1 Easy and Fun Ways to Dramatically Improve Your Vocabulary
Learn common English clothing vocabulary and practice using games, activities, and a short story. The story focuses on clothing vocabulary. You should read the story because it will help you see the words used in context. Fun stories are a great way to improve your English!
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The beginning of this lesson is a free sample. The full lesson is available free of charge to our newsletter subscribers. Read and do the activities/exercises as you go along, because you will get better results.
Before we start the story, let’s practice!
2 Clothing Vocabulary Card Game
2 Clothing Vocabulary Memory Game
3 Story: The Perfect Outfit
Don’t guess! Check any word you do not fully understand using this simple dictionary.
Practice English Clothing Vocabulary
(clothing vocabulary is in bold)
Margaret stares at the dark black pantsuit on the counter in front of her. Well, it used to be dark black. Now it has a giant stain, white with patches of ugly brown at the edges, across the front of it. She rubs a finger across it. The fine fabric feels rough and burnt where it is stained.
“I don’t understand,” she says. “How did this happen?”
The man behind the counter shrugs his shoulders. “The new guy spilled some chemicals on it.” Margaret starts to speak, but he interrupts her. “Don’t worry, ma’am. We will replace it for you, of course. I’m very sorry. If you come back tomorrow with the receipt, I’ll give you the money.”
Margaret sighs. She doesn’t even know if she still has the receipt and she can’t wait until tomorrow. The Young Entrepreneur’s Dinner is in just a few hours. It is supposed to be one of the most important events in her life. It is a chance to meet all sorts of important business people. It’s the first step toward her new life as a powerful, young businesswoman. But now, the outfit she carefully picked out, the one she paid extra to have carefully dry cleaned, is completely ruined.
She glances at the clock hanging over the man’s head. She only has a few hours to get to the dinner. “I need to go, but I’ll be back to talk about this tomorrow,” Margaret says, trying to sound fierce and strong as she grabs the suit and walks out of the store.
She runs through the city, wishing she had worn something more comfortable than her rain boots. They were good for keeping her feet dry that morning, but make it quite difficult to move quickly.
She gasps for air as she reaches her apartment, but doesn’t slow down. She runs straight to her closet and throws the doors open, searching for anything that might be appropriate to wear.
She reaches in and grabs as many hangers as she can fit in her hand, then spreads them in front of her, examining her choices. Her pink bikini covered in white polka dots is definitely not appropriate. Neither is the hoodie from her vacation. She has a nice, flowing purple skirt that might work, but no top to pair it with.
She moves on to her dresser, throwing open the drawers at random. The first one is filled with her underwear. She slams it shut, deciding that showing up in just a bra or her silk nightie would be incredibly inappropriate.
The next drawer is filled with jeans and gym shorts—perfect for a walk in the park, but not really right for a life-changing night of business deals. Margaret doesn’t even bother to open the last drawer. She already knows what’s inside of it. Piles of old t-shirts and oversized sweaters she only wears around Christmas.
She leans back on her bed and sighs, looking around at her clothing strewn all over the room. Seeing it all like this frustrates her. It makes her feel like a child. For the past few years, she has only wanted to be a successful businesswoman, but her wardrobe looks like it belongs to a teenager.
She knows she’s smart and dedicated and a hard worker. That should be enough to make her a success, but she worries that people won’t even talk to her if she doesn’t look professional. “This would be so much easier if people just cared about me and not what I’m wearing,” she thinks. “But that’s not the way business works. You have to look serious if you want people to take you seriously.”
She takes off her boots and looks on the bottom row of her closet. She pushes aside her fuzzy slippers, pausing for a moment to wonder if maybe she should just put them on and spend the night inside watching movies, and a pair of old flip flops, also left over from her last trip, and finds a pair of sneakers. She’s going to need something comfortable if she’s going to make it to the store and the dinner.
She grabs a pair of socks from her underwear drawer and quickly slides them on, followed by her shoes. Her trip home cost her half an hour. She needs to move faster. Margaret runs out of her apartment and through the city once again, jumping around the people walking slowly in the street.
Everyone in the department store looks at her like she’s crazy as she stands in the doorway, trying to catch her breath.
“Excuse me, ma’am. Can I help you?” a saleswoman asks her.
“I need formalwear,” Margaret pants.
“Certainly. It’s right this way.” Margaret’s breathing becomes more steady as the woman leads her through the men’s section, past rows of button up shirts and fancy scarves, to the women’s formalwear.
Margaret immediately pounces on the racks of clothes, searching for anything. She flips through the pantsuits, but there isn’t a single one in her size. When she turns around, she finally sees it. A tan evening dress. It’s perfect. Simple and elegant. Slightly fancy, but not too much.
