着る( =kiru) , How to say wear or put on in Japanese



=Watashi nani wo kite mo niau desho?

=Don’t I look good no matter what I wear?

Today we will learn how to say “wear” and “put on” in Japanese.

In English, “wear” and “put on” take many objects.

Ex. wear clothes, perfume, make up, pants, shoes, glasses… or put on a sweater, skirt,  jacket, etc.

But in Japanese, we have to use different verbs depending on the items.
Are you ready?

First the most common verb to wear/to put on in Japanese is 着る(=kiru)

~を着る=to wear, to put on something

Clothes is =fuku so “to wear clothes” is

:rrrr: 服を着る=fuku wo kiru

:i: *You need the particle =o= to take an object.

The action of putting on the clothes is 服を着る ( = fuku wo kiru ) (the past tense is 服を着た(=fuku wo kita). This can also be used as an adjective clause, 服を着た犬 (=fuku wo  kita inu) =a dog who is wearing clothes. )
And if you describe the condition, it will be 服を着ている = fuku wo kite iru (the past tense is 服を着ていた (= fuku wo kite ita)

Ex. 早く服を着なさい!

= Hayaku fuku wo kinasai!

= Hurry up and put on your clothes!

Ex. 彼女は赤い服を着ていた。
= Kanojo wa akai fuku wo kite ita.
= She was wearing red clothes.

Ex. 昨日、何を着ていたか思い出せない。

= Kinou nani wo kite ita ka omoidasenai.

= I don’t remember what I was wearing  yesterday.

Now let’s learn how the verb changes depending on the items.

ドレス着る = doresu wo kiru = to wear or put on a dress

シャツ着る = shatsu wo kiru = to wear or put on a shirt

パジャマ着る = pajama wo kiru = to wear or put on a pajamas


:l: The basic pattern → (item) (=wo) +verb

( :i: Don’t forget the particle (=wo) before the verb. )

Items that you wear on top of something,

コート = kouto=a coat →+(=wo)+ 着る (= kiru)  or はおる  ( = haoru) = to put on or slip on

上着 = uwagi = jacket →+(=wo)+ 着る (= kiru) or はおる   ( = haoru) = to put on or slip on

ジャケット=jaketto = jacket , →+(=wo)+着る (= kiru)  or  はおる = haoru = to put on or slip on

カーディガン = caadigan = cardigan →+(=wo)+ 着る (= kiru)   or はおる   ( = haoru) = to put on or slip on

For the items you wear on your head,

:rrrr: かぶる= 被る= kaburu

帽子 = boushi = hat 被る =+(=wo)+ かぶる ( = kaburu)

(= katsura), ウィッグ  (= wiggu) , ズラ (=  zura) (slang) = wig

+(=wo)+ 被る = かぶる ( =  kaburu ) or つけ ( = tsukeru)  or  する (=  suru)

For the items you wear on your head but don’t use かぶる = kaburu for,

ヘアーアクセサリー ( = heaa akusesarii )= hair accessaries→+(=wo)+つける  ( = tsukeru)  ,する (=  suru)

イヤホーン ( = iyahon) =earphone→+(=wo)+つける ( = tsukeru)  ,する (=  suru)

On your face,

お面 = omen = mask →+(=wo)+つける = tsukeru、被る = tsukeru/kaburu

マスク * = masuku = mask→+ を  (=wo) +被る ( =  kaburu ) , つける ( = tsukeru)  する (=  suru)

* When you are talking about surgical mask  you don’t use  被る( =  kaburu )

Make up,

化粧 = keshou = make up →+ (=wo)+する (= suru)

口紅 = kuchibeni = lipstick →+ ( =wo)+する =suru / つける (= tsukeru) / 引く(= hiku)  /  塗る =nuru

ファンデーション = fandeeshon = foundation →+ を  (=wo)+つける( = tsukeru) 、する (=  suru)

アイライン = airain = eye line →+ (=wo)+ 入れる ( = ireru)

マスカラ = masukara = mascara = →+ (=wo) + つける = tsukeru、塗る (= nuru)、する(=  suru)

Lower body :

We use はく = haku  for the items you wear on your lower body.
It has two kanji.  履く& 穿く
If the items are for your feet, use and if they are for your lower body — from your waist down — but above your foot, use 穿.
Since 穿く is not 常用漢字 = jouyoukanjuji=designated commonly used kanji, you can write in hiranaga.

