Here is how you can say many of the common items of clothing in Haitian Creole. If you need something not on the list please ask us anything. Listen to the audio pronunciation below and repeat for practice.
Koman ou ka di mò bagay ou ka pote sou wou :
How you can say the things you wear:
👟 Tenis – tennis shoes
👞 Soulye – shoes
👢bòt – boot
👡 Sandal – sandle
🧦chòsèt – socks
👠 Soulye talon (soulye kikit) high heal shoes
👕 Mayo – shirt
👚kòsaj – blouse
👔 Chemiz ak kòl – dress shirt and tie
👗Wòb – dress
🧤 Gran – gloves
🧣foula – scarve
💍 Bag – ring
💄fa – lipstick
🧢kepi – ball cap
👜bous – wallet
🎒valiz – purse or backpack
👓 linèt – eye gasses
🌂parapli – umbrella
Clothing has a special place in Haitian culture and when going outside your house you always dress to impress. That means spotless and preferably ironed clothes. For example, you would always wiped down your tennis shoes before going on even simple errands.
The image of a dirty poorly dressed Haitian is completely false. You will find many people who can’t afford to dress well, but this is not by choice. Most people in Haiti are very studious to wear the best they can afford.
School children all wear uniforms and they are usually hand sown. These are treated with great care and parents will even keep kids home for the day if they haven’t been able to iron their uniforms!
There is a large market for second hand clothing in Haiti. This is called “pepe” and can be bought along every road in the city. Only the best will do even if they are hand me downs. We even have several clothing sellers who stop by the house on weekly basis if to offer us their latest inventory. Otherwise, you will find lots of imported clothing from China or other Asian manufacturers. Here is a good article about fashion in Haiti.
It’s always surprising to locals when mission teams where the same clothes several times in a week (yuck). This leads to a common assumption that Americans are sloppy or don’t care about their appearance. Of course, most Haitians are too polite to say anything about negative about their guests. Just some food for thought the next time you visit.