Clothes are the pieces of material we use/wear to cover our bodies to stop us being naked (and cold). Other uses of clothes include protection, as a fashion statement, as a uniform or for doing sports and exercise.

Each item of clothing has its own name and distinguishable features.

  • Clothes on the bottom half of the body include trousers, skirt, leggings, shorts, socks, pants, joggers, jeans, culottes, tights and hot pants.
  • Clothes on the top half of the body include jumper, t-shirt, shirt, coat, jacket, tie, gloves, cami top, bra, vest.


There are a few synonyms of the word ‘clothes’ for you to learn.

clothes synonyms

how to pronounce clothes

Clothes is a tricky one to pronounce, a lot of my students have difficulty pronouncing it. Let me start by giving you some background…

‘Clothes’ is a plural word e.g. Put some clothes on. If you want to make it singular, we would say ‘an item of clothing’

e.g. You lost that round! Remove an item of clothing.

You can also refer to the item itself using its name e.g.

Take off your shoes please.

BUT…The majority of the time we use the word clothes e.g.

  • I need to buy some new clothes.
  • What clothes are you wearing to the disco?
  • My clothes are wet.
  • I’m wearing my brother’s clothes.

So, it’s worth being able to pronounce it correctly.

  • The first part of the word ‘clo’ rhymes with no.
  • Then we add ‘the’. The ‘th’ sound is voiced. If you don’t know what a
    voiced sound is, head to my pronunciation section and find out.
  • Finally, we add ‘z’ sound.
  • Now put it all together and practice saying it quickly.

British English vs American English – clothing vocabulary

Before we begin with the idioms, I thought it would be a good idea to teach you some vocabulary. Some of the words for items of clothes are different in American English.

Take a look at the following slides to see the differences. If you want to see some of the other differences, click here.

British and American English clothing vocabulary differences - braces/suspemders
British and American English clothing vocabulary differences - bum bag/fanny pack
British and American English clothing vocabulary differences - dressing gown/robe
British and American English clothing vocabulary differences - handbag/purse
British and American English clothing vocabulary differences - jumper/sweater
British and American English clothing vocabulary differences - pants/underwear
British and American English clothing vocabulary differences - swimming costume/bathing suit
British and American English clothing vocabulary differences - trainers/sneakers
British and American English clothing vocabulary differences - trousers/pants
British and American English clothing vocabulary differences - waistcoat/vest
British and American English clothing vocabulary differences - wardrobe/closet

clothes and clothing related idioms

Does money burn a hole in your pocket?
Has anyone ever made a below the belt comment to you?
Are you in a white-collar profession?
Who wears the trousers in your household?
​Do you like dressing up?
​Have you ever got the boot?

Are you struggling to understand these idioms? Then scroll down to find out what they mean and more.


You know what clothes are and how to pronounce the word properly. Clothes also form many idioms and phrases we use in the English language. Let’s learn the most common ones.

belt idioms
belt idioms - below the belt
belt idioms - tighten one's belts
belt idioms - under one’s belt
boot idioms
boot idioms - as tough as old boots
boot idioms - get the boot
boot idioms - give someone the boot
boot idioms - hang up one’s boots
boot idioms - lick someone's boots
boot idioms - quaking in one's boots
boot idioms - stick the boot in
boot idioms - to boot
boot idioms - too big for one’s boots
buckle idioms
buckle idioms - buckle up
buckle idioms - buckle down
cap idioms
cap idioms - cap and gown
cap idioms - if the cap fits (wear it)
cap idioms - put one’s thinking cap on
collar idioms
collar idioms - blue-collar
collar idioms - hot under the collar
collar idioms - white-collar
dress idioms
dress sayings - dress down
dress sayings - dress to kill
dress idioms - dress to the nines
dress idioms - dress up
dress phrases - dressed up like the dog’s dinner
dress idioms - give someone a dressing down
dress phrases - mutton dressed as lamb
fashion idioms
fashion idioms - come into fashion
fashion idioms - do something like it’s going out of fashion
fashion idioms - fashion police
fashion idioms - go out of fashion
fashion idioms - make a fashion statement
fashion idioms - old-fashioned
glove idioms
glove idioms - fit like a glove
glove idioms - the gloves are off
hat idioms
hat idioms - at the drop of a hat
hat idioms - eat one’s hat
hat idioms - hat trick
hat idioms - pull a rabbit out of the hat
hat idioms - take one’s hat off to someone
hat idioms - keep something under one’s hat
pants idioms
pants idioms - ants in one’s pants
pants idioms - bore the pants off
pants idioms - catch with one’s pants down
pants idioms - charm the pants off
pants idioms - fancy the pants off someone
pants idioms - fly by the seat of one’s pants
pants idioms - pants
pants idioms - smarty-pants
pocket idioms
pocket idioms - burn a hole in one’s pocket
pocket idioms - deep pockets
pocket idioms - in someone's pocket
pocket idioms - line one’s pockets
pocket idioms - out of pocket
pocket idioms - pocket money
shirt idioms
shirt idioms - give someone the shirt off one’s back
shirt idioms - keep one’s shirt on
shoe idioms
shoe idioms - fill someone’s shoes
shoe idioms - goody two-shoes
shoe idioms - on a shoestring
shoe idioms - on a shoestring
shoe idioms - shoe is on the other foot
sleeve idioms
sleeve idioms - have an ace up one’s sleeve
sleeve idioms - roll up one’s sleeves
sleeve idioms - wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve
sock idioms
sock idioms - knocks one’s socks off
sock idioms - pull one’s socks up
sock idioms - put a sock in it
sock idioms - work one’s socks off
clothes idioms
clothes expressions - a wolf in sheep’s clothing
clothes idioms - air one’s dirty laundry in public
clothes idioms - birthday suit
clothes idioms - cloak-and-dagger
clothes idioms - clothes horse
clothes sayings - cut from the same cloth
clothes sayings - cut the apron strings
clothes sayings - deck out
clothes expressions - get dolled up
clothes idioms - get one’s knickers in a twist
clothes idioms - glad rags
clothes idioms - handbags at dawn/ten paces
clothes expressions - - hand-me-down
clothes idioms - have a bee in one’s bonnet
clothes idioms - have someone’s guts for garters
clothes idioms - have something on
clothes sayings - in the buff
clothes idioms - look the part
clothes idioms - naked eye
clothes sayings - off the cuff
clothes idioms - pop one’s clogs
clothes idioms - rags to riches
clothes expressions - skirt around
clothes idioms - Sunday best
clothes idioms - try on
trouser idioms
trouser idioms - all mouth and no trousers
trouser idioms - wear the trousers
zip idioms
zip idioms - keep it zipped
zip idioms - zip it
zip idioms - zip up