(Note : 履物 = hakimono = footwear

ズボン = zubon=a pair of pants →+(=wo)+はく= 穿く(= haku)

スカート = skirt →+ (=wo) + はく= 穿く (= haku), Sometimes people use 着る( = kiru) as well.

= kutsu = shoes →+ (=wo) + はく履く (= haku)

靴下 = kutsushita = socks → + (=wo) +履く (= haku)

ストッキング = pantyhose →+ (=wo) +はく = 穿く (= haku)

Hands and fingers,

指輪 = yubiwa = ring →+ (=wo)+はめる (=hameru)   or つける(= tsukeru)  する ( = suru)

手袋 = tebukuro = gloves →+ (=wo)+はめる  (=hameru)  or する ( = suru)

(Note : As you might have noticed, we use する (= ~ wo suru) for many items. But they are very conversational.

If you have to take an exam, I would say stick to the first verb I listed.)


下着 = shitagi = underwear if it is the bottom underwear (=wo) + はく (=haku) or つける( = tsukeru)

If it is ブラ (= bura) bra,

→+ (=wo)+つける(= tsukeru)  (or する=suru)


香水 = kousui = perfume →+ (=wo) + つける (= tsukeru)

Eyeglasses and sunglasses,

めがね  (= megane )= eye glasses →+(=wo)+かける = kakeru

サングラス  (= sangurasu )= sunglasses →+(=wo)+かける = kakeru

Neck area,

マフラー (=  mafuraa )= a muffler →+(=wo)+する = suru巻く (= maku )= to wrap, put something around

スカーフ (= sukaafu ) = a scarf →+(=wo)+する = suru、巻く (= maku )= to wrap, put something around

ネックレス (= nekkureru)=  necklace →+(=wo)+つける (= tsukeru)  = put on or する (= suru) = wear


ネクタイ (=  nekutai )= necktie →+( = wo)+締める (=shimeru) / する ( = suru)

:qq: When you describe the condition,

  ( =  ~ wo kiru) → 着ている ( =  ~ wo kite iru)

かぶる  (=  ~ wo kaburu ) →かぶっている ( =  ~ wo kabutte iru)

つける ( =  ~ wo tsukeru ) →つけている ( =  ~ wo tsukete iru)

する =  (~ wo suru )→している  (= ~ wo shiteiru)

履く/穿く =  (~ wo haku )→履/穿いている ( =  ~ wo haite iru)

巻く (= ~ wo maku →巻いている (=  ~ wo maite iru)

塗る  ( = ~ wo nuru →塗っている ( =  ~ wo nutte iru)

入れる ( = ~ wo ireru ) →入れている ( =  ~ wo irete iru)

Ex. マギーは今日、何を着ていますか?

=  Maggie wa kyou nani wo kite imasuka?

= What is Maggie wearing today?

Ex. 彼女のかぶっている帽子が欲しい!

=Kanojo no kabutte iru boushi ga hoshii!

=I want the hat that she is wearing!

Ex.いい指輪をはめて(or して)いますね。

=Ii yubiwa wo hamete (or shite) imasune.

=That’s a nice ring (you’re have on)!

Do you wanna learn more?

= kiru, chaku, ki, gi = to wear, to arrive, to stick

着物 (= kimono)  = Kimono

重ね着 ( = kasanegi) = layered clothing

verb = 重ね着(を)する( = kasanegi  (wo) suru)

厚着  ( = atsugi) = heavy clothing

verb = 厚着(を)する( = atsugi (wo) suru)

薄着 ( = usug)  light clothing

verb = 薄着(を)する (=usugi (wo) suru)

オシャレ(お洒落)着 = osharegi  = fancy (fine) clothes

maggie-senseiマギー先生より= Maggie sensei yori = From Maggie Sensei

Be careful if you say パンツをかぶる (=  pantsu wo kaburu)  it means to wear underwear “on your

head” and people would think you are 変態 (= hentai )  pervert! !

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  1. Maggie先生!

    How would I ask someone if I am wearing something correctly?

    Example: I am wearing a yukata for the first time. How would I ask someone if I am wearing the yukata correctly?

    1. @Ralph

      Hello Ralph,
      You can use the word
      着方=きかた=kikata =the way you wear
      Ex. 浴衣の着方はこれで合っていますか?
      = ゆかたのきかたはこれであっていますか?
      = Yukata no kikata wa kore de atte imasu ka?

