Whether you enjoy French fashion or not, knowing the name of clothing in French is part of your essential French vocabulary.
Here is a complete list of clothes names in French with English translation, and some clothing related French expressions.
Please help me write an even more complete free lesson. Leave a comment in the comment section below with the clothing name French and English (both languages please so I can just add it to the list). Thank you!
How Do You Say Clothing in French?
In slang, you’ll often hear “les fringues (m)”.
9 Outerwear Clothing in French 🧥
How Do You Say Coat in French?
The generic French terms for coats are either “un manteau” (usually long coat) or “une veste” (shorter coat or jacket). But as you’ll see below, there are many other specific outwear clothing French terms.
Outwear Clothing Names
- Un manteau – long coat
- Une veste – coat, jacket
- Un anorak – winter jacket
- Un blouson – short outwear jacket
- Une doudoune – fluffy winter jacket/ coat (slang)
- Un imperméable – raincoat
- Une écharpe – scarf
- Un bonnet – winter hat
- Des gants (m) – gloves
On the topic of warm clothing names in French, let’s move on to the sweater world.
13 Sweaters In French 🤷♂️
How Do You Say Sweater in French?
A sweater in French is “un pull“. It’s masculine and although it’s an English word, we pronounce it the French way, with a French U sound. You will sometimes hear “un pull over” but it’s not very used in modern French.
French Sweater Names
- Un pull – sweater
- Un pull over – sweater (but a bit old-fashioned)
- Un chandail – sweater
- Un col-roulé – turtleneck sweater
- Un pull à capuche – hoodie
- Un pull col en V – V cut sweater
- Un pull col rond – round cut sweater
- Un cardigan – cardigan sweater (sweater with buttons)
- Un polaire, une polaire – fleece – I’ve heard it used both in the feminine and the masculine. I favor the feminine myself.
- Un sweatshirt / un sweat – sweatshirt
- Un pull à manches courtes – short sleeve sweater
- Un pull à manches longues – long sleeve sweater
- Un pull sans manche – no sleeve sweater
Now let’s see common French clothing words.
10 Unisex Clothing in French 💁
- Un haut – top
- Un bas – bottom (“les bas” can also be pantyhose)
- Un T-shirt – T-shirt
- Un débardeur – thin strap top
- Un maillot (de bain) – bathing suit
- Un pyjama – pajamas (note it’s singular in French)
- Un survêtement – tracksuit
- Un peignoir – bathrobe
- Une salopette – overall with straps
- Une combinaison – overall with sleeves (could be fancy or also a heavy duty work piece of clothing, sometimes called “un bleu de travail” because they are typically blue…)
For more French clothing vocabulary, I invite you to check-out my French beginner learning method : in chapter 4 of À Moi Paris L2, Mary and Sophie go shopping. You’ll find a fun and authentic bilingual beginner level story recorded at two levels of enunciation (overly enunciated and modern spoken French) as well as a long vocabulary list (also recorded) in the study guide.
French clothing, jewels, accessories are also studies and illustrated within the story of my French intermediate learning method À Moi Paris L3, chapters 5, 6 and 7.
We are a tiny husband-and-wife company based in France. We have no sponsors, and writing these in-depth articles with audio takes a huge amount of time. Please consider buying our audiobooks and if you are not able to support us financially at the moment, here are other easy ways you can help us. Merci !
Now let’s study the French vocabulary for pants.
Trousers/ Pants in French 👖
How Do You Say Pants in French?
The French word for pants is “un pantalon“. It’s usually used in the singular but can also be used in the plural for one pair of pants as it is usually done in English.
So you could say:
- J’ai un pantalon noir
- or J’ai des pantalons noirs – for one pair or pants, but that’s quite old-fashioned in French today. It’s more likely to refer to several black pants.
Note that the whole pant family tends to be used in the plural in English, and in the singular in French.
How Do You Say Jeans In French?
The common French word for jeans in “un jean“, pronounced kind of in an English way [djin]. We also say “un blue jean” pronounced again kind of in an English way [bloo djin], but it’s getting old-fashioned in today’s French.
