There’s no doubt that Amish and Mennonites have very different values that most of the modern United States. While we live our lives with the continuously updated world of technology and things changing faster than we can understand them, Amish and Mennonites live more simplistically, and that translates to their fashion, as well. While the rest of America is always changing up their style based on the latest trends, Amish and Mennonites dress very…plainly.
It’s one of their defining characteristics and the image most people have in their minds when thinking about them. But why is it that they dress that way? How does the way they dress have anything to do with their religion, and what is their justification for their style?
Here’s why Amish and Mennonites dress the way they do, in case you’ve been curious about it, but never took the time to find out.
Plain Clothing Reflects the Amish/Mennonite Way of Living
First of all, the clothing these people wear is a direct reflection of their values, including modesty, practicality, and commitment to their religion. Amish and Mennonites live their entire lives in a more practical and simplistic way of life that may seem outdated to us, but it makes sense to them. Why should their clothing not be the same?
It is Modest
Amish and Mennonites believe that too revealing clothing is un-Christian. So, they choose to wear simple clothes that reveal little. They feel that exposing the body can promote sinful thoughts and behaviors and that Christians should stay covered up as a way of honoring the bodies that God gave them. Modesty is important to Amish and Mennonites, which is why you see the women in long, covered dresses, and the men in long pants and long-sleeved shirts, often rolled up.
It is Practical
Dressing in plain clothing allows for simplicity and practicality within life. It reduces the choices you make on a daily basis by not fretting about what you’re going to wear. Plain clothing is not worldly, and it’s also simpler to make and maintain, which is essential to their lifestyle. Amish and Mennonites appreciate simplicity, and their clothing is just another way to incorporate that into their lives.
It is Biblical
You will often see Amish and Mennonites quoting biblical verses for their reason to wear plain clothing. Amish pull quotes from verses in the Gospels, Thessalonians, Corinthians, Romans, and Timothy. Although all Amish and Mennonites accept the idea of plain clothing based in scripture, their individual manifestations of it can differ. Some women will wear cover their heads, and some men do not trim their beards. However, some men will trim their beards a little and maintain short, cropped beards.
When you live in a countercultural community, your unity is everything. Wearing plain clothing discourages any status-seeking by acquiring and wearing fine clothing. Plain clothing diminishes competition and emphasizes the importance of community over the individual. Jealousy and envy are reduced, but not entirely eliminated, as it is human nature to feel these emotions.