How to Discuss Articles of Clothing in American Sign Language

Whether you're signing about doing laundry or buying new clothes, you may need to know how to identify items of clothing in American Sign Language (ASL). These signs show you how to refer to clothing in any season.

Signs for underwear

It’s time to go under cover. Most of these signs are signed to look like what they represent. Anything slinky or kinky is fingerspelled. Take a look at this table for how to sign about your underwear.

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Men’s briefs can be signed like panties; men’s boxers can be, too.

Signing about all kinds of garments

Regardless of the season, you can use these signs to describe what you're wearing (or what someone else is wearing).

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There are a variety of signs for gloves because there are different kinds of gloves. Either way, mimic putting on a pair of gloves. Mittens can be signed by making an outline of your thumb and four fingers with the index finger of your passive hand. Mittens are not as common as gloves, so if people don’t understand you, you can always rely on fingerspelling.

A two-piece swimsuit for women is signed like bra and panties; a one-piece swimsuit is signed one piece. Men’s swimming trunks are fingerspelled, or you can sign shorts. But if you’re talking Speedos, sign it like panties.

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