The Parts of a Shirt
and Types of Shirts


When your English is good enough to name the most common pieces of clothing—shirt, pants, underwear—the next step is naming the parts of each piece of clothing. When the time comes to talk about differences in clothing, you'll want this vocabulary. How else can you tell me how your shirt is different from mine?

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Let's start with shirts. There are some important things to talk about with shirts.

First: in some languages, the word "shirt" only refers to a "T-shirt." In English, a "shirt" is almost anything for the top half of your body. (Sweaters aren't "shirts," but "sweatshirts" obviously are!)

T-shirt

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The place where your arms go in your shirt are the shirt sleeves. We talk about short-sleeved shirts and long-sleeved shirts. 

A long-sleeved shirt has sleeves that come almost all the way to your hands. 

long-sleeved shirts

And a short-sleeved shirt has sleeves that come just over your shoulders.

short-sleeved shirt

Some shirts have no sleeves. We call them "tank tops," though sometimes they're called "sleeveless," though that mostly happens in womens clothing.

tank tops

If you wear a tie, around your neck it's under the collar of your shirt. The collar is the part of the shirt that your head goes through. Normally, though, we only call it a collar when it rises up around your neck. 

collar

A t-shirt, for example, doesn't have a collar. Normally, shirts that have a "collar" like a t-shirt has, we say are "crew neck." For example, it's possible to buy crew neck sweater. 

Or you can buy a turtleneck sweater. When a shirt—or sweater—has what looks like a third sleeve for your head, it's a "turtleneck." I like to wear turtleneck shirts in the winter, because they keep my neck warm. My family says they make me look like a college professor, though!

turtleneck sweater

In the summer, I wear short-sleeved shirts with a collar to work. I think they look professional, and they aren't too warm. (Air conditioning isn't common in Germany.) 

The rest of the year, I wear collared shirts with long sleeves... though, even when I wear a sweater, I slide my sleeves up. That means, even with long sleeves, I push them up my arms so that my arm is naked from the elbow down. I just feel like you should slide your sleeves up to work!

The Parts of a Shirt and Types of Shirts

What kind of shirts do you wear? How do you feel about wearing turtlenecks? Do you think they make you look like a professor? Do you have "work shirts" and "relaxing shirts?" What kind of shirt is your favorite shirt?

This lesson was written and recorded by Toby, an American English teacher that lives in Germany. Toby is the creator of Bite Sized English.

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