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I've been introduced to 着る (for things you put on like a shirt) and 履く (for things you put on like pants) in class, but is there a general way to just say something like wear clothes? Or must the "method" of putting on be specified?

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Is this in the context of something like specifying what one should be bringing to some event? (i.e. Bring clothes...) –  summea Mar 9 '12 at 2:16
    
@summea No, this has nothing to do with an event or bringing anything. As it says in the question title, this is about wearing. –  atlantiza Mar 9 '12 at 2:18
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4 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Yes, there is a general word:

身に着ける

So, you can say:

帽子を身に着ける
服を身に着ける
ズボンを身に着ける

However, in daily conversation it is more common to say 着る or 履く. Also, 身につける can mean something different like 知識を身につける.

Or, after rereading your question, it looks like you don't want to specify what you are wearing. In that case, the other answer is correct.

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That was indeed my original question, but I liked the additional information from this answer. –  atlantiza Mar 9 '12 at 5:11
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To wear clothes is 服を着る.

服 is the general word for clothes.

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Or must the "method" of putting on be specified?

This might not be exactly what you're asking, but in Japanese, all the verbs for putting something on, like 着る, 履く or 身につける, are change-of-state verbal phrases, i.e. in their base form, they mean "put on", not "wear".

In order to express "wear" you have to express the resulting state, which is done by ~ている (でいる)

シャツを着る put on a shirt → シャツを着ている wear a shirt

etc.

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〜た form is also acceptable for "wearing". See japanese.stackexchange.com/q/3361/78 about this pattern. –  istrasci Mar 9 '12 at 15:31
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@istrasci Good point. Only works in relative clauses, though. –  dainichi Mar 10 '12 at 15:46
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A more formal and concise term would be 着用する

帽子を着用
服を着用
ズボンを着用
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