I’d like to find out about when to use each one.

Je projette d’acheter de nouveaux habits.

Je projette d’acheter de nouveaux vêtements.

Je projette d’acheter de nouvelles tenues.

  • Je projette...
    – xenoid
    Jan 13, 2017 at 16:40

2 Answers 2


"Habits" and "vêtements" have the exact same meaning to me. I'd say that "vêtements" sounds maybe a bit more formal than "habits" but both are used fairly commonly.

"Tenue" on the other hand has a slightly different meaning : it is used to refer to an ensemble. A "tenue" is the sum of the "vêtements" that you are wearing (trousers and a shirt is a "tenue" or a skirt, tights and a blouse...). It is mostly used to refer to the set of clothes for a specific event.

"J'ai trouvé une tenue pour la soirée."

  • A squirt? Don't google that.
    – Destal
    Jan 13, 2017 at 16:51
  • 1
    Oh my god sorry for that, thanks for the edit !
    – Cartolin
    Jan 16, 2017 at 8:51

"Tenue" is a set of clothes with a specific purpose: tenue de soirée, tenue de combat, tenue de travail, tenue de ski/tennis...

"habits" is mostly used for the outer layer: jacket, trousers, skirt, sweater... while "vêtements" encompasses everything: shirt, underwear, socks.

  • To complete, "habits" will mean "business clothes, not casual" in Quebec and is unusual in France. Jan 13, 2017 at 18:39

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