'Look, I’m invited to a conference and a formal dinner afterwards and I’m wondering what to wear. You must help me, you know so much about fashion.’
'Don’t panic. The first thing you have to decide about is whether you are going to wear formal or informal clothes.’
'The answer is obvious. I can’t go there dressed informally. I imagine everyone will be in evening dress (= elegant clothes worn in the evening). I mean the dinner, of course.’
'So, put on your smartest suit (= most elegant suit) and that’s it.’
'Yes, but what about the conference itself?’
'I don’t think you need to dress up (= dress in formal clothes) for the lecture unless you are going to give a presentation yourself.’
'No, I’m not.
'So, you can be dressed in (= wear) something smart casual (= between very elegant and very informal). I’m sure you’ve got plenty of suitable shirts and trousers in your wardrobe.’
'I hope so. I wouldn’t like to spend money on new clothes.’
'Just make sure you take a few more items of clothing in case you need to get changed (= change into different clothes). You know, you may always spill some juice or get dirty.’
'That’s a good idea.’
'And remember to always have your jacket done up (= fastened) if you want to look smart!’
'I will! But, I’ve just thought of something – could you do me favour and help me select the clothes I should take. Say, you could come to my place at the weekend?’
'All, right.’


More contexts for the new words:

  • John is very smart for his age. (= clever)
  • Why don’t you undo your jacket? It’s rather hot here. (= unfasten)




Match the expression halves.


  1. put on your smartest             a) up
  2. have your jacket done           b) casual
  3. wear something smart          c) suit
  4. to be dressed                          d) dress
  5. to be in evening                     e) in something




Complete the questions and then answer them.

  1. When did you last need to ………………………. changed? Why?
  2. When did you last put on your smartest ……………………….? Why?
  3. Do you think it’s ok to be ………………………. informally in an office? Why/ why not?




Those of you who know the rule concerning the use of superlative adjectives may be surprised to see a sentence like:

'(…) put on your smartest suit and that’s it.’

According to the rules, an adjective in its superlative form must be preceded by ’THE’, indicating that it is unique and the only one in a given group.
And here, you’ve got a superlative adjective ’SMARTEST’ and no ’THE’ beforehand. Some students would quite willingly say 'put on your the smartest suit’, yet this would be a mistake. Why?
The answer is as simple as follows: when you use a possessive pronoun (e.g. your, my, her), you cannot use 'the’; they exclude each other.

So, say:

You are the most clever person I know.
This is the largest room in our house.


You are my most clever student.
This is our largest room.




A/ Have you seen the Browns recently?

B/ Yes, last Sunday, heading for church in their SUNDAY BEST.

Your Sunday best are your best clothes that you wear for special occasions.





  1. If you PUT ON clothes, you start wearing them.

Cathy put on her coat and went out.
Jim had forgotten to put his watch on.

  1. If you TAKE something OFF, you remove your clothes, etc.

I’d better take my shoes off.
Take off your coat, please.




All the sentences below contain mistakes. Correct them, using the idioms and phrasal verbs from above.


  1. He got up, wore on his clothes, and went to work.
  2. The whole family were dressed in their Saturday best.
  3. Don’t forget to off take your hat when you enter a church.





An unusual contest took place last Sunday in the worldwide capital of fashion, Paris. The objective of the competition was to put on as many items of clothing as humanly possible. To make the task even more daunting, the participants were required to bring the clothes on their own, as they were not provided by the organizers. Not surprisingly, then, the contestants were seen hauling virtually truckloads of garments from their wardrobes, and many even borrowed clothes from their families, friends and even distant acquaintances. However, they were bitterly disappointed when the competition started, since they only had half an hour to get dressed, and putting on two hundred blouses and fifty pairs of jeans is no easy task. The winner, Jessica Langley from Boston, succeeded in wearing simultaneously seventeen t-shirts, five sweaters, three jackets, five pairs of jeans, seven pairs of socks, two pairs of shoes and six hats. How did she accomplish this feat? She says she’s had lots of practice as a child, dressing up dolls!



daunting – challenging

to haul – to pull

truckloads – lots of

garments – clothes

simultaneously – at the same time

feat – extraordinary achievement


download lesson (pdf)





  1. c
  2. a
  3. b
  4. e
  5. d


  1. get
  2. suit/ clothes
  3. dressed


  1. He got up, put on his clothes, and went to work.
  2. The whole family were dressed in their Sunday best.
  3. Don’t forget to take off your hat when you enter a church.