Fashion English: How to Talk About Clothing, Trends and Styles

It is typical to hear about fashion every day. You may watch it on TV, read it from magazines, or hear someone you know talk about it. While different people give different importance to fashion, it is normal to be engaged in a conversation that speaks about it. Many like to discuss it because fashion and style can influence how you will be perceived and treated. It can suggest something about your background and orientation. 

Learning how to talk about fashion helps you describe clothes, trends, people, and even your personal style and taste in clothing. Not only will you be able to be more descriptive and on point, but you will also sound more sophisticated. It will make engaging in fashion and style-related conversations easier when you attend events and talk with fashion-conscious individuals. Knowing the right vocabulary and expression to say will also allow you to suggest or compliment someone. Moreover, you can talk about the latest fashion or your preferred style. This post will provide you with common expressions, vocabulary, and tips used when talking about fashion. They are categorized according to subtopics that you will most commonly encounter in fashion-related conversations.

Talking about your clothing

People can get curious and be interested in your clothing when they find it nice or suits you well.  In most cases, they might ask you about it. When talking about the clothing item you wear, you can provide basic details to describe it. You can talk about the material used and the design or the pattern on it. Also, you can ask questions if you are curious about other clothing as well. 

Talking about the material


What’s the material used in your shirt?

What clothing fabric types do you like for your clothes?

Possible responses: 

I like cotton because it’s comfortable and breathable. 

I mostly wear wool or knitted clothes during winter.

This shirt is made of linen. 

Tip: Notice that the name of the clothing item is usually mentioned when speaking about clothing preference. Examples of this are t-shirt, blouse, blazer, and jeans. There are plenty of terms used to tell what exactly you are wearing, and many of them are common terms that you are already most probably familiar with.

To answer the question about the material used in your clothing, you can familiarize yourself with the most commonly used fabric. It would also help if you know the suited fabric types for every season, so you’ll easily identify what your clothes are made of if it is not indicated on the label. Fabrics that are typically used for clothing are cotton, linen, silk, wool, denim, corduroy, and synthetic fabrics. 

Talking about design

Another way to describe your clothing is to provide details about its design. This is usually done by naming the pattern used on your apparel. The most common questions, expressions, and terms used when talking about patterns are listed below. 


What kind of pattern do you usually like for your clothes?

What kind of pattern do you like the most?

What kind of design do you like the least?

Possible responses:

I usually like floral prints.

I prefer vertical stripes for my clothes because it makes me look thinner.

I like simple designs, so I usually go for plain ones. 

I am not much into printed shirts.

Helpful Vocabulary

Floral print – kind of print that displays flowers.

Stripes – a design that shows a line pattern which could be vertical or horizontal.

Plain – pertains to the type of design that does not have any prints and usually appears in one color. 

Check/checkered – kind of print that shows squares of different colors

Printed – refers to the design where an image or text is printed on the piece of clothing.


Talking about style

You can talk about style if you want to know the preferred and most comfortable way of dressing for someone. This topic could suggest your personality and the image you want to portray since it is often linked to image.


How would you describe your style?

What’s your favorite style of clothing?

Possible responses:

I’m into classy clothes. 

I always wear stylish clothes because I like to look presentable and smart.

My preferred style is stylish and classy.

Vocabularies related to style: 

fashion – refers to a popular trend that is accepted at a certain time or place. It can quickly change; hence what is “in” today can be out of trend in a few weeks or months.

style – is your preferred manner of dressing to look more attractive. It is often based on what fits your body type. Since it is a personal preference, it doesn’t easily change.

taste – a word you can use to talk about your preferences and likes.  

Tip: You can use the following adjectives below to easily describe your style

classy – a term used when referring to a more elegant and sophisticated taste

stylish -means that something looks tastefully designed

chic – refers to a look that is stylish, smart, and elegant

snazzy – means stylishly fancy, or flashy


Talking about the dress code

For every occasion and social events like gala, wedding, and formal dinner, you are expected to dress accordingly because these are considered special. The guidelines that suggest the appropriate style of clothing for a specific occasion is called dress code. Conversations that would require you to talk about dress code are those instances when you have to be informed or asked about the suited apparel to wear at an event. 


What is the dress code for the wedding?

What is the stated dress code on the wedding invitation?

