Many confuse Amish people and Mennonites and can’t quite tell the difference. They are similar in a myriad of ways since they both came from the Anabaptist movement in the 16th century. While the faith, customs, and beliefs may be the same, do the Amish and Mennonites dress differently?
Generally, yes. The Amish and Mennonites have different modes of dressing, with the Amish taking a more conservative, traditional route. While both still uphold principles of modesty, Mennonites are more modern and can incorporate today’s fashion into their attire.
This article will help you learn more about Amish and Mennonite dress codes. You will find the similarities between them, how the Amish dress, how the Mennonites dress, and the attire worn by Amish and Mennonite men. It’s an exciting read, and you will learn a thing or two.
What Are the Similarities Between Amish And Mennonite Clothing?
Despite having different dressing modes, the Amish and Mennonites can find some common ground. Let’s look at some of their similarities:
Both Amish and Mennonite cultures believe in modesty. For instance, both think it is inappropriate for men and women to go public swimming as it is indecent exposure. Both sects rely on Scripture, such as 1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Timothy 2:2 “for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”, Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” and 1 Timothy 2:9 “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes” to support covering up.
Head Coverings/Prayer Caps
The women in both Amish and Mennonite religions wear prayer caps. A prayer cap is a covering worn on the head. They believe there is a Biblical command for women to cover their heads during prayer, and women should always be ready to pray, so they should always have the cap on.
The Amish and the Mennonites do not condone wearing jewelry and accessories outside their accepted dress codes. Even wedded couples should not wear wedding bands according to Amish and Mennonite culture. They are regarded as too “worldly .”1 Timothy 2:9 supports this. It reads, “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes.”
How Do the Amish Dress Like?
Amish dressing, in general, embodies simplicity and conservativeness. The Amish believe clothing should show obedience to God instead of demonstrating vanity and pride. They stick to the traditional dressing enforced by their founder, Jacob Ammann. Amish people developed their strict dress code from scriptures such as 1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” And 1 Timothy 2:2 “For kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
Let’s look at some of their dress code rules.
Amish people generally wear solid colors and avoid patterns on their clothing. Black, white and dark colors are most common. There are specific colors worn by women depending on whether they are single. Married women wear black to church, while single ones wear white or a solid color. When out of the church, the women wear plain-colored dresses and aprons, typically with long sleeves and a cape. During chores, they wear grey aprons.
Buttons and zips are not allowed, so women fasten their clothes with pins, hooks-and-eyes, and clasps while men use suspenders.
Amish women maintain absolute modesty when dressing, with the majority covering themselves. Amish girls, once they turn 13, wear heart-shaped prayer caps. The prayer caps were adapted from the Palatinate (Rhine Valley) ones worn back in the 1700s.
The women stick to dresses only, and traditionally, there are four dresses – one for dress, one for wear, one for spare, and one for wash. Aprons and capes are also a crucial part of Amish fashion. They are used to conceal the shape and figure of the women.
Makeup is unacceptable in Amish culture and tradition.
Another interesting aspect of Amish wear is the fact that they sew their clothes. Traditionally, Amish people do not wear store-bought clothes.
With that being said, some Amish fashion has evolved over the years. For example, the Amish Church in Iowa allows boys to wear wool caps in the winter instead of traditional black hats.
How Do the Mennonites Dress Like?
When it comes to dressing, Mennonites are more contemporary than Amish people. While Amish people are traditional in their fashion, Mennonites can easily blend in today’s society. However, they still believe in modesty and regard the body as sacred.
While Amish women prefer darker solid tones, Mennonite women can experiment with color. Mennonite women can also wear printed clothes. The prints need not be bold, though.
Mennonites may have buttons and zips on their clothing as long as they are functional rather than decorative.
They also wear prayer caps. While the Amish girls wear heart-shaped prayer caps, the Mennonites go for round, black prayer caps.
In more modern churches, women can wear as they wish so long as it is not distracting or indecent. They have the option of skirts and blouses. This contrasts with Amish women’s traditional dress, cape, and apron. Aprons are not mandatory for them. Although Mennonite women and girls have a fair amount of freedom in dressing, excessively flashy, short, or tight clothing is still prohibited.
Mennonite women can also wear makeup in some churches so long as it is muted.
The older, traditional and conservative Mennonites typically adhere to the strict dress code of the Amish to maintain humility, modesty and separate themselves from modern society. They wear capes, aprons, dresses, and head coverings.
Do the Amish And Mennonite Dressing Codes Also Apply to Men?
Some dress codes do apply to Amish and Mennonite men. They must also avoid worldly fashions and clothing. For instance, Amish men cannot wear decorative clothes with patterns. They cannot have buttons on their clothes, so they only use suspenders. As for shoes, they have to wear practical and minimalistic ones. Accessories such as wristwatches are not allowed. Beard trimming is also condemned in the Amish faith, and they generally do not keep mustaches. Amish men also wear broad-brimmed hats. For clothes, an Amish man wears predominantly black and white with a bowtie when going to church. They also only wear long-sleeved shirts. Any clothing with collars, pockets, and lapels is avoided.
As for Mennonite men, they may or may not have a beard, straw hat, or suspenders. For them, the dress code is not as strict as it is for the Amish. For example, they can wear patterned shirts, such as plaid shirts, and short-sleeved ones. All their clothes need to be loose-fitting, though. They also do not keep their beards long and can get beard cuts.
All in all, the dress code of Mennonite men is very similar to that of the Amish, just that it might not be as strictly adhered to. They prefer dark and white clothing with suspenders and coats without lapels. If they wear suits, they are plain. And if they go to church, the suit must be worn with a tie.
- Amish Dress Code
- Difference Between Amish and Mennonite?
- Amish Or Mennonite?
- Dress Code Policy
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.