IELTS speaking vocabulary for fashion and shopping

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IELTS speaking part 1 - sample shopping questions and answers

Examiner: Do you enjoy shopping?

Archie: I do enjoy shopping – perhaps more than I should! My friends say that I am something of a clothes horse! I like to be well put together but I typically wait for the sales though so that I can pick up what I want at a bargain price. I also enjoy online shopping. 

Examiner: What things do you like shopping for?

Esther: Like many women my age, I enjoy shopping for clothes and accessories. I try to be up on the latest trends, so first I scan my social media feed for what's in fashion and I try to replicate the looks with the lower priced items I buy – at a fraction of the cost of what influencers pay!

Examiner: Do you prefer to shop alone or with other people?

Sonya: If I have to buy something for an important function, then I typically bring my mother with me because she has a great eye for clothes. She knows what cut and style suits me. However, if I just want to pass the time, then I prefer going alone, especially in the morning when the shops are less crowded. I like inspecting the clothes racks or shoe displays.

IELTS speaking part 1 feedback

The candidate has used some great topic vocabulary - but remember that in the IELTS exam you need to use appropriate vocabulary and several different tenses to answer well. In the speaking exam, many candidates use the present tense for most of their answers so try to include past tenses (examples) and future tenses (plans for the future). For your speaking test, make sure you have practised enough questions and answers that you can confidently use a range of tenses.

IELTS speaking part 2 sample cue card

Describe a shop you like going to say:

  • where the shop is
  • what things it sells
  • how often you go there
  • and why you like shopping there

Samantha: The shop I like going to is one that I don't visit very often as it is extremely expensive but whenever I have gone, I have enjoyed the experience very much. The shop is in the center of the city in a beautiful neoclassical building with a spiral staircase.

There are large velvet sofas where you can rest while you are served. When you walk through the double doors, a shop assistant greets you and offers coffee and tea. They are very friendly and really try to get to know the customer so it's much better than online shopping.

Usually, I would find this level of attention from a shop person irritating, but here they do it in such a way that you feel they are really trying to accommodate you. The shop sells luxury goods from high-end designers. Many people feel their items are overpriced but I guess there is a market for these goods.

As I said, I don't go there often – it is out of my price range – but I did go when my brother was getting married to look for shoes. The selection and quality of their goods are incomparable – from over-the-top avant-garde designer items to classics that can become family heirlooms.

So it is the combination of factors – the store ambience, the unparalleled customer service and of course, the top-notch products – that make this a store I enjoy shopping at. I hope that one day I will be able to afford to shop there on a regular basis rather than mainly window shopping.

IELTS speaking part 3 sample answer

Some people think women shop more than men. Do you think this is true?

Paolo: Generally there seems to be some truth to this. I know some men who like to keep up with the latest fashions and are capable of blowing enormous sums of money on “it” sneakers and jeans, but on the whole, shopping seems to be a pastime more favoured by women.

Firstly, I think society places more pressure on women to have an attractive and modern appearance, so to stay current, they have to update their look regularly. The fashion industry knows this, of course, and as a result, the selection women have to choose from is infinite. It's not like men's clothes where your choice of trouser colours is black, grey or blue! Many women now say that retail therapy is one of their favourite activities.

How is shopping different now compared to how it was in the past?

Gunther: Well, first of all, today we are spoilt for choice. Thanks to globalization, you no longer have to go to France to buy French goods, for example. In my city, on the high street, we have brands from Spain, Italy, France, China and Japan.

This was unfathomable a few decades ago. A new element in shopping is also e-shops or online shopping. These have made the items of your choices accessible with the click of a button, regardless of the location and it's easier to compare prices. When you shop online, the items arrive at your doorstep, sometimes even on the same day.

How do you think shopping will change in the future?

Ollie: It's difficult to say. I think technology will take the online shopping experience to a whole new level so that our shopping habits will change from window shopping in our favourite stores to experiencing a digital shopping mall. For example, shopping will soon become even more personalized. Some sites today can recommend the best size for you from your favourite shop, based on the information you provide which does away with the need for shop assistants.

I am certain that in the future this will be done merely by sending an image of yourself and the item will be superimposed on your frame! I imagine shipping will be even more efficient so that you won't have to wait a week for your item to arrive.

I also suspect digital imagery online will improve so that you can truly understand the details of the item you are purchasing. As far as in-person shopping is concerned, brick and mortar stores will have a tough time competing with their online counterparts so the experience will have to become more efficient and more enjoyable.

IELTS speaking part 3 feedback

If you're not sure how something will change in the future, it's a good idea to mention the internet or technology! Remember that in the IELTS speaking test there are no 'perfect answers' the examiner is listening for, you just need your answer to make sense.


  • Clothes horse: someone who really likes to buy nice clothes
  • Well put together: describes someone who looks good and who has made effort to do so
  • Pick up: buy
  • Bargain price: a discounted price
  • Be up on the latest trends: to be informed of what is fashionable
  • Social media feed: the updated list of new content available on various social media platforms
  • In fashion: fashionable
  • Replicate: to copy
  • Looks: appearance
  • Lower priced: inexpensive, cheap
  • A fraction of the cost: a small part of the total cost
  • A (great) eye for something: able to notice or make correct judgments about something
  • Clothes rack: rail where clothes are hung for display
  • Shoe display: place where shoes are shown
  • Level of attention: the amount of attention someone pays to something
  • Luxury goods: things that are very expensive to buy but are not considered necessities
  • High-end designers: people who design products sold at very high prices
  • Out of my price range: describes something that is too expensive for someone to buy
  • Incomparable: cannot be compared because it is so good
  • Over the top: extreme, excessive, exaggerated
  • Avant garde: describes music, art, etc, that are unconventional or experimental
  • Ambience: the atmosphere of a location
  • Unparalleled: exceptional; in a category of its own because of its excellence
  • Customer service: the assistance given to customers of a product or service
  • Top-notch: high quality
  • Blow money on something: spend large amounts of money
  • “it” item: something very fashionable
  • Place pressure on: to try to influence or persuade
  • Stay current: to be up to date
  • Spoiled for choice: to have a lot of options available to you
  • High street: the main street where shops, banks and businesses are located.
  • Unfathomable: unimaginable
  • e-shops: stores that do business online
  • click of a button: on a computer or device, something that requires very little effort
  • at your doorstep: at your home or near where you live
  • superimposed: when something is placed over something else so that the image of both items is clear
  • frame: the size and shape of someone's body
  • digital imagery: the collection of pixels on a screen that create an image
  • brick and mortar stores: a physical shop as opposed to an online shop
  • counterparts: someone who does the same job as someone else somewhere else

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