Possible responses:

We are supposed to wear smart casuals in the hotel restaurant.

The dress code for the wedding is formal wear.

Helpful vocabulary:


For gatherings like weddings, formal events at work, or having dinner with dignitaries, you are usually expected to wear formal clothes. This includes wearing suits and tuxedos for men while elegant dresses, gowns, and shoes with heels for women.

Business formal

This style is usually seen in situations like job interviews, business meetings, and other work-related occasions where you are expected to look presentable and professional. For business formal, you usually wear clothing items that are in a neutral color. To avoid drawing attention to what you wear, you avoid bright colors or prints with suggestive images or text on your clothing. For the business formal dress code, skirts, slacks, and blazers are typically worn by women, while polo, necktie, and shirt are worn by men. 

Smart casual 

Smart casual refers to a more comfortable style of dressing that looks professional and presentable. This dressing manner can be seen during work meetings, job interviews, and when going to a fine-dining restaurant. For this type of style, you can wear cardigans and clothing pieces in plain colors. This is also known as “dressy casual.”


This is the dressing style that you apply when you are going out to shop, visit a friend, or dine in a restaurant with a relaxed setting. This style is comfortable and allows you to move freely. Clothes that are typical worn in this category are denim jeans, t-shirts, shorts. For footwear, you put on sandals or sneakers.


While there are no written rules that tell how you should dress when you are enjoying your free time, it is typical that people prefer to wear something breathable and stretchy. Leisurewear is the informal clothing that you wear in your free time, weekends, and vacations. These clothes are designed to be worn for leisure activities or when you’re resting or relaxing. These clothes are not appropriate for a work environment. 


Giving a compliment about someone’s style or clothing

Giving a compliment to others is common when you like their style or if they are wearing something that fits them. You express your appreciation to make them aware that they look good. You also ask questions to know about their clothing piece or learn some tips from them. 


Are you wearing a  new shirt? 

Where did you get your shirt? It looks good on you.

Sample compliments:

I like your style.

You’ve got a pretty good sense of taste.  

Your shirt looks good on you.

I like your shirt’s fit on you. 

Your shirt suits you. 

You should wear casual clothes more often. It looks good on you. 

Tip 1: Using different adjectives will help you to easily compliment other people. It will enable you to provide convincing remarks by accurately describing the look that someone is eliciting. 

Sample compliments: 

Your dress is well-fitted on you.

Nice suit! It’s well-tailored.

Helpful vocabulary

Well-tailored – this means that your clothing is well made and well-cut that it fits your body perfectly.

Well-fitted – you use this word when you want to describe that an apparel is perfectly suited because it has the right shape and size for the person who’s wearing it.

Well-matched – this term is used when you refer to well-chosen pieces of clothes. The carefully picked clothing items look appealing because they have a nice combination and complement each other. 

Well-dressed – to be well-dressed means that you are wearing smart and elegant clothing that makes you even more attractive.

Flattering – this adjective is used when you want to express that someone looks better or more attractive than usual.

Tip 2: To make your compliment more credible, you can provide reasons on why someone’s style or clothing looks good on him. 

Sample compliments:

Nice jeans! It makes you look much taller and slimmer.

Your shirt suits you. It makes you look smarter. 

You are well-dressed today. You look attractive.

Additional Tip: When you are given a good compliment, it’s better to provide a courteous response. You can also provide positive remarks about their style if you find it good as well.


Thanks. That’s nice of you.

Thanks, I like your style too.

You’ve got a nice shirt too. 



By using the given expression, tips, and vocabulary above, you will sound more confident when talking about fashion, may you be a fan of it or not. By providing descriptive and detailed statements, you will be better understood by your conversation partner. Familiarize yourself and keep on practicing, so whenever you encounter a situation where you have to talk about a fashion-related topic, you will sound more natural. Moreover, to keep yourself updated, expand your fashion vocabulary. New and creative ways to talk about fashion are coined and produced from time to time by individuals working in the fashion industry, so you will always have something to learn about fashion.

Need to learn more fashion-related words? Sign up and start learning English with us today. LingualBox offers courses that will help you to easily and confidently speak in English. Choose the right course for you, and we will coach you to be more fluent quickly.

Kaycie Gayle is a freelance content writer and a digital publisher. Her writings are mostly about, travel, culture, people, food, and communication.