English Clothing and Shopping Words

Bargain Hunting
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If you are bargain hunting you are going to different stores looking for sales on the items that you want. Many people will check the ads in the newspapers and on the internet to find which stores are having sales.

“My mom and dad love to go bargain hunting the day after Christmas when everything is cheap.”

Pay Retail
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If you “pay retail” for an item of clothing this means that you pay full price. The stores that sell clothing are called retail stores.

“Instead of finding bargains and sales he always pays retail. He must be rich.”

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To Return
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If you buy an article of clothing, or pretty much anything that you’d find in a store for that matter, you have the option of bringing the item back to the store for your money back. This is called a “return”. People return clothing because it doesn’t fit, it is damaged or they just don’t like it. The clothing needs to be still new (no stains or wear and tear) and you need to have a receipt to get your money back.

“I bought a flashy looking shirt at the mall the other day. When I got home I decided I didn’t like it. I ended up returning it.”

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Store Credit
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When a customer brings back an item, but does not have a receipt, he may receive “store credit” from the store. This means the person has credit towards buying another item in the store that equals or is less than the price of what he returned. No money is given back to the customer. His only option is to spend the credit at that location.

“I wanted to return those jeans I got from The Gap. Since I lost the receipt I could only get store credit. It’s a good thing I like The Gap!”

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To Exchange
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If a customer buys an article of clothing and later decides he needs a different size he can “exchange” (or trade in) the item for the desired size. There is not a money transaction involved in this. The store simply gives the customer the size he needs and puts the returned item back on the shelf to be sold again.

“Go home and let your son try on the shoes. If it turns out they are too small you can come back and exchange them for a bigger size.”

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Gift Card
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At most major stores you can buy a card that has money on it towards a future purchase there. People will give these cards to others as a present. They come in handy if you know a person who you are buying a gift for likes a specific store, but you don’t know exactly what to buy him.

“Since I don’t know what she likes I’m just going to get her a gift card so she can decide herself.”

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Shopaholic
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This is a person who is addicted to shopping. He or she receives a “high” or a “rush” from finding and buying a new item.

“His wife is a shopaholic. All she does is shop and spend all of their money.”

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Tax Free Weekend
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Many states will not put taxes on clothing the weekend before the children go back to school in the fall. This gives parents a small break price wise when they buy back to school clothes for their kids.

“We are just going to hold off on buying her a new outfit until the tax free weekend next month. It will be cheaper then.”

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Outlet Mall
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This is a type of shopping mall where the manufactures of the clothing sell their clothes to the shoppers in their own stores. Usually a particular clothing maker sells their clothes in a large store like Macy’s or J.C. Penny’s. In these stores many brands are sold. Since the clothing manufacturer is selling through their own store the prices are generally lower.

“Let’s go to the outlet mall. The prices are cheaper and the selection is greater.”

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Accessories
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These are articles of clothing that are worn, but are not part of the main outfit you have on. Your shirt, pants and shoes are part of your main outfit. Your wrist watch, pocket book or earrings would be your accessories.

“When you go through the security area in the airport you have to remove all of your accessories.”

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Petite Sizes
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This describes clothing for women who are small and slim.

“Sara is 5’4 and about 100 pounds. She shops in the petite section of the department store.”

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Maternity Section
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This is the area of the store that sells clothing for women who are pregnant. There are even entire stores dedicated to maternity wear.

“Let’s check out the maternity section to find an outfit for my niece. She is three months pregnant.”

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Plus Sizes
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These are clothing sizes for women who are heavier or taller than average.

“My grandmother has put on some weight. She now has to buy plus sizes.”

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Moo Moo Dress
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This is a slang term for large dresses that some overweight women wear. These dresses are one piece and they are very loose fitting. The word “moo” is the sound a cow makes.

“Our science teacher used to always wear a moo moo. She was pretty fat.”

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Business Casual
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Clothes that are worn in a “business casual” type environment are short sleeve polo shirts and khaki pants with leather shoes. Many American companies and other places of employment let their employees dress in this way. People aren’t wearing a suit and tie as much anymore in the work place.

“In his office they are required to wear a suit and tie everyday except for Friday. On Friday they can dress business casual.”

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Boot Cut
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This describes pants or jeans that are wider at the bottom of the legs so they can be worn with boots.

“When I wear my cowboy boots I have to wear my boot cut jeans.”

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Tailored
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This describes pants that are skinny and tight fitting at the bottom. They are the opposite of “boot cut” pants.

“When I wear my nice leather shoes I wear my tailored pants.”

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Pleated
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This term describes pants that have creases or folds in the front. You see this look a lot with khaki pants.

“I prefer my pants pleated. It makes them look nicer.”

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Flat Front
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This term describes pants that are not pleated. There are no folds in the front.

“Flat front pants are more causal than pleated pants.”

Practice These Words:

  • Conversation Activity for Clothing and Shopping Vocabulary
  • Script for Conversation Activity on Clothing and Shopping Vocabulary
  • Clothing and Shopping Vocabulary Listening
  • ESL Fill in the Blanks Paragraph/Shopping and Clothing Vocabulary
  • Clothing and Shopping Vocabulary Word Order
  • Clothing and Shopping Vocabulary Fill in the Blanks
  • Matching for Clothing Vocabulary