French Clothing Vocabulary and Useful Expressions to Use in a Fashion Store

French fashion is internationally famed for its elegance and excellence. From Coco Chanel to Jean Paul Gaultier, French designers have paved the road to trends worldwide. When you are learning French, knowing the name of clothing in French, the fabrics, the style but also being able to speak with sale assistants in a fashion store is part of the essential French vocabulary.
In this week’s post, I share with you the names of clothing in French, useful vocabulary to speak about the style, the cut of the clothes with the English translation.
Here is also a typical conversation you may have with a sales assistant in France if you are looking for clothes or would like something to try on. Finally, I will also list 7 tips to dress like a Parisian.

  • Un haut– top
  • Un t-shirt – t-shirt
  • Une chemise – button-down shirt
  • Un débardeur – tank top/singlet
  • Un blouson – a thick jacket (usually used when talking about bikers)
  • Une veste – a jacket
  • Un gilet – a cardigan/sweater or vest/waistcoat.
  • Un pull – a sweater/jumper
  • Un sweat – a sweatshirt
  • Un sweat à capuche – a hoodie (hooded sweatshirt).
  • Un manteau – a coat/overcoat
  • Un imperméable – a raincoat/mackintosh
  • Un pantalon – pants/trousers
  • Un short – shorts
  • Une jupe – skirt
  • Des collants – stockings
  • Les tenues (f)-outfits
  • Une robe – a dress or gown.
  • Un costume – a suit, usually for a man
  • Un tailleur – a women’s suit
  • Un pyjama – pajamas/pyjamas
  • Patterns

  • A carreaux- checked
  • A pois – polka dot
  • A rayures-striped
  • A fleurs – with flowers
  • Uni- one color (flat color)
  • Des couleurs vives – bright, vivid colors
  • Des couleurs / tons neutres – neutral colors
  • Des couleurs sombres – dark colors
  • Assorti avec – that matches with « un pull assorti à un pantalon » « un pull qui va avec le pantalon »
  • The Style

  • À la mode – fashionable
  • Tendance – trendy
  • Ringard ( e) – old-fashioned
  • Classique – classical
  • Elegant(e ) – elegant
  • Chic – chic
  • Retro -retro
  • Retro-chic – chic retro
  • Vintage – vintage
  • Hippie – hippy
  • Rock -rock
  • Glamour -glamour
  • Simple-casual
  • Confortable-confortable
  • Sophistiqué(e)- sophisticated
  • Une coupe – cut
  • Fluide – fluid
  • Déstructuré(e) – deconstructed
  • Ajusté(e) – fitted
  • Moulant(e) – close-fitted
  • Ceinturé (e)- belted (noun : une ceinture)
  • Boutonné (e) – belted (noun : un bouton)
  • Retroussé(e) (manches / pantalon) – rolled up
  • Brodé (e)- embroidered ( la broderie : ambroidery)
  • Evasé (e) – flared (jupe, robe)
  • Ample – baggy or comfortable
  • Décolleté (e) – neckline
  • Plissé (e)- pleated
  • Drapé (e)-drapped
  • Materials

  • La laine – wool
  • Le coton – coton
  • Le lin – linen
  • La satin – satin
  • La soie – silk
  • Le cuir – leather
  • Le daim – suede
  • Le velours – velvet
  • Le velours côtelé – corduroy
  • Le cachemire – cachemere
  • Le lycra -lycra
  • Les matières naturelles – natural materials
  • Les matières synthétiques – synthetic materials
  • Les matières bio – organic materials
  • *Always use the preposition en when you talk about materials “ un pull en cachemire” “une veste en cuir”
  • Dialogue with a Sale-Assistant and a Client in a Fashion Store

La vendeuse
  • Je peux vous aider ? can I help you?
    La cliente
  • Merci, pour le moment, je regarde seulement – Thank you, I am just looking for the moment
  • A few minutes later…
La cliente
  • Est-ce que vous avez ceci en taille 36 – 38 – 40 etc ? – Would you have this in a…(you mention your size)
  • J’aimerais essayer ceci- I would like to try this on
  • Est-ce que je peux essayer ça? – Can I try this on ?
  • Où sont les cabines d’essayage? – Where are the fitting rooms?
  • Est-ce que vous avez ceci dans la taille au-dessus ? – Would you have this in a bigger size ?
  • Est-ce que vous avez ceci dans la taille au-dessous ? – Would you have this in a smaller size ?
  • Est-ce que vous avez ceci dans une couleur différente ? – Would you have this in a different size ?
  • After trying on a close….
La vendeuse
  • Alors est-ce ça va ? How is it going?
La cliente
  • Ca me va – it suits me -it looks good on me
  • J’aime bien – I quite like it
  • La coupe est parfaite – the cut is perfect
  • C’est trop grand- petit -it’s too large, too small
  • C’est trop serré versus c’est trop large – It’s too tight versus it’s too large
  • C’est la bonne /mauvaise taille -It is the right / wrong size
  • Je n’aime pas la coupe – I don’t like the cut
  • Ce n’est pas mon style- It is not my style
  • Je n’aime pas la couleur sur moi – I don’t like the color on me
La vendeuse
  • Ca vous va parfaitement : it looks good on you
  • La coupe est parfaite : the cut fits well on you
  • Est-ce que vous voulez essayer la taille au-dessus, -au-dessous ? – would you like to try on the size above / below
La cliente
  • Je le/la prend : I take it
  • Je ne suis sûre, je vais réfléchir: I am not sure, I will think about it
La vendeuse
  • Vous voulez régler comment? – How would you like to pay?
  • Par carte bancaire- by credit card
  • En espèces, en cash -in cash

The Essential Tips to Dress Like a Parisian

  • Parisians tend to look for timeless high-quality clothing. Shop less but shop better!
  • Clothes should be comfortable. Your capsule wardrobe should not only be stylish but also practical so that you can wear it often.
  • Wear clothes appropriate for your body shape. Yes, you must know your body shape, and choose the right cut. Clothes should fit you perfectly. That relates to the point above.
  • Avoid flashy colors and extravagance.
  • Appreciate the simplicity. Wear minimalistic, simple clothes. Don’t overload your outfit with delicate pieces.
  • Wear neutral tones. If you want to dress like a Parisian girl, your clothes shouldn’t be in more than three colors. For an elegant night outfit, wear only two colors maximum. And remember, that all black is your always-safe outfit.
  • Avoid showing off and brand exposure. Again, it’s all about subtle details, simplicity, and modesty. Modest dressing is key; it’s not tasteful to show off one’s wealth.

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