Note that I’ve never heard someone in France call jeans denims…
8 French Pants Names
- Un pantalon – pants / trousers
- Un short – shorts
- Un jean – jeans
- Un bermuda – bermudas
- Un pantalon en toile – khakis
- Un legging (kind of English pronunciation) – leggings
- Un pantalon de jogging – sports pants
- Un capri – capri pants (mid calf lenght)
4 French Pants Cuts
- Un pantalon cigarette – slim fit pants
- Un pantalon large – wide pants
- Un pantalon à pattes d’éléphant – bell-bottoms
- Un pantalon à pinces – pleated pants
Now, we use a lot of English words for the pant cuts in French: regular fit, relaxed fit, slim, skinny, oversize, bootcut, flare, extra-flare… all these words are now common in the French fashion world.
Far from me to gender discriminate, but let’s see items of clothing usually specifically worn by men.
Clothing in French – For Men 🕺
- Un costume, un complet – man’s suit
- Un smoking – tuxedo
- Une veste – sportscoat (also used for women’s jacket)
- Un gilet, un veston – ‘a vest’ in English, the extra piece in a 3 piece suit.
- Une chemise – a shirt (could be for a woman’s shirt as well)
- Un maillot de corps – undershirt
- Une cravate – a tie
- Un noeud papillon – bow tie
- Une ceinture – a belt
And items of clothing usually specifically worn by women.
Clothing in French – For Women 💃
Many students assume something that relates to a woman will be feminine. But the gender of words in French is totally random. Best example:
– a shirt for man: une chemise (feminine)
– a shirt for woman: un chemisier (masculine)
This is why when you memorize a new French word, it’s essential you memorize the gender with it. You cannot dissociate the two info. Beware! Many French vocabulary lists out-there don’t show the gender of the French words. It’s a major mistake! More tips to learn French efficiently.
- Un tailleur – woman’s suit
- Une robe – dress
- Une robe du soir – evening gown (to go out)
- Une chemise de nuit – night gown (to sleep)
- Une jupe – skirt
- Une blouse, un chemisier, une tunique – blouse
- Un caraco – a very thin strap top
The clothes are getting smaller… it’s time to get the the French underwear names.
French Underwear Names 🩲
There’s so much more to the world of French lingerie names that I dedicated a whole article to that topic. Follow the link!
In the meanwhile, here is some essential French underwear vocabulary:
- Une culotte – women’s panty
- Un caleçon – men’s brief
- Un slip – brief (unisex)
- Un soutien-gorge – bras
- Des chaussettes (f) – socks
- Des collants (m) – stockings
- des bas (f) – pantyhose
Now let’s enter of the world of French shoe names.
30 French Shoe Names 🥿
The French loves their shoes. If it’s very common nowadays to wear runners and tennis shoes, Frenchmen and Frenchwomen still wear leather shoes and fancy sandals, and leather boots are very popular among Frenchwomen in the colder seasons.
How Do You Say Shoe in French?
Unisex Shoe Names
- Des baskets (f) – tennis shoes, runners. Say the final “t”
- Des tennis – tennis shoes. Say the final “s”
- Des mocassins (m): loafers
- Des derbies / des richelieus (m): brogues
- Des chaussures de randonnée – hiking boots
- Des chaussures de cyclisme – bicycle shoes.
- Des chaussures de + French sports name – to make it that particular sport’s shoes
- Des sandales: sandals
- Des tongs – flip-flops (say the G)
- Des nu-pieds – another way to say sandals or flip-flops (lit. naked foot)
- Des sabots (m) – clogs
- Des mules (f): open-heel shoes, mules
- Des espadrilles (f) – famous French cloth shoes with rope soles.
- “en cuir” (made of leather), “en daim” (suede), “en synthétique” (synthetic), or en toile (cloth)
- Des lacets (m) – shoe laces
- Une semelle – sole
French Shoe Names For Women
- Des ballerines (f) – ballerinas
- Des chaussures plates (f) – flat-heel shoes
- Des chaussures à talons (f) – high-heel shoes.
