Let’s be honest, our appearance is important. How we look and what we wear is always being scrutinised and assessed by others. It doesn’t just stop with people, it also continues with adverts on TV and print media, wouldn’t it be great if ads just didn’t focus on body image so much? How could children and adults be affected by this? Why do you think companies encourage us to be more concerned about our looks?

This intermediate warmer discussion exercise invites students to focus on these key questions and more.

Useful vocabulary

  1. thick blonde hair
  2. pointed face
  3. complexion
  4. bears a striking resemblance to – when someone looks very similar to another person.
  5. scruffy – untidy
  6. well-turned out – presentable, neat and tidy appearance.
  7. get done up – to dress up to go out to a nice restaurant.
  8. to never have a hair out of place – when someone is always looking at their best.
  9. well-built – muscular
  10. slim figure – attractively thin
  11. slender figure – tall and thin

Appearance conversation questions printable worksheet

thumbnail of Appearance esl efl tefl conversation questionsthumbnail of Images for class

Did you know?

  • In ancient Egypt men and women often used makeup. It was made from copper and lead which was ground up into a paste.
  • Nail polish was first used in ancient China over 5000 years ago. It was made from beeswax, gum, egg whites and coloured powder.
  • Revlon was the first company to bring nail polish, as we know it, to the western market.
  • When Coco Chanel was developing her perfume, the fifth sample she was given was her favourite. Since then her signature perfume was called Channel No. 5.
  • The first mascara was created in 1913.


“Don’t get caught up in the ‘look’ thing. Sometimes, we as men and women, the first thing that attracts us to someone is their physical appearance, and that’s not always a good thing because what’s good on the outside is not always good on the inside.”
– Keith Sweat

“Modelling is not something you excel because you are clever but is based on physical appearance, but then you have to be a businesswoman, like, to keep your longevity.”
– Gelila Bekele


• What is the first thing you notice about a person?
• Can clothes define a person?
• Is there a part of your appearance that you are very proud of?
• Have you ever gone through the entire day without noticing something was wrong with your appearance? For instance, food in your teeth, missing button.
• What kinds of things do you do to maintain your appearance?
• Do you often follow trends? Which were the best/worst?
• How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
• Can someone’s appearance upset you?
• Do people in your country talk a lot about other people’s appearance?
• Is it impolite to tell the person that they need to improve their appearance?
• How has the definition of appearance changed over the last 100 years?
• How can your culture, religion or personality influence appearance?
• What is the worst body trend that you know of?
• What are some examples of positive body image messages being portrayed in the media today?


Give a presentation on how people view body image in your country. Think about how it could affect people and recent news/events which have challenged this.



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