The meaning of clothes

دوره: انگلیسی شش دقیقه ای / درس 189

انگلیسی شش دقیقه ای

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The meaning of clothes

توضیح مختصر

Do you dress formally or casually? Do you choose trendy items or old comfortable ones? Rob and Will talk about the meaning of clothes.

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Note: This is not a word-for-word transcript

Rob Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I’m Rob…

Will … and I’m Will. Hello.

Rob Hi there, Will. I have to say, I like that shirt you’re wearing today. I haven’t seen that one before.

Will Yes, I got it at the weekend. But, to be honest, I don’t give my clothes much thought. I just throw on the first thing I see. What about you?

Rob Well, I try to look presentable. I wouldn’t want to appear too scruffy. Clothes say an awful lot about us, don’t they Will?

Will A lot depends on the job you do. In a bank, you’re supposed to look pretty smart all the time.

Rob But if you work for a design company, say, a suit would look out of place - that means unsuitable. People in the creative industries tend to dress down - that means dress casually - you know jeans and t-shirts.

Will Yes. Then there’s the whole question of what to wear to an interview. I reckon if you put on something smart you can’t go far wrong.

Rob Yes. But the meaning of clothes goes far deeper than what you should or shouldn’t wear in the workplace, Will. It can really influence what people think of us. Now, rightly or wrongly, they can make snap judgements - or quick decisions - about us.

Will Yes, you’re right. It’s a cultural issue. It’s about how we see ourselves, too.

Rob Now, take the sari. It’s been around for centuries and is still the main form of dress for millions of women in the Indian subcontinent.

Will That’s that very long garment with all those amazing colours and designs, isn’t it? It always looks so elegant.

Rob Yes, it does. So Will, can you answer this question: what is the maximum length of a sari? Is it …

a) 12 metres

b) 9 metres

or c) 7 metres

Will Surely it can’t be 12 metres long! I’m going to say 9 metres.

Rob Okay. Well, we’ll find out if you’re right or wrong later on. But now let’s listen to Dr Shahidha Bari talking about the sari. She uses a word that means “covered”. Can you hear what it is?

Dr Shahidha Bari, Queen Mary, University of London Saris encircle the waist, are often pleated and then swept across the upper body with folds and fabric draped over the shoulder or veiling the head. There are more than 80 different ways of wearing a sari and they’ve been worn in the Indian subcontinent since the first millennium. It’s a garment woven into the histories of the countries from which it comes.

Will So draped means “covered”. Then she used the word garment. That’s another word for a piece of clothing. And then she said there are 80 ways of wearing a sari, Rob. Amazing!

Rob It is, isn’t it? Some Asian women in the West wear saris just for ceremonial occasions - that means special events like weddings. I suppose, in a sense, it’s not that practical for day-to-day use. But it certainly makes a beautiful splash of colour - or a display of colour - when they do wear it.

Will What she said has got me thinking about English traditional dress. And, to be honest, Rob, I can’t recall anything off the top of my head.

Rob Off the top of your head, Will? That’s because you’re not wearing a hat.

Will Don’t be ridiculous, Rob. Off the top of my head. It’s an idiom and it means I can’t think of anything immediately.

Rob Yes, Will. I do know that actually. It was my attempt at a joke. But you’re right: the British dress sense has become a bit samey (it looks the same) - apart from the fashion industry, which is highly regarded throughout the world.

Will Well, you wouldn’t catch me wearing most of the men’s gear you see on the catwalk.

Rob But, seriously, Will, clothes are undoubtedly an important business. Let’s listen to Dr Shahidha Bari again as she reflects on her mother’s use of the sari.

Dr Shahidha Bari, Queen Mary, University of London And yet the sari makes me feel safe too because I associate it with her body and the world she made for me. And now, as I struggle to keep hold of the sari, the rituals and the memories around it, I fear losing the world it signifies - and her, too.

Will She talked about the way she struggles - that means she finds it difficult - to make the sari important in her life.

Rob And she uses the word signifies, which means giving the meaning of something. The sari obviously has an emotional attachment for her.

Will And when you think just how much money people spend on clothes, it shows how vital it is.

Rob And let’s not forget football shirts, Will. Fans want to be seen in their team’s latest shirt design, don’t they? I know I do.

Will By the way, what team do you support, Rob?

Rob Ah, well, it’s Chelsea, of course. Come on, you Blues. What about you, Will?

Will Tottenham Hotspur.

Rob Never mind, someone has to. Now, remember at the beginning of the show I asked you: what is the maximum length of a sari? Is it …

a) 12 metres

b) 9 metres

or c) 7 metres

Will Yes. And I said 9 metres.

Rob Well, you know your saris well because that is the right answer. Well done! Now, before we go, it’s time to remind ourselves of some of the vocabulary that we’ve heard today. Will.

Will scruffy

out of place

dress down

make snap judgements



ceremonial occasions

splash of colour

off the top of my head



Rob Thank you, Will. Well, that’s the end of today’s 6 Minute English. You can listen to more programmes on our website at Please join us again soon.

Both Bye.

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