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French Grammar

Describing Clothes and Using Color Adjectives in French

Camille Chevalier-Karfis By Camille Chevalier-Karfis on October 13, 2014
french clothing vocabulary adjectives

Clothing and colors are part of everyday life in France: essential if you want to go shopping, they are also used daily to describe people around us. Today, let’s review our French color adjective rules and French clothing vocabulary with many examples.

We were reviewing the adjectives of colors with my Australian Skype student Robyn.

Now we are working with Essential French dialogues, and are studying the conversation at a clothing store of chapter 3.

For homework, I asked Robyn to review the extended vocabulary list about clothes in my audiobook “A Moi Paris 2” (chapter 4), the precise rules about color adjectives in French in my audio lesson on French adjectives (chapter 5) and to write sentences describing what she’d be wearing in certain occasions (and to be creative!).

Specific Rules for Color Adjectives Agreements in French

My audio lesson on French adjectives is of course much more thorough, including the list of French color adjectives and is entirely recorded so you can learn the right pronunciation of these adjectives in the masculine and feminine forms.

However, here are some rules students usually don’t know.

Like any French adjectives, color adjectives will agree in number (singular or plural) and gender (feminine or masculine) with the noun they modify. Unlike English, French color adjective go after the noun.

  • Des cravates noires – black ties: ties is feminine plural in French so you add an “e” and and “s” to the regular adjective “noir”.

However some color adjectives are invariable, meaning they will never change spelling (they won’t agree with the noun they modify).

  • Adjectives coming from nouns of fruits, precious stones or flowers are invariable, in general (there are exceptions such as “rose”, “mauve” and “incarnat”).
    Des cravates orange – orange ties (not oranges)
    Des yeux marron – brown eyes (not marrons)
    Des yeux noisette – hazel eyes (not noisettes)
  • When a color uses several colors, then the color adjectives are invariable.
    Une Chemise bleu vert (not bleue verte)
    Des yeux gris bleu (not gris bleus)
  • Same when you nuance a color adjective with an adjective of nuance.
    Des cheveux brun foncé. (not bruns foncés)
    Une chemise vert pâle. (not verte pâle)

And now, let’s train with Robyn’s homework. Merci Robyn !

(BTW, I am not including a translation for these but if you must, you may copy and paste the sentences in Google translate and it should do an OK job since these are rather simple sentences).

french clothing vocabulary adjectives

French Clothes Vocabulary for the Beach

Quand je suis à la plage, je porte un maillot de bain noir, un chapeau en paille noir et jaune et un paréo rouge avec des fleurs. J’ai une serviette bleue et j’emporte des sandales jaunes.

French Clothing Vocabulary for the Office

Low Intermediates & Above

Mastering French Adjectives


Quand je suis au bureau, je porte une jupe noire, un chemisier blanc, une ceinture grise, une écharpe rouge et des chaussures à talons noires. Je porte une serviette noire.

Dressy French Clothing Vocabulary

Quand je sors au restaurant, je porte une robe argentée, une écharpe noire, un sac à main argenté et des chaussures incarnates.

Quand je vais à un mariage, je porte une robe verte, un chapeau de paille jaune à large bord, une pochette dorée, des collants beiges et des chaussures à talons marron.

French Clothing Vocabulary for Sports

Quand je vais faire une randonnée, je porte un pantalon marron, un chemisier rose pâle à manches longues, une veste marron, une ceinture beige, un foulard rose foncé à petits carreaux et une paire de bottes marron foncé.

Quand je vais faire une randonnée dans la neige, je porte un pantalon bleu marine, un chandail bleu clair, un manteau rouge avec un col de fourrure, un chapeau rouge en laine, une écharpe blanche, des gants bleu vert et des bottes marron.

French Sleepwear Vocabulary

Quand je vais me coucher, je porte une culotte blanche, des chaussettes roses et une chemise de nuit rose clair. Avant, le soir, chez moi, je porte une robe de chambre saumon et des pantoufles orange.

You may also like Sharon’s blog about adjectives describing people’s appearance and personality, my blog about how to dress in Paris and French Underwear Vocabulary.

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