Guide on Clothes in Japanese

Clothes in Japanese: Man tying a tie (ネクタイを締める)Welcome to our guide on clothes in Japanese, we will try go through the most basic things for clothes such as the verbs for wearing various clothes, and words for many clothes together with some common clothing materials. All things regarding clothing.

Depending on which clothes you are putting on, the verb will change. We’ve listed the different verbs you can use for some typical clothing such as putting on a hat, shirt, jeans, shoes and more. The most important to separate would be 着る (きる) and 履く (はく). 着る goes for most of the upper-body clothing while 履く is for lower-body clothing. First thing first, let us learn how to say clothes.

The word clothes in Japanese

Meaning Kanji Kana Dictonary goo definition
clothes ふく 身につけるもの。着物。
clothes 衣服 いふく からだにまとうもの。着物。衣装。
clothes 服装 ふくそう 衣服とその装身具。また、それをつけたときのようす。身なり。「質素な―」
clothes 衣類 いるい 着るもの。着物。衣服。
costume 衣装 いしょう 1 《上半身につける「衣 (きぬ) 」と下半身につける「裳 (も) 」の意から》着物。衣服。「馬子にも―」

As you can see in the table above, there are many ways to say it. The simplest and “safest” would be to just go with 服 (ふく). There are differences such as with 服装, where it is more about the appearance of what one is wearing rather than just the clothes itself. 衣服 basically means that same as 服 (both means clothes) but 衣服 is a word more commonly used in department store environments and so forth. You could consider 衣服 more formal than just 服. They are interchangeable though.

Basic verbs for putting clothes on

  • Upper body – 着る
  • Lower body – 履く
Meaning Kanji Kana Romaji
to put on (t-shirt / shirt / jumper) 着る きる kiru
to put on (jacket / coat / cardigan) 羽織る はおる haoru
to put on (ring, necklace) つける tsukeru
to put on (gloves) 嵌める, 填める はめる hameru
to put on (a scarf) 巻く まく maku
to fasten / put on (belt, tie) 締める しめる shimeru
to put on (one’s head) 被る かぶる kaburu
to put on (jewelry) 身に着ける みにつける minitsukeru
to put on (glasses) かける kakeru
to put on (pants, trousers, socks etc) 履く はく haku
to change one’s clothes 着替える きかえる kikaeru

Putting on headgear (かぶる)

Example:
帽子をかぶる put on a hat

被る (かぶる) is the verb to use for putting on headgear. The kanji usually isn’t written out, but can be. Other meaning this kanji is 被る (こうむる) which means to suffer.

Putting on a T-shirt (着る)

Example:
Tシャツを着る put on a T-shirt
セーターに着替える change to a sweater

This is the standard verb for upper-body clothes such as putting on T-shirts, sweaters, vests etc.

Putting on a jacket (はおる)

上着をはおる put on a jacket

Saying putting on a jacket you can use both 着る and 羽織る (はおる). Also for this verb it is usually written without kanji. はおる can seem a bit old fashioned which makes younger people avoid saying this word, but is still a appropriate word for words such as jackets and cardigans.

Putting on gloves (はめる)

Example:
手袋をはめる put on one’s gloves
グローブをはめる put on one’s gloves
ミトンをはめる slip on one’s mittens.

According to some people online not only はめる is being used to say to put gloves on but also はく. This usage is common in Hokkaido (北海道) where they have different dialect.

To put on a ring, jewelry (着ける)

Example:
指輪をつける put on a ring
えり元にブローチリボンをつけている wear a brooch on one’s collar
彼女は外出する時いつもネックレスをつけている She is always wearing a necklace when she goes out
宝石を身につける to wear jewelry

To put on glasses (メガネをかける)

Example:
メガネをかけている I’m wearing glasses.

Very straight forward. To put on glasses you’ll be using the verb かける. To say take off glasses, you can say メガネを外す (はずす).

Common clothing materials

Meaning Kanji Kana Romaji
wool 羊毛 ようもう yōmō
cotton 綿 めん men
fur 毛皮 けがわ kegawa
silk きぬ kinu
leather かわ kawa
flax 亜麻 あま ama

List of clothes

Meaning Japanese Romaji
jeans ジーンズ jīnzu
T-shirt Tシャツ tīshatsu
shirt シャツ shatsu
pants ズボン zubon
jacket ジャケット jaketto
skirt スカート sukāto
sweater セーター sētā
coat 上着 uwagi
hat 帽子 boushi
uniform 制服 seifuku
sneakers スニーカー sunīkā
shoe kutsu
sock 靴下 kutsushita
suit スーツ sūtsu
a tie ネクタイ nekutai
belt obi
gloves 手袋 tebukuro
ribbon リボン ribon
bathing suit 水着 mizugi
dress ドレス doresu
blouse ブラウス burausu
panties パンティー pantī
glove 手袋 tebukuro
scarf スカーフ sukāfu
pajama パジャマ pajama
necklace ネックレス nekkuresu
turtleneck タートルネック tātorunekku
waistcoat チョッキ chokki
veil ベール bēru
glasses 眼鏡 megane
shawl ショール shōru
vest ベスト besuto
mittens ミトン miton
rose colored glasses 色眼鏡 iromegane
slip スリップ surippu
lining ライニング, 裏地 rainingu , uraji
slipper スリッパ surippa
ski jacket スキージャケット sukī jaketto
shoelace 靴紐 kutsu himo
stockings ストッキング sutokkingu
tie-clip タイクリップ tai kurippu
brooch ブローチ burōchi
doublet ダブレット daburetto
pantyhose パンスト pan suto
raincoat 合羽 kappa
high-heeled shoes かかとの高い靴 kakato no takai kutsu
suspenders サスペンダー sasupendā
stilettos ハイヒール haihīru
shorts ショートパンツ shōto pantsu
backpack バックパック bakku pakku
bikini ビキニ bikini
pannier パニエ panie
sport jacket スポーツジャケット supōtsu jaketto
tuxedo タキシード takishīdo
half slip ハーフスリップ hāfu surippu
hemp-soled sandals 麻裏草履 asaura zouri
sweater セーター sētā
nightgown ねまき ne maki
muffler マフラー mafurā
button ボタン botan
hanger ハンガー hangā
knickers ニッカーズ nikkāzu
boots ブーツ būtsu
velvet ベルベット berubetto
bow tie 蝶ネクタイ chou nekutai
miniskirt ミニスカート minisukāto
boxer shorts ボクサーパンツ bokusā pantsu
bra ブラジャー burajā