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Shopping for anything can be difficult in a foreign language. This is especially true when visiting giant clothing markets in China. Everyone is competing for your attention (and your RMB), you have to bargain hard, and you’d better do so in Chinese! Once you get your language skills up to a decent enough level, shopping for clothes can actually be fun. I typically hate going clothes shopping, but actually enjoy it in the big, bustling Chinese markets. Hopefully you will too after reading this guide to buying clothes in Chinese.
First things first – you’ll need to build up your Chinese vocabulary related to clothing. Here are 20 Chinese words you’ll want to know before you go shopping.
Feel free to print that list out and use it however you like. Stick it to your dresser so you’re always looking at the Chinese words when you grab your outfit for the day! This short YouTube video has quite a few of these words, so you can try to follow along and practice your pronunciation.
After building up your vocabulary a bit, it’s time to learn some useful phrases and grammar related to buying clothes.
We’ve put together a two-part guide on how to shop for clothing. In Part One, you learn some useful measure words, how to express what you’re looking for, sizes, and more. Part Two is all about asking the price, bargaining, and paying. Follow these two posts and practice with a friend. You’ll be buying your clothes in Chinese in no time!
Want to see what a Chinese clothing market looks like? I went through the trouble of going undercover in one to show you what it looks like. Explore a giant, maze-like market and learn some more useful Chinese in the process!