Margaret feels the soft, satin fabric between her fingertips, as she looks for the tag. It’s her size. It must be a sign! Margaret takes it off the rack and goes to a changing room. She slips out of her clothes and into the dress. It fits like it was made for her. She looks at herself in the mirror. It’s better than she ever could have imagined. She looks the way she always imagined herself.
As she takes the dress off, she looks at the price tag and is shocked to discover it costs over two hundred dollars! She checks the time. She only has an hour left to do her hair and makeup and get to the dinner. She doesn’t have time to worry about the price.
She walks over to the shoe section and looks through it. The black leather shoes she was planning on wearing won’t really work with this dress. Instead, she finds a pair of turquoise high heels that look perfect with the tan fabric. They cost an extra hundred dollars. She sighs as she picks them up.
“If tonight goes well, you won’t have to worry about prices anymore,” she tells herself as she hands the cashier her credit card, knowing that she can’t really afford it.
Margaret walks into the ballroom and feels everyone admiring her dress. She looks around at the rest of the crowd. The men all wear nice suits with silk ties that probably cost more than her apartment. The women all wear beautiful dresses, but no one looks as nice as Margaret.
Feeling so beautiful gives Margaret confidence as she talks to the powerful-looking business people around her. She knows she just has to make a great impression on one of them. That’s all it will take to start her career.
Someone announces that the dinner will be starting soon and says that people should find a seat at one of the tables set up at the far end of the room. As Margaret makes her way toward a table, someone bumps into her. A warm splash hits her shoulder. She looks down to see a bright red spot dripping down her dress!
“I’m so sorry,” a waiter standing in front of her, holding a half spilled bowl of tomato soup, says.
Margaret doesn’t say anything. She just runs into the bathroom and rips as many paper towels as she can out of the dispenser. Some of the soup rubs away as she scrubs at it, but most of it just stays, the fabric already stained.
She looks at herself in the mirror. The red spot is massive. The dress is completely ruined. She bites her lip, trying to hold back her tears, when someone walks into the bathroom. “Stay strong,” Margaret tells herself, even though she knows the night is ruined.
“Oh honey, are you all right?” the intruder asks.
Margaret turns to her and can’t believe what she sees. Standing right in front of her is Theresa McKenzie, one of her personal heroes. Theresa was the first woman to ever be CEO of her company and is famous for helping young women start their careers. Margaret didn’t even know Theresa was going to be at the dinner.
For a moment, she’s ecstatic, then she remembers the stain and is horrified. She can’t believe she’s meeting her hero like this.
“Hello?” Theresa says, reminding Margaret that she never responded.
“Oh yeah, it’s just been a long day and now this,” Margaret says, pointing at her dress.
“Well, I can help you with that.” Theresa takes the paper towels from Margaret and soaks them in warm water, then dabs at the stain, but it doesn’t really make a difference. “Wow, that soup really sticks, doesn’t it?” She smiles at Margaret in a way that makes Margaret think that things aren’t nearly as bad as they are. “Tell me about your day.”
The words come pouring out of Margaret’s mouth. She tries to stop them, but she can’t. She tells Theresa about the dry cleaner and looking through her clothes and buying the dress. It feels good to finally say it all out loud.
“I like your dedication,” Theresa says. “Today did everything it could to beat you down and you still made it here. I like that. I could use someone like you working for me.” Margaret can’t believe what she hears. “Of course, someone like you probably already has a nice job.”
“No,” Margaret practically shouts. “No, I don’t. I’m looking for one.”
“Well, you should call my secretary and arrange a meeting for us to talk about your future sometime next week.” Margaret grins as Theresa hands her a business card. Then, Theresa suddenly slips off her blazer and hold it out to Margaret. Margaret stares at it, confused. “Here, take this to cover up the stain.”
Margaret slips into Theresa’s blazer, feeling more powerful than ever as she imagines all the business deals Theresa has made while wearing it. She walks proudly back out the ballroom and takes a seat at the table. She talks to the people around her, but knows it doesn’t really matter. She’s already made the best business contact, all thanks to her perfect outfit…
4 Vocabulary Exercises
Choose the correct answer.
5 Grammar Exercises
Complete the sentence by choosing the correct word.
6 Matching Exercise
Drag the correct word that is described by the picture.
7 Fill in the Blank Exercises
8 Fun Activity
We hope this lesson helped you learn common English clothing vocabulary. Make sure you read the story and complete all activities. You should read and practice using stories and activities because it will help you see much better results with your English lessons. Fun stories are a great way to improve your English!
This lesson is included in our courses. You can get ALL our courses at an impressive discount here.