3 Differences Between Amish and Mennonite Clothing

People often get confused when it comes to the Amish, especially when they’re so strikingly similar to Mennonites. But how true is that?

The Amish people are known best for their simplistic way of living and godly attitude – virtues that are all too uncommon in today’s modern society. When it comes to the Mennonites, the same can be said, however, some of the greatest differences (however obscure) can be found in their clothing. So let’s take a look at some important distinctions between the clothing worn by each people to give you all a better idea.

Head Coverings and Patterns

At first glance, the women on both sides of this heavenly fence seem to be nearly identical in every way – but this is not true. For example, the headwear worn by Amish women is a flat head covering (usually white) with strings attached. Whereas Mennonite women rarely wear strings with their head coverings. Mennonite women are most commonly seen wearing either a traditional head covering or a small veil.

The clothes that are worn by Amish women rarely stray from their “single color” theme, as I’m sure you’ve seen in photographs. The women of the Mennonite culture are permitted to wear some flower patterns, which makes sense because of the Mennonite men’s tastes in patterned shirts. Amish men traditionally wear single-colored shirts with suspenders, which is a little underwhelming.

Mainstream Mennonites in today’s modern time don’t always dress the part like their Amish counterparts, so it can be difficult to spot them in the general public. Interestingly enough, the older members of the Mennonite way of life aren’t permitted to wear beards, and they shave regularly. The young men are free to do as they please with their beards as long as it conforms to the guidelines previously set by generations before them.

Buttons and Zippers

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of a hook and eye fasteners, but that’s what Amish men use in place of buttons and zippers that would normally be on their clothing items. The women don’t actually use any kinds of buttons or zipper either. Instead, they use straight pins to close their dresses.

Could you image using only straight pins to keep your clothes on? I don’t know how well that would work for most of us, but I have a feeling that a lifetime of practice would help quite a bit.

No matter what time of year it is, Mennonite women must wear a dress that is at least three inches below the knee at all times. And that doesn’t sound very fun when the hot sun is beating down on you and your family. On that note, how do the Amish people go on without air conditioning? I feel like passing out from heat stroke would be a more common occurrence than anything else, or maybe they just drink a lot of lemonade.

Seasonal Clothes

When you think of Amish people, you imagine a man with a pair of cut-off pants held up by a pair of suspenders – it’s just natural. Another one of those signature styles the men practice in Amish culture is the classic straw hat. During the winter time, the men often wear a dark-colored hat, but as soon as the summer kicks in, they only wear the straw hats.

Another interesting tradition the Amish men have is when they break out their homemade winter coats to help them in the colder seasons. You’d think they would have more than one coat per person, but you’d only need one because of all those layers they wear under them.

Mennonite men and women are forbidden to wear shorts at any time, and the same can be said for the Amish. In the church, the men aren’t allowed to wear short sleeves at all, which sounds pretty miserable considering their churches are packed full of worshipers at every service.

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