by Christine M. Irvin
by Christine M. Irvin
If you’ve been around Amish country or seen pictures of the Amish people, you will notice that their clothing is different from that of others. There’s a reason for that. Actually, there are several reasons for that.
The Amish don’t dress for style. Their clothing is an expression of their faith. It also encourages humility and separation from the outside world as they don’t want to look like everybody else. And, the Amish dress for simplicity and function. Their clothing is made at home from fabrics that are plain and generally dark colored, mostly shades of purple, wine, brown, black, grey and blue.
The suit jackets and coats Amish men wear are straight-cut, without collars, pockets or lapels. The suits are usually black, but they can be in shades of grey, blue or brown. The men’s trousers are fashioned without cuffs or creases. They are worn with suspenders because belts are forbidden. Sweaters and neckties are also forbidden. Men’s shirts are generally fastened with buttons, but suit coats and vests are closed with hooks and eyes. Zippers are not used, so their pants have a flap in the front that is held closed by buttons.
Women’s dresses are usually made with long sleeves and a full skirt. Some Amish groups allow their women to wear short-sleeved dresses, but they are never permitted to go sleeveless. Their stockings and shoes are black. They are not permitted to wear clothing made with patterned fabric or to wear any jewelry. Their dresses are closed with straight pins or snaps.
Before marriage, young men are clean shaven. Married men must let their beards grow. Mustaches, however, are forbidden. Their hair is usually worn a bit long and is cut in a block cut. Women don’t cut their hair; it is worn either in a braid or bun on the back of the head and is covered by a cap. Amish women always wear their caps when outside their homes. The exact style and coloring of the cap varies according to the Amish order.
Amish men usually wear felt hats with broad brims during the winter and for dress all year long. Most orders allow their men to wear straw hats during the summer. The styles of the hats vary from group to group.
These are general guidelines for how the Amish dress. Each Amish order has its own Ordnung, or what is called the Book of Order, that specifies how the people in that particular order may dress.