot of pride in her appearance … it’s not that she dresses in very smart clothes … she doesn’t come to school dressed to kill or anything like that … but what she wears really suits her … and she has a great sense of style as well … we often ask her where she gets some of her clothes and most of the time they’re just off the peg … and she says she’s not interested in designer labels or anything like that … she doesn’t seem too concerned about keeping up with the latest fashion … she just wears timeless clothes… yes … Miss Evans is the person I think looks great in the clothes she wears …
Part 3-style questions
Examiner: What factors affect the clothes we choose to wear?
Maki: It depends … where we are or where we’re going is a significant factor … if you are going out to a club or party, you’re going to dress for the occasion … and then some think it’s essential to look like they’re on trend … they’ll want to wear the latest fashions … there are lots of factors…
Examiner: What things determine what is in fashion and what we should wear?
Martin: I suppose the big fashion houses and fashion shows must have an effect, but the clothes you see on the catwalk don’t always reflect what normal people wear … so I suppose it will be things like what singers are wearing in videos or models are wearing in magazines … that kind of thing …
Examiner: Is it possible to look good without spending lots of money on clothes?
Corinna: I’m sure it is … yes … I suppose it’s about having an eye for what looks good … knowing how to mix and match different items of clothing that go well together … I think you can pick up great bargains in charity shops … sometimes for youngsters even hand-me-downs can look good …
to be on-trend: to be very fashionable
casual clothes: not formal
classic style: a simple, traditional style that is always fashionable
designer label: a well-known company that makes (often expensive) clothing
dressed to kill: wearing clothes that attract admirers
to dress for the occasion: to wear clothes suitable for a particular event
fashionable: in fashion
fashion house: a company that sells (usually expensive) new styles of clothes
fashion icon: a person who is famous for their sense of fashion
fashion show: an event where models show off the latest in fashion designs
to get dressed up: to put on nice clothes, often to go out somewhere special
to go out of fashion: to not be in fashion anymore
hand-me-downs: clothes that are passed down from older brothers or sisters to their younger siblings
to have an eye for (fashion): to be a good judge of
to have a sense of style: the ability to wear clothes that look stylish
the height of fashion: very fashionable
to keep up with the latest fashion: to wear the latest fashions
to look good in: to wear something that suits you
to mix and match: to wear different styles or items of clothing that aren’t part of a set outfit
must-have: something that is highly fashionable and therefore in demand
off the peg: clothing that is ready-made
old fashioned: not in fashion anymore
on the catwalk: the stage that modals walk along to show off the latest fashions
a slave to fashion: someone who always feels the need to wear the latest fashions
smart clothes: the kind of clothes worn for a formal event
to suit someone: to look good on someone
to take pride in one’s appearance: to pay attention to how one looks
timeless: something that doesn’t go out of fashion
vintage clothes: clothes from an earlier period
well-dressed: to be dressed attractively