I just found out clothes is plural only. Yay

How do you say one clothing item without specifying the exact type or using some mouthful words ?
Or perhaps, more natual way is just say a dress, a shirt, etc. ?

  • 2
    A piece of clothes or a garment
    – Lucky
    Commented Jul 3, 2015 at 0:54
  • In the case of "one item of clothing", you can say that, but I think one would just say what it is, as you mentioned.
    – user3169
    Commented Jul 3, 2015 at 2:11

3 Answers 3


In modern English, clothing is used as a collective term. This wasn't always the case however:

a1425 (▸c1395) Bible (Wycliffite, L.V.) (Royal) (1850) Matt. ix. 16 No man puttith a clout of bostous clothe into an olde clothing

Today though we would usually use an alternative, singular term such as garment if we were speaking generally or else would refer to the specific type of clothing.

The notable exception is the 'item of' form:

  • I only have one item of clothing that I really feel comfortable in.
  • Which one item of clothing do you always take on holiday?

Clothes has no singular. The old word clout (see above) has become obsolete. One item of clothes is cumbersome, you say pants ot T-shirt, and don't use cumbersome paraphrases from clothes.


Well, you can use the word a piece of cloth.

  • Doesn't really work, since that refers only to raw cloth: clothes are not simply cloths. Commented Jul 3, 2015 at 17:14

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