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Dress like an onion!

Spring is here, or so it any case, one minute it's hot, the next it's raining, and the next it's colder than it was in the what can you do? You can dress like an onion! In other words, wear layers. First you put on a t-shirt, then a long sleeved shirt, then a sweater, then a jacket, and then maybe even a hat and scarf! This post is just a bit of vocabulary fun for you, all about clothes, and the related expressions we use in English to talk about them. Happy onion-ing!


Talking about what you're wearing

First of all, in English, to talk about what you've got on in the moment, we use the present continuous, not the present simple! For example, "Today I'm wearing jeans and a hoodie", not, "today I wear jeans and a hoodie". To talk about what you regularly wear, then of course, use the present simple. "I rarely wear dresses, I prefer jeans".

Second of all, to talk about when you prepare yourself in the morning, we use the expression to get dressed, we don't say "I dress myself" as you might in Italian or Spanish. You could, but it sounds funny. "I get dressed after I take a shower", not "I dress myself...".

These are the two biggest mistakes that ESL learners make when talking about clothes. If you're looking to really sound like a native, make sure you start using the expressions in the chart below!




to put on

​to place a piece of clothing or accessory on one's body

Put on your jacket, it's cold outside!

to take off

the opposite of put on

I need to take off my scarf, it's so hot!

to throw [something] on

Casual expression to say "put on"

​Give me 5 minutes, I'll throw on some jeans and we can go out.

to grab [article of clothing]

​Casual expression to say - quickly get or put on an article of clothing

Let me grab my coat and I'll be ready go leave.

to dress up

​to wear nice or formal clothing for a special event

​I dress up only for weddings and special events.

to dress down

​to dress informally

​She dressed down in old jeans and a white Vans shirt.

to look good on [somebody]

​to suit or look nice on somebody

Those jeans look so good on you!


What's your favorite Spring outfit? Are you a jeans and sneakers kind of person, or are you just itching to pull out your heels and cute sandals? Whatever category you fall into, I'm sure you'll find these expressions useful, and remember when you get dressed in the morning to wear layers to outsmart the fickle Spring weather!



  • layers: an onion has many layers (different dimensions of similar width)

  • long sleeved: sleeves are what your t-shirt has. If it has long sleeves, they cover your whole arm

  • hoodie: a sweater or jumper with a hood (the part you can put over your head)

  • just itching to [do something]: expression to say - to be very excited to do something

  • heels: shoes that (generally) only women wear to weddings and special events to make themselves taller

  • fickle: indecisive, very volatile

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