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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of clothes, culture, and character from the real IELTS exam.

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IELTS Essay: Clothes, Culture, & Character

Some people say that it is possible to tell a lot about a person’s culture and character from their choice of clothes.

Do you agree or disagree?

Many believe that fashion choices communicate information about an individual’s personality and culture. I am largely in agreement though I would concede globalization has partly obscured these distinctions.

Those who argue that a person’s culture and character cannot be determined from their clothing point to the impact of globalization. There are now international companies like Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, and Louis Vuitton that manufacture and ship identical clothes all around the world for consumers. These consumers are influenced by the same media and admire the same public figures. This modern convergence of production and culture means that disparate nations are more similar than at any point in human history. It is not unusual to see an individual living in South America, for instance, wearing the same shoes and clothing as someone in Asia or Europe.

Nonetheless, fashion preferences still reveal what a person values and what they wish to project to the outside world. A person who wears a suit and tie appears professional and this likely matches their personality. If they dress very formally when at work it might also indicate the office culture in their country. For example, it is common in East Asian countries for workers to dress very formally for work while in Southeast Asia the clothing is more casual due to the tropical climate. There are also individual differences that are, on average, greater than the disparity between cultures. A person who is into sports is more likely to wear sporty clothes regardless of where they live. Social media and globalization can even contribute to this trend as a consumer can follow their favorite artist and emulate both their personality and fashion choices.

In conclusion, though globalization theoretically makes it more difficult to distinguish a person’s culture and character from their clothes, in fact, these choices continue to be revealing. This self-expression is one of the benefits of modern fashion.

Analysis

1. Many believe that fashion choices communicate information about an individual’s personality and culture. 2. I am largely in agreement though I would concede globalization has partly obscured these distinctions.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. Write a clear opinion. Read more about introductions here.

1. Those who argue that a person’s culture and character cannot be determined from their clothing point to the impact of globalization. 2. There are now international companies like Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, and Louis Vuitton that manufacture and ship identical clothes all around the world for consumers. 3. These consumers are influenced by the same media and admire the same public figures. 4. This modern convergence of production and culture means that disparate nations are more similar than at any point in human history. 5. It is not unusual to see an individual living in South America, for instance, wearing the same shoes and clothing as someone in Asia or Europe.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Develop it with specific or hypothetical examples.
  4. Keep developing it fully.
  5. You can have a second main idea.

1. Nonetheless, fashion preferences still reveal what a person values and what they wish to project to the outside world. 2. A person who wears a suit and tie appears professional and this likely matches their personality. 3. If they dress very formally when at work it might also indicate the office culture in their country. 4. For example, it is common in East Asian countries for workers to dress very formally for work while in Southeast Asia the clothing is more casual due to the tropical climate. 5. There are also individual differences that are, on average, greater than the disparity between cultures. 6. A person who is into sports is more likely to wear sporty clothes regardless of where they live. 7. Social media and globalization can even contribute to this trend as a consumer can follow their favorite artist and emulate both their personality and fashion choices.

  1. Write a new topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your new main idea.
  3. Include specific details and examples.
  4. Add as much information as you can and make sure it links logically.
  5. Develop the example fully.
  6. For this one I have a second related idea to develop.
  7. And another example to extend fully.

1. In conclusion, though globalization theoretically makes it more difficult to distinguish a person’s culture and character from their clothes, in fact, these choices continue to be revealing. 2. This self-expression is one of the benefits of modern fashion.

  1. Summarise your main ideas.
  2. Include a final thought. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean? Make some notes on paper to aid memory and then check below.

Many believe that fashion choices communicate information about an individual’s personality and culture. I am largely in agreement though I would concede globalization has partly obscured these distinctions.

Those who argue that a person’s culture and character cannot be determined from their clothing point to the impact of globalization. There are now international companies like Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, and Louis Vuitton that manufacture and ship identical clothes all around the world for consumers. These consumers are influenced by the same media and admire the same public figures. This modern convergence of production and culture means that disparate nations are more similar than at any point in human history. It is not unusual to see an individual living in South America, for instance, wearing the same shoes and clothing as someone in Asia or Europe.

Nonetheless, fashion preferences still reveal what a person values and what they wish to project to the outside world. A person who wears a suit and tie appears professional and this likely matches their personality. If they dress very formally when at work it might also indicate the office culture in their country. For example, it is common in East Asian countries for workers to dress very formally for work while in Southeast Asia the clothing is more casual due to the tropical climate. There are also individual differences that are, on average, greater than the disparity between cultures. A person who is into sports is more likely to wear sporty clothes regardless of where they live. Social media and globalization can even contribute to this trend as a consumer can follow their favorite artist and emulate both their personality and fashion choices.

In conclusion, though globalization theoretically makes it more difficult to distinguish a person’s culture and character from their clothes, in fact, these choices continue to be revealing. This self-expression is one of the benefits of modern fashion.