- Des chaussures à plateformes (f) – platform shoes
- Des escarpins (m) – classic high-heel shoes
- Des talons hauts (m) – high-heels
- Des talons compensés (m) – wedge shoes
How Do You Say Boots in French?
French Boot Names
- Des bottes en cuir (f) – leather boots
- Des bottes à talons (f) – high-heel boots
- Des bottines (f) – ankle boots. We also call them “des boots” with an English pronunciation
- Des Santiags (f) – cowboy boots
- Des bottes de pluie (f) – rain boots
- Des bottes en caoutchouc (f) – rubber boots
- Des après-ski (f) – snow boots
Want more? What about browsing an online French clothing store? You’ll find the names and descriptions of plenty of items of clothing!
Now, let’s study some common French verbs used around clothes and getting dressed.
13 French Clothing Verbs
There are many verbs used with clothing in French. To learn the subtleties of translating to dress in French, I’ll let you read my article.
- S’habiller – to get dressed
- Se déshabiller – to get undressed
- Enfiler – to slip into or to slip on
- Essayer – to try on
- Mettre – to put on
- Enlever – to take off
- Porter – to wear
- Aller (bien/mal) à quelqu’un – to suit/fit someone nicely or poorly
- Rester en (cravate for exemple) – to not change outfit, keep the same clothes on
- Repasser – to iron
- Plier – to fold
- Laver – to wash
- Ranger – to put away
This is a lot of vocabulary to memorize! Make sure you make French flashcards of the words most useful to you, then use the new words in sentences relevant to you, and review them often.
There are a lot of French idioms about clothes. Here are a few of my favorite French expressions about clothing, with a literal English translation and then the English meaning. I’ve recorded them using a modern spoken French pronunciation.
Don’t hesitate to suggest some more in the Disqus section below and I’ll add them up to the list!
- “Ton café, c’est du jus de chaussette” : you coffee is sock juice : it’s a very bad coffee
- “Elle est sur son trente-et-un“: she is on his 31st : she is dressed very chic
- “Je n’ai rien à me mettre“: I have nothing to wear.
- “Ce politicien a souvent retourné sa veste” : this politician often turned his jacket inside out: he changed his opinions
- “Dans le couple, c’est elle qui porte le pantalon“: in the couple, she wears the pants: she is the decision maker
- “Il l’a laissée tomber comme une vieille chaussette” : he dropped her like an old sock : he ditched her badly
- “On t’a vu venir avec tes gros sabots” : we saw you come with your large wood clog : I saw you come from far (you were not very discreet)
- “Elle n’a plus d’argent : elle doit se serrer la ceinture” : she is broke: she has to tighten her belt : she has to be very careful about her spendings
- “Finalement, Anne a vidé son sac” ; finally, Anne emptied his bag ; finally, she spilled the beans.
- “J’étais tellement fâchée… Je n’ai pas pris de gants” : I was so mad: I didn’t take gloves : I was so mad, I spoke directly and frankly.
- “J’en ai plein les bottes !” : I have plenty on my boots : I’m very tired / I’ve had enough.
- “Pierre n’a toujours pas trouvé chaussure à son pied” : Pierre hasn’t found a shoe that fits his foot : he hasn’t found the perfect match
- “Sa soeur essaie toujours de lui faire porter le chapeau” : his sister always tries to make him wear the hat : to make him be the guilty one
- “Ce mec est un coureur de jupons” : this guy runs after half-slip : he is a womanizer
- “Il lui a demandé de sortir avec lui mais il s’est pris une veste” : he asked her out but he got a jacket : she turned him down
- “Sophie change d’avis comme de chemise” : Sophie changes her mind like she changes shirts : she changes her mind all the time
- “Ne t’inquiète pas : j’ai plus d’un tour dans mon sac” : don’t worry, I have more than one trick in my bag : I’ll find a solution
Now that you know many French clothing terms and expressions, you may wonder how the French typically dress. I’ve written an article about how to dress in Paris with specific tips for women, men and teens who want to fit-in when they travel abroad.