If you are travelling abroad for more than a couple of days, you may have to or want to buy clothes. And normally in this situation you will have to speak to shop/sales assistants. This can sometimes be easy and other times hard. In this first of two exercises on buying clothes, we will look at commonly used English vocabulary for shopping for clothes, introducing phrases and words that are essential when talking and asking about clothes. We will also look at some phrases that are used when a customer wants to buy a piece of clothing in a clothes shop/store.
Read the following conversation between two customers (Jane and Maria) and a shop/sales assistant in a clothes shop in Wales. Maria wants to buy a pair of trousers. Focus on the words/phrases in bold and think about their meaning. Then do the quiz at the end to check/ test your understanding.
Jane:'This is a good clothes shop. I used to buy a lot of clothes in this shop in London.'
Maria:'I need to buy some trousers and it is normally cheaper to buy them in Britain than in Spain.'
Shop Assistant:'Can I help you?'
Jane:'No thank you, we're just looking.'
Shop Assistant:'Ok. If you need anything, you ask.'
5 minutes later
Maria:'Do you think they have any trousers of the make Calvin Klein?'
Jane:'Yes, they are over there.'
Maria:'I'm a bit confused with the sizes. The clothes only have British sizes on them. Which of the trousers are a european size 38 for the waist? The part of the trousers near the stomach.'
Jane:'Let me look. I think this is a 38 for the waist. And the length? You have long legs so 39, I suppose? Here you are?'
Maria:'Where can I try them on? I don't want to buy them before wearing them?'
Jane:'I don't know, we better ask where the changing rooms are?
Excuse me, where are the changing rooms?'
Shop Assistant:'The changing rooms are over there at the back of the store.'
5 minutes later
Jane:'Do they fit you?'
Maria:'Not really, they are a little bit too tight on my waist. Maybe I need a bigger size. And they are also a little too casual, I need them for work. I'll ask the shop assistant if they have anything which is smart, something more appropriate for work.
Excuse me, do you have anything smarter, more formal in the same make and in a slightly bigger size for the waist?'
Shop Assistant:'Yes we do, try these. A lot of people buy these trousers to wear for work.'
5 minutes later
Jane:'They look very good on you. They suit you perfectly.'
Maria:'I like them, they feel comfortable. The trousers also match my shoes and my top perfectly. The colours combine perfectly.'
Shop Assistant:'How are the trousers?'
Maria:'Perfect. I'd like to take them.'
Shop Assistant:'They are beautiful. Follow me and you can buy them.'
Below is a definition/description of each of the words in bold from the above text. Now choose the word/phrase from the question's selection box which you believe answers each question. Only use one word/phrase once. Click on the "Check Answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.
When the answer is correct, two icons will appear next to the question. The first is an Additional Information Icon "". Click on this for extra information on the word/phrase and for a translation. The second is a Pronunciation Icon "". Click on this to listen to the pronunciation of the word/phrase and to do a pronunciation speaking test.
Now that you understand the new vocabulary, practice them by creating your own sentences with the new words/phrases.