Answers

For extra practice, write an antonym (opposite word) on a piece of paper to help you remember the new vocabulary:

fashion choices decisions about clothes

communicate information reveal yourself

personality temperament, character

culture society, art, your country as a whole

largely in agreement mostly on the same page

concede globalization give up the idea of spreading ideas

partly obscured somewhat hidden

distinctions differences

argue point out

character personality

determined decided by

point to argue

international companies multinationals

manufacture made

identical the same

all around the world everywhere

consumers buyers

influenced impacted by

media entertainment

admire look up to

public figures famous people

modern convergence coming together these days

production making of

disparate nations different countries

at any point in human history at any time before

unusual not normal

for instance for example

preferences tastes

reveal show

values what you consider important

project to the outside world show to everyone else

suit and tie fancy work clothes

appears seems

professional formal

matches fits

formally professionally

indicate mean

office culture workplace

casual not formal

tropical climate hot weather

on average generally

greater than more than

disparity between cultures differences between countries

sporty clothes athletic wear

regardless of nonetheless

social media Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.

contribute add to

trend pattern

emulate copt

theoretically in theory, not in reality

distinguish differentiate

continue to be keep on

self-expression being yourself

Pronunciation

Practice saying the vocabulary below and use this tip about Google voice search:

ˈfæʃən ˈʧɔɪsɪz 
kəˈmjuːnɪkeɪt ˌɪnfəˈmeɪʃən 
ˌpɜːsəˈnælɪti 
ˈkʌlʧə
ˈlɑːʤli ɪn əˈgriːmənt
kənˈsiːd ˌgləʊb(ə)laɪˈzeɪʃ(ə)n 
ˈpɑːtli əbˈskjʊəd 
dɪsˈtɪŋkʃənz 
ˈɑːgjuː 
ˈkærɪktə 
dɪˈtɜːmɪnd 
pɔɪnt tuː 
ˌɪntə(ː)ˈnæʃənl ˈkʌmpəniz 
ˌmænjʊˈfækʧə 
aɪˈdɛntɪkəl 
ɔːl əˈraʊnd ðə wɜːld 
kənˈsjuːməz 
ˈɪnflʊənst 
ˈmiːdiə 
ədˈmaɪə 
ˈpʌblɪk ˈfɪgəz 
ˈmɒdən kənˈvɜːʤəns 
prəˈdʌkʃən 
ˈdɪspərɪt ˈneɪʃənz 
æt ˈɛni pɔɪnt ɪn ˈhjuːmən ˈhɪstəri
ʌnˈjuːʒʊəl 
fɔːr ˈɪnstəns
ˈprɛfərənsɪz 
rɪˈviːl 
ˈvæljuːz 
ˈprɒʤɛkt tuː ði ˌaʊtˈsaɪd wɜːld
sjuːt ænd taɪ 
əˈpɪəz 
prəˈfɛʃənl 
ˈmæʧɪz 
ˈfɔːməli 
ˈɪndɪkeɪt 
ˈɒfɪs ˈkʌlʧə 
ˈkæʒjʊəl djuː tuː 
ˈtrɒpɪkəl ˈklaɪmɪt
ɒn ˈævərɪʤ
ˈgreɪtə ðæn 
dɪsˈpærɪti bɪˈtwiːn ˈkʌlʧəz
ˈspɔːti kləʊðz 
rɪˈgɑːdlɪs ɒv 
ˈsəʊʃəl ˈmiːdiə 
kənˈtrɪbju(ː)t 
trɛnd 
ˈɛmjʊleɪt 
θɪəˈrɛtɪkəli 
dɪsˈtɪŋgwɪʃ 
kənˈtɪnju(ː) tuː biː 
sɛlf-ɪksˈprɛʃən 

Vocabulary Practice

I recommend getting a pencil and piece of paper because that aids memory. Then write down the missing vocabulary from my sample answer in your notebook:

Many believe that f_______________s c____________________________n about an individual’s p_____________y and c_____________e. I am l______________________t though I would c___________e g_________________n has p_________________d these d___________________s.

Those who a_______e that a person’s culture and c__________r cannot be d__________d from their clothing p____________o the impact of globalization. There are now i_________________s like Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, and Louis Vuitton that m_____________e and ship i_____________l clothes a___________________d for consumers. These c__________s are i______________d by the same m_______a and a_______e the same p_______________s. This m_____________________e of p______________n and culture means that d_____________________s are more similar than a_____________________________y. It is not u__________l to see an individual living in South America, f____________e, wearing the same shoes and clothing as someone in Asia or Europe.

Nonetheless, fashion p___________s still r___________l what a person v_______s and what they wish to p__________________________d. A person who wears a s____________e a_________s p______________l and this likely m________s their personality. If they dress very f____________y when at work it might also i___________e the o________________e in their country. For example, it is common in East Asian countries for workers to dress very formally for work while in Southeast Asia the clothing is more c_________l due to the t__________________e. There are also individual differences that are, o___________________e, g___________n the d_________________________s. A person who is into sports is more likely to wear s_____________s r_____________f where they live. S_______________a and globalization can even c_____________e to this t______d as a consumer can follow their favorite artist and e_________e both their personality and fashion choices.

In conclusion, though globalization t_____________________y makes it more difficult to d_________________h a person’s culture and character from their clothes, in fact, these choices c_________________e revealing. This s________________n is one of the benefits of modern fashion.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic by watching videos from The New York Times YouTube channel below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

Read more about this topic and use these ideas to practice:

https://magazine.psykhefashion.com/features/fashion-psychology/personality-traits

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following speaking questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Shoes

  1. Do you prefer to wear shoes that are comfortable or fashionable?
  2. Do you buy many shoes?
  3. How many pairs of shoes do you have?
  4. What is your favourite pair of shoes?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topic below:

The number of people who are interested in and wearing fashionable clothes is increasing.

Is this a positive or negative development?


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