ESL Clothing Vocabulary: Word List & Games

Instructor: Allison Camps

Allison has taught in elementary school inclusion classrooms and has her master's degree in Special Education.

This lesson will provide you with a list of clothing related vocabulary words for English as a Second Language (ESL) students. It will also provide you with activities you can use to reinforce the vocabulary.

Everyday Communication

You walk into your favorite store on a mission to find the perfect pair of jeans. Just yesterday, your co-worker was wearing the jeans and they looked amazing and comfortable. You find a sales associate and begin describing the jeans. The associate has a blank look on her face. She does not know which jeans you're referring to. You have a picture in your mind of these jeans but you just can't seem to find the words to describe them best. After a lot of searching, you find the jeans and wear them out of the store.

English as a second language (ESL) students have a similar lapse when they are trying to communicate. In their mind, they see the item they are trying to describe. However, it takes some time to find the correct English word to use. As a teacher, it is important to provide ESL students with common words, such as items of clothing, that they use in their everyday lives.

Clothing-Related Vocabulary Words

Use pictures to connect vocabulary words to corresponding images.


  1. dress
  2. skirt
  3. jacket
  4. raincoat
  5. jeans
  6. pants
  7. shorts
  8. shirt
  9. sweater
  10. sweatshirt
  11. t-shirt
  12. underpants
  13. pajamas
  14. bathingsuit


  1. socks
  2. sneakers
  3. boots
  4. sandals
  5. slippers
  6. tights/stockings


  1. hat
  2. gloves
  3. scarf
  4. tie
  5. cap
  6. sunglasses

Reinforcement Activities

Here are some vocabulary activities you can use to teach your ESL students about clothing.

Seasonal Clothing Activity

Instruct students to choose a season. Then instruct the students to draw a picture of an outfit appropriate for that season. (For example, in winter, a person would wear long pants, boots, jacket, scarf, gloves and a hat.) Finally, instruct the students to label each item of clothing. For more advanced students, you could instruct them to write a sentence describing the clothing.

Occasion Styling Activity

Have students draw a picture of an outfit someone might wear to a certain event or activity (Christmas, swimming, skiing, hiking, running etc.).

Matching Activity

Create a simple matching activity for students. Create a worksheet that requires students to match a picture of clothing to the correct word.

Clothing Memory Activity

Create cards with photos of clothing along with cards with the corresponding words. Pair the students and have them play memory. For younger students, you could create smaller games by grouping the cards into seasonally appropriate clothing, therefore creating a few memory games.

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