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For Students: Fashion & Shopping

Updated: Oct 13, 2022

It was Lviv fashion week last week which meant the designers were in town to show off their collections. Models were strutting down the catwalk hoping they didn't fall on the runway in those high heels and cause a scene. Lots of colourful clothes – pronounced as close ;) - with interesting patterns and designs were on show to make your mouth-water or make your stomach turn as we were surrounded by the world of glamour and the new trends and fads as they tried to inspire us to buy a new outfit or even a new wardrobe.

Clothes - pronounced as close ;) - are great. Not only do they keep us warm, but they can make us look sophisticated, ravishing, or like we are homeless without saying a word. If I asked you to describe the clothes you're wearing now, could you? Is your t-shirt or dress plain, stripey, checked, or have a design of a cat on it. Or are you simply naked and in the nude after a long and hard day in the office. Do you prefer vibrant and loud types of clothing or to keep things low-key? Do you need to try on your choice before you buy? Or do you just buy and then take it back when you try it on at home and find it's too baggy or tight.

They say there is nothing worse than going shopping – notice to do the shopping is to buy food – with your wife or girlfriend as you spend the whole afternoon trawling through the shops listening to ' what do you think? ' ' does my bum look big in this' ' No, it's not for me' ' you don't like it do you? ' praying and then paying at the till. Everyone loves a bargain, nobody likes to be ripped off and your girlfriend is no different. I'm sure even you, reader, like to shop around before you find the right thing before the shop assistant says ' just pop your card in the reader and enter your pin '

There is no doubt shopping has changed over the years. You can get really good discounts from online sellers, very good fakes from China at a fraction of the price, and even design your own item of clothing online and have it delivered. We don't need to go to the shop anymore, but that doesn't stop us. Nowadays it seems 'most' people young people grab a bunch of clothes, and head to the changing room to take selfies, add it to Instagram and set up a poll. 'Yay - Nay' I suppose it's cheaper than having a stylist. Plus, you might be a fashion blogger and need to feed your mass following on what's hot and what's not.

Shopping, and fashion is a big topic in the classroom. Lots of unfamiliar words and expressions, all of which you can translate into your language. The summer just gone, I had a group of 15 teenage girls from different parts of Europe and South America, and when one day I came into class at 9:15am and told them our topic was 'Fashion and Shopping' you could see their faces bulge with excitement. True story.

Let's imagine some situations in which you're abroad and you're shopping for your next outfit and you have to use English. Here are some phrases that will help you. Translate them into your language and then say the exact phrases as they are written below

Situation 1: You bought something without trying it on and now you want your money back

Hi, I bought this the other day and it doesn't fit me. Is it possible to get a refund?

Hi, I bought this the other day and it doesn't fit me. Is it possible to exchange it for a... ?

That's fine. Can I have your receipt RE-SEAT -

fit - to be the right size for you - Note: something fits you, not fit for you.

refund - your money back from your purchase

exchange - to get another sized or different item NOTE: RE-SEAT

receipt - the piece of paper you are given after you buy something

Situation 2: You and your friend have gone shopping together and you're talking about your choices.

What do you think about this?

I don't think it would suit you. How about this? It matches your shoes

But will it go with my red shoes I bought last week?

Mmmm I'm not sure.

I'll go and try it on. Whereabouts are the changing rooms?

suit - to look good in/with something

match - when two items are the same colour

go with - when two items of clothing look good together

whereabouts - where exactly

Situation 3: You've just come out of the changing room and see your friend

What do you think?

It's a bit tight around the waist

What about the next-size-up

I'll ask, excuse me have you got this in a medium

I'll just check....... I'm sorry we are out of mediums

tight around the <body part> - not much space to move

next-size-up/down - medium to a large or vice versa

have you got this a - the phrases to ask the assistant when you can't find the size you're looking for

Situation 4: You're shopping with your mum

Are you really going to get that?

Yeah, why not?

It's very revealing... I can't see your bum cheeks!!

It's the fashion, mum. Everyone wears ripped shorts now

revealing - showing your body, especially intimate parts

ripped - holes in the fabric

Now you're ready to go shopping, here are some questions for you to end on.


What is in at the moment?

Have you ever bought a fake?

Do you shop around or just buy the first thing you see?

Do you own a pair of ripped jeans?

Have you got any favourite clothes that no longer fit you?

What do you think the future of going shopping will be?

Cheers - English native speaker and teacher from England in Lviv

Skype English lessons and Zoom English classes with a British native speaker

Word list

show off - to have all the attention on you as you do or show something

strut - to walk in a way like you are superior. Like a peacock.

catwalk/runway - the place where models walk at a fashion show

high heels - see picture

cause a scene - to do something to draw attention to yourself in a negative way

patterns - a repeated design

on show - to display some art

to make your mouth-water - something you really want

to make your stomach turn - something you really don't like and makes you feel sick

glamour - the rich, famous, expensive, and fashionable

trend - something very popular at the moment

fad - something popular, but won't last very long

outfit - a choice of different colouring for a special event

a new wardrobe - a collection of new clothes

sophisticated - intelligent and interesting

ravishing - very beautiful. Used mostly to describe females

homeless - someone without a home

plain - just a colour and nothing else

stripey - with lines going downwards or across

checked - with squares

a design/picture of a - you might have a plain black t-shirt with a design of a frog in the middle

naked/in the nude - no clothes

vibrant colours - bright colours like orange and yellow.

loud - noticeable by colour or design

low-key - not attracting too much attention

try on - to see if the clothing 'fits' and 'suits' you

take something back - to return

baggy - too much space between your body and the clothing

tight - too little space between your body and the clothing

to trawl - to move very slowly

bum - popka ;) - you're welcome

till - the area and machine where you go and pay

rip off - to be charged a high price for something that is not really value for money

shop around - to research and check different places for the best choice and price

Pop your card in the reader - what everyone at the till says in England when you pay by card

discount - a percentage off the original price deducted

fake - not real versions

changing rooms - the area where you try on clothes

Yay or nay - an expression for is it a good or not

stylist - a job where a person tells you what suits, matches, and fits you.

fashion blogger - someone who blogs about fashion

mass following - a large group of people who support a person or something

hot or not - something that is popular and not popular

bulge - to increase in size

outfit - a choice of different clothing for a special event

fit - the right size for you

in - popular in fashion now

#shopping #togoshopping #fashion #clothes

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