When it comes to fashion, the Germans certainly have a distinct style. From the clothes they wear to the words they use to describe them, everything about German fashion is just a little bit different. That’s a good thing – it means that shopping for clothes in Germany can be a fun and interesting experience!
In this article, we will take a look at some of the most important German words for clothing. We will explore different categories of clothing, as well as some unusual words that exist only in the German language. So whether you're planning on doing some shopping during your next trip to Germany, or simply want to learn more about this fascinating aspect of German culture, read on!
In order to dress fashionably in German, you'll need to know the right words. The following is a basic list of clothing vocabulary to help get you started. Of course, there are many more words you can learn, but this will give you a good foundation to work with.
So, ready to start? Let’s learn the basics:
Die Kleidung – Clothing
der Pullover, der Pulli
Please note: some people use this German word in singular form, but it should always be used in plural.
German Clothing Vocabulary in Details
Of course, now that you’re able to say “I’m going to wear a shirt and pants,” it might be enough to answer some simple clothing questions. But is this really all the vocabulary you might need? Of course not. After all, if you are going to speak in German, you need to act like Germans and be more precise.
So now, let’s learn some more specific German vocabulary relating to clothes and make sure that you can name most of the clothing items in your wardrobe.
Die Oberteile – Tops
das Trägerhemd, das Tanktop
Die Unterseiten – Bottoms
die kurze Hose, die Shorts
Die Oberbekleidung – Outwear
cardigan, knit jacket
Die Nachtwäsche – Sleepwear
der Pyjama(s), der Schlafanzug
die Hausschuhe/die Pantoletten
sport shoes, sneakers
Die Unterwäsche – Underwear
der BH — Büstenhalter
das Höschen, der Slip(s)
the boxer shorts
Other Special Clothing
die Badehose, Badeshorts
bathing trunks, swim shorts
beach dress, beach wear
Die Accessoires – Accessories
das Armband, das Armkettchen
Other Important German Clothing Vocab
Now that you know how to say that you’re wearing a hat (der hut) and a skirt (der rock), it’s time to learn more clothing words. After all, to create full sentences in the German language, you need to know how to describe the color of the clothing item, its materials, and what can be done with it.
So, here is the remaining necessary vocabulary for you. Now, if you want to describe something, words from this list should help you. Just make sure to choose the correct adjective endings according to the nouns’ gender – and you’re good to go.
Know Your Materials
German Clothing Verbs
to put on
to take off
Let’s Go Shopping: German Clothing Phrases
And now for the fun part. Let’s learn the helpful clothing phrases in German that should help you go shopping and enjoy the process.
I’m looking for…
Ich habe Größe...
My size is…, I take a size...
Darf ich es anprobieren?
Can I try this on?
Es passt nicht.
It doesn’t fit.
Es ist groß | Das ist zu groß
It’s big| This is too big
Es ist klein | Das ist zu klein
It’s small |This is too small
How much is…?
Now Put It All Together!
Ready to create a few sentences in German? Let’s try combining the phrases above with the clothing words we’ve learned today:
Ich brauche einen schwarzen Pullover
I need a black sweater.
Was kostet diese Lederhose?
How much are these leather trousers?
Der richtige Tennisschuh passt nicht. Aber der linke schon.
The right tennis shoe doesn't fit. But the left one does.
Darf ich diese T-Shirts anprobieren? Ich habe die Größe 38.
Can I try these T-shirts on? My size is 38.
Ich suche ein Kleid. Haben Sie Hochzeitskleider aus Seide?
I'm looking for a dress. Do you have silk wedding dresses?
Final Thoughts on German Clothing Words
Now that you know the German words for different types of clothing, as well as some phrases to help you shop, you're ready to go out and buy yourself a new outfit for your German holiday!
Just don’t remember to practice. After all, memorizing some words can be simple, but you also need to remember each item’s gender, which can be tricky at first. Figuring what article each word has can also be tricky, especially looking at this fun trio: coat (der Mantel) and dress (das Kleid).
Two different words that don’t have any gender in English have different articles in German – so how do you remember the correct one?
We recommend learning German nouns together with articles, which will help you memorize them quickly, as well as practicing your German grammar regularly. Trust us: five minutes of learning German a day, and you'll be able to describe your wardrobe like a native speaker in no time.