Dictionary of Australian Clothing Terminology


To celebrate Australia Day (which is today) I’m sharing with you my quick pictorial dictionary of some of the most commonly used Australian clothing terminology. Just so you know when I use these words what I really mean!

Thongs: flip flops

G-string: thong underwear

Jumper: pullover or sweater

Singlet: camisole or vest

Cossie: bathers or swimming costume

Togs: bathers or swimming costume

Dictionary of Australian Clothing Terminology


Polo neck: turtle-neck
Skivvy: turtle neck thin cotton long sleeve top (think what the Wiggles wear)
Pants:  trousers
Vest: waistcoat
Shirt: cotton collared, button up worn mostly in business
 Tell me what are the words that you’ve heard or read Australians use that you have no idea what they mean?


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      • In the US we call the article of clothing that you would wear over a buttoned up shirt and traditionally a man would wear under this suit coat as a vest. I believe that in the UK that a vest is an undershirt. In the above an undershirt or tank top or cami as we would call it is identified as a singlet. Singlet makes me think of onesies for babies.

        On another Australian blog I read, food, travel, the author had been using the word moreish quite a bit lately. I had to look that up. Not a word that’s used frequently in the US.

  • Hi Imogen, my family also use the term swimmers and men’s slinky swimmers are always referred to as speedos No matter what brand they are,or boardies if they are baggy. Growing up in Victoria we always wore a windcheater now known as a hoodie. Any sheepskin lined boots were uggs even the ones bought at the local market. Velvet and straw thongs were slaps and those shoes with tyre soles were treads and we wore volleys if we were exercising. The joy of Australian seventies foot ware. We wore a spencer and witches britches when cold and a slip if our skirt was see through, although l am not sure if these are Australian terms.

  • Ha! As an American reader, I really appreciate this. Here in the US, a jumper is a dress you wear over a shirt, skivvies are underwear, and a singlet is an item worn by male wrestlers!

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