    1. @Danial

      Hi Danial,
      Sure. I can help you. What kind of expressions would you like to know?

      Ex. このブラウスにはどんなスカートが合いますか?
      = Kono burausu niwa donna sukaato ga aimasu ka?
      = What kind of skirt will go well with this blouse.

  2. hi can you please give me a sample in presenting new clothing line in nihonggo? we are having a japanese presentation in class and our group is tasked to present new era of kimonos. It includes the history of kimonos and how we came up with such an idea of revising the kimonos into a fashionable way. Our sensei wants everything in japanese and i am having a trouble in this project. pls reply. i would really appreciate it.

    1. @jadine

      Hi jadine
      It is hard to help you because I don’t know how you want to present new type of kimono.
      something like that?

      My suggestion : Use Japanese google and go check modern kimono sites and see how they introduce kimono.
      Good luck!

    2. How can you say, “I want to wear a yukata,” in the context of talking about yukatas. I’m writing to my Japanese friend in Tokyo, and I want to reply back. Thank you, Kaylie.

      1. @Kayle
        You say 浴衣を着たいです。
        If you meant to tell your friend, “I would love to try wearing yukata” you say 浴衣を着てみたいです。= Yukata wo kite mitai desu. (Between friends 浴衣を着てみたいな。= Yukata wo kite mitai na)

  3. Hi! ^_^
    Thanks for the lesson!)
    But there is one thing that’s not clear to me… For example, I need the say: “In winter, I usually wear a coat and boots.”
    What word should I use when I wear different things at the same time?
    Would it be correct to say 冬に私はよくコートやブーツをきます? Or I need something else here instead of きます?

    1. @Sierra

      Hi Sierra,

      Ahh good question. You have to use the difference verbs.

      This may sound crazy but if you wear a coat, gloves, a cap and a pair of boots, you say
      Ex. 外は寒いからコートを着て、手袋をつけ、帽子をかぶり、ブーツを履いてでかけた。

      1. @Maggie

        This question has been bothered me for the past few days already.
        Japanese is such a crazy language:D But in the good way!


        1. @Sierra

          どういたしまして!I know sometimes it is a pain to learn all the different verbs and stuff but I am glad to hear you like learning Japanese.

          1. Wow! This helps alot! But can you help, I want to know how to say I bought a new shirt yesterday? Thank you so much!

          2. @eri

            Hello eri
            I bought a new shirt yesterday
            more casual

  4. Hi I’m trying to figure out how to say ” I wore shorts” the context being “it was very warm so I wore shorts” I have all of it up until the wore shorts bit. Also I’m taught by a Japanese man who grew up in japan and is fluent and according to him to wear on the lower body or footwear is はいています, so if you could sete straight that would be a great help.
    Thanks Evan

    1. @Evan

      Hi Evan,
      You say 履く(=haku) for shorts.
      “it was very warm so I wore shorts”
      暖かかったからショーツ(we also say 短パン(=tanpan))を履いた。
      = Atatakakatta kara shootsu (or tanpan) wo haita.

  5. ありがとうございます!マギー先生はすごいですね!:D
    This has helped me a lot with my homework.

  6. This is a very nice lesson, however, may I suggest that you perhaps either make a small change to, or, add a note in order to make it easier for your readers regarding お面/マスク?

    Unless I’m terribly mistaken, お面 descibes just about any kind of mask that you can put on your face (e.g. a Pikachu-mask, etc.). マスク, on the other hand, seems to only be used for surgical masks.

    Anyway, thank you very much for your very useful site. :-)

    1. @Kris.k52

      Thank you for your comment.
      Though マスク is not only be used for surgical masks (Ex プロレスラーマスク、キャッチャーマスク, 仮面, etc), it might be confusing so I added a little note.
      ありがとう!! !happyface!

  7. Hi!!
    I’m just starting out learning and was wondering if I want to say “I want to wear sandals” would it be サンダルを履くしたい? Is that way ok?

  8. I was looking through your website last night and stumbled across this lesson^^ I always thought that this part of japanese with wearing clothes was SOOO complicated, but now that I read your lesson nanka simple-ppoi ne…. u are such a great sensei Maggie!!! you could make anything seem plain and clear ^_^ arigatou :)
    oh and so would it be tsukematsuge o tsukeru/suru then?

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