How do Mennonite women dress (modesty among the Mennonite women)?

As a believer raised in the church, I have always enjoyed interacting with different
communities. I recently had the privilege of socializing with the Mennonite women and
discovered that they are famous for their high value and unique dress code. Though the
Mennonite women have similar beliefs as the Amish women, I learned that they have different
dress codes. So, how do Mennonite women dress?

Mennonite women dress conservatively in long dresses. The dresses may be neutral, plain, or colorful, usually homemade. They cover their heads all the time while in public with a prayer veil or a Kapp. Due to modernization and changing times, some dress in pants, slacks, shorts, and t-shirts which are non-form fitting.

In this article, I will discuss different aspects that pertain to the dress code of the Mennonite
women. Join me as we look at why Mennonite women wear dresses, what they wear when
they go swimming, why they cover their hair, if they wear makeup, and what they wear to bed.
Read on to learn more about the Mennonite women and why they dress the way they do.

Why do Mennonite women only wear dresses?

Mennonite women only wear dresses to conceal their modesty, which includes treating one’s body as sacred and covering it. Mennonite women’s most common dress code is the plain or cape dress. This dress is associated with the Mennonite community, although it is not mandatory at all branches.

The dress can have zippers, and the material can be patterned. It can have collars, and the length usually runs to the ankles. The dress is meant to be worn to church or during everyday activities.

The dress code is always feminine, which revolves around a skirt and a dress. Women are not supposed to mimic men’s authority by wearing pants or masculine clothes.

Mennonite women believe that their outward appearance is secondary to their spiritual life and actions; they wear long dresses that are non-form fitting.

In the modern world, however, what the Mennonite women wear may vary depending on the Mennonite she belongs to. In the Modern Mennonites world, modesty is the only standard that is greatly observed. The women may wear not-too-flashy pants to make them stand out from the rest of the community. In the Mammonite community, modesty is critical, and the ladies do not wear tight pants or shorts as these are deemed inappropriate.

The Mennonite women believe that covering their legs prevents them from being showy, thus upholding their value of being modest and humble.

modesty among the Mennonite women?
What do Mennonite women wear when they go swimming? See below

What do Mennonite women wear when they go swimming?

When Mennonite women go swimming, they do not wear the standard swimming costume. They may wear shorts, dresses, skirts, or swim shirts to promote modesty. They may also wear shorts underneath a lightweight dress. Some also wear skorts.

Generally, swimwear for Mennonite women should be modest to allow freedom to swim in mixed company without exposing too much of your body.

In one study, The Journal of Amish and Plain Anabaptist Studies,  carried out by an independent scholar, Megan L. Mong, one of the participants states that she wore a tee shirt and skort at a swimming camp, and this gave her the freedom to swim in a mixed gender environment.

Amy is a conservative Mennonite woman who says that this value was instilled in her at a family level. She admits to having been ridiculed by her peers for her modest swimming attire. Even with the ridicule, she says the freedom to participate in mixed swimming is more important than peer acceptance.

Why do Mennonite women cover their hair?

Mennonite women cover their hair as a sign of honoring their heads. It also symbolizes a woman’s honor and submission to her husband, the head of the home. According to Mennonite Village Heritage, the Mennonite women drew this culture from the bible in 1 Corinthians 11: 5-6. 

5. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. 6 For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head. 1 Corinthians 11:5-6

It is believed that Mennonite women wore head coverings whenever they went outside the house. When protestants stopped wearing head coverings to church, the Mennonites got concerned and sought guidance from scripture.

To date, the Mennonite women still cover their heads in public or around other Mennonites. They may, however, stay with their heads uncovered when they are indoors.

Can a Mennonite woman wear makeup?

A Mennonite woman can wear makeup that does not exaggerate her appearance or draw attention to her. The makeup must be light and natural without portraying a spirit of vanity.

However, this may vary depending on the Mennonite group a woman belongs to. For the