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Clothing in German: 90+ Vocabulary Terms to Describe Your Outfit

Clothing is a huge part of our everyday routine, and therefore it’s an essential topic for any German learner.

Die Kleidung is one of the most common ways to say “clothing” in German, but under that umbrella there are a huge number of different terms you can use to describe aspects of people’s outfits.

If you know the German clothing vocabulary terms in this post—including essential clothing items, descriptors and clothing-related verbs—you’ll be prepared for conversations with even the most fashion-forward German speakers.

Contents

The Basics

GermanEnglish
die Unterwäsche underwear
der BH/Büstenhalter bra
die Socke sock
die Strumpfhose pantyhose
die kurze Hose/die Shorts shorts
das Trägerhemd/das Tanktop tank top
das Hemd shirt
das T-Shirt t-shirt
die Bluse blouse
die Ärmel sleeves
die Hose pants
die Jeans jeans
der Rock skirt
die Leggings leggings
das Kleid dress
der Anzug suit
die Krawatte tie
die Jacke jacket
der Kapuzenpulli/der Hoodie hoodie
der Pulli/der Pullover sweater
der Blazer/der Sakko blazer
der Mantel coat
der Schal/das Halstuch scarf
der Hut hat
der Handschuh glove
der Schuh shoe
der Tenisschuh tennis shoe
der Stiefel boot
die Absätze heels
die Sandalen sandals

Accessories

Here are some of your basic, most necessary accessories in German. What’s your favorite accessory? Look it up in the dictionary and add it to your list!

GermanEnglish
die Uhr watch
die Halskette necklace
das Armband/das Armkettchen/die Armkette bracelet
der Ring ring
die Ohrringe earrings

Regional Clothing Terms

Cultures differ across the globe, and so does clothing! Below are a few types of regional clothing items.

GermanEnglish
der Kilt/der Schottenrock kilt
der Hidschab/Hijab hijab
die Lederhose leather trousers (Bavarian)
das Dirndl dress (Bavarian)
der Sari sari
der Kimono kimono

Describing Clothing

It’s crucial to know what you’re wearing, but it’s just as important to know how to describe it. Here are some adjectives to help you describe the clothing around you.

GermanEnglish
rot red
grün green
blau blue
gelb yellow
orange orange
rosa pink
weiβ white
schwarz black
lila purple
grau gray
braun brown
weich soft
rau rough
nass wet
trocken dry
sauber clean
schmutzig dirty
stinkend smelly
bunt colorful
langweilig dull
lang long
kurz short
kariert checkered
gestreift striped
die Baumwolle cotton
der Polyester polyester
der Jeansstoff denim
das Elastan spandex
die Wolle wool

Clothing Verbs

Now it’s time to learn how to describe what you’re doing with your clothes.

GermanEnglish
anziehen to put on
tragen to wear
ausziehen to take off
waschen to wash
trocknen to dry
kaufen to purchase
einkaufen to shop
zurückgeben to return
zerreißen to rip
reparieren to mend
falten to fold
einpacken to pack
tragen to carry
geben to give
hängen to hang
mögen to like
gefallen to appeal
nicht mögen to dislike
wollen to want
sich umziehen to change
wegstellen to put away
aufräumen to tidy up

Putting It All Together: Example Sentences

Let’s look at a few examples to put it all together.

German:  Ich will mein grünes Hemd tragen

English: I want to wear my green shirt

Ich will — I want

das Hemd — the shirt

grün — green

mein grünes Hemd — my green shirt

tragen — to wear

To talk about different items or descriptive terms, you simply have to choose your noun, and then use the corresponding adjective (rot or weich) and add the proper adjective ending:

Ich will mein rotes Hemd tragen (I want to wear my red shirt)

Ich will mein weiches Hemd tragen (I want to wear my soft shirt)

Ich will meinen schwarzen Pulli tragen  (I want to wear my black sweater.)

Ich will meine kurze Jeans tragen (I want to wear my short jeans.)

Let’s look at another example of this:

German:  Sie kauft ihrer Mutter ein neues blaues Kleid

English: She buys her mother a new blue dress

kaufen — to buy

sie kauft — she buys

ihrer Mutter — her mother

ein neues blaues Kleid — a new blue dress

Again, if we wanted to change anything about the sentence, we could change the verb, to say:

Sie gibt ihrer Mutter ein neues blaues Kleid  (She gives her mother a new blue dress)

Or, we could say it’s a soft white dress:

Sie kauft ihrer Mutter ein weiches weiβes Kleid  (She buys her mother a soft white dress)

If you want to see how these different words relating to clothing operate in practice, you could try using a language learning program such as FluentU.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

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Questions About Clothing in German

Clothing is a topic you’ll find yourself talking about often in German at all levels. Here are some common questions about clothing in German to use in your conversations.

As you can see, there are practically unlimited possibilities for describing different types of clothing in German. Start here to begin building your German clothing vocabulary and soon enough, you’ll be able to speak about what you’re wearing like the pros do!

And One More Thing...

Want to know the key to learning German effectively?

It's using the right content and tools, like FluentU has to offer! Browse hundreds of videos, take endless quizzes and master the German language faster than you've ever imagine!

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Watching a fun video, but having trouble understanding it? FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive subtitles.

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You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don't know, you can add it to a vocabulary list.

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And FluentU isn't just for watching videos. It's a complete platform for learning. It's designed to effectively teach you all the vocabulary from any video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you're on.

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The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you're learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.

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