Flip Flops or Sandals? Clear Up English Clothes Confusion with This Vocabulary List

Look at you!

Snazzy. Fresh. Fly. 

In other words, you look good!

But do you know what you’re wearing?

English clothes vocabulary can be pretty confusing. Some words are super specific, while others are used for all kinds of clothing items.

There are shirts, then there are T-shirts. Sweaters and cardigans. Flip flops and sandals.


Don’t worry. We’ll clear up all that confusion and more in this article.

We’ll show you the most important clothes vocabulary words for every season.

The next time you look in the mirror, you’ll know that you’re looking good—and you’ll have excellent English vocabulary skills to match.

Clothes Vocabulary by the Seasons! 12+ English Words for Fashionable Language All Year


Summer is the hottest time of the year, so the season’s clothing is lightweight and short. We’ll take a look at a few items that you’ll need to pack in your summer holiday luggage!

Flip flops/Sandals


This is an item that you won’t wear at any other time of the year, except for summer!

The weather gets hot and, in some places, extremely humid (meaning the air carries lots of moisture). If you wore socks and shoes, you’d probably feel hot, sticky and uncomfortable. I wouldn’t suggest you try it!

Flip flops or sandals allow your feet to be exposed, instantly giving you a relaxed and comfortable feeling.

“Flip flops” are a common, specific type of sandal that leave the whole foot exposed, with a strap between the first two toes. “Sandals” refers to any shoe that leaves part of the foot exposed.



This item would be something that you definitely have to pack in your summer holiday luggage! Shorts are essentially pants that stop at your knee.

However, if you happen to be on a business trip in the summer, do remember that shorts are generally considered inappropriate for any sort of formal function, even if it feels like a burning furnace. Leave the shorts for your weekend trip to the beach or an outing to the zoo.



Though this item can also be worn as a fashion statement during other seasons, its primary purpose is to provide shade from the sun, which happens to be harsh and unforgiving during the summer.

So make this an essential item in your summer clothing shopping list to protect yourself from the heat.



Don’t confuse this with “shirt!” As both words are very similar, it’s not uncommon for English learners to confuse them.

Let’s draw a simple distinction between the two: a shirt is worn during formal occasions and is a common item worn by office workers daily. A shirt may have buttons, for example. However, a T-shirt is an informal item, frequently made of cotton with short sleeves.

While it’s important to be aware of this distinction, note that many native English speakers use the word “shirt” to refer to T-shirts (but never the other way around).


The scenery in your city changes from lush green trees to a burst of orange, red and yellow leaves. Autumn has arrived.

If you ask around, you may realize that many people consider autumn (also called “fall” in English) to be their favorite season. That’s usually because the temperature is cool and comfortable, accompanied by charming and spectacular scenery.

While it’s not awfully cold, a T-shirt and flip flops wouldn’t be sufficient either.



Sweaters, which are thick, long-sleeved tops, allow you to put together that perfect autumn look!

With a plethora of designs to choose from, sweaters can keep you cozy and you’ll be able to fully enjoy the autumn season.



If you wear a thick jacket, you’ll be too hot. But if you don’t, you’ll be too cold.

To solve that dilemma, get a cardigan!

A cardigan is similar to a sweater (many people may consider it a type of sweater, in fact). However it’s usually a bit thinner and it always opens in the front.



Autumn also comes with the rainy season in many regions. Having a raincoat will better protect you from the unavoidable splatters of rain.

Raincoats (also called “rain jackets”) are typically made of a water-resistant material and come with a hood (head covering).


As winter approaches and your surroundings get blanketed in snow, you have to gear yourself up in winter-wear—so you can get out there for snowball fights with your friends and family!

It’s extremely important to be dressed warmly for winter as prolonged exposure to cold can lead to unwanted health issues.



First and foremost, we need a nice, thick coat for winter to keep ourselves snug and warm.

Most would suggest investing in a good winter coat as it can last you through the years.



It’s common knowledge that you have to protect the extremities of your body—nose, fingers and ears—when the weather is extremely cold.

A good pair of gloves or mittens covers your hands to keep them warm and prevent the harsh winds from biting through to your fingers.

It’s important (but easy) to know the difference between “gloves” and “mittens.” Gloves have separate openings for each of your fingers, whereas mittens don’t.



Similar to gloves and mittens, earmuffs are essential if the weather is excessively cold.

Earmuffs are usually made of wool with a strap over your head, to completely cover your ears. Having ear muffs for winter will ensure that you’re fully prepared to battle the wind, snow and cold.


Spring is when the cold spells and bleak surroundings fade away. Blooms arrive all around you, putting a smile on your face as well.

As tourists and locals alike flock to lavender fields and cherry blossom-lined roads to capture nature at its finest, you’d definitely want to dress the part!



Probably the most commonly worn clothing item in the world, jeans are an essential bottom-wear in your spring wardrobe!

As an alternative to more formal pants, jeans usually come in various shades of blue or black. They’re made of a type of material called “denim.”

Jeans have been around for years, making it a timeless piece. You can match it with almost any type of clothing and still look fantastic for your spring photo-taking sessions!



This is a type of footwear that almost everyone owns. Sneakers are athletic-style shoes that you can wear while being active.

While these fully-covered shoes with shoelaces may prove too hot for the summer and ineffective against the biting cold of winter, they’re excellent for the sprightly spring weather.



A dress is perfect for spring. It’s a one-piece clothing article that usually reaches to the knees. A dress can be formal or informal, long or short.


As we go through the different seasons of the year, we have to be prepared for the different weather conditions. By familiarizing yourself with this clothes vocabulary, you’ll be fully prepared the next time you’re shopping for a particular season’s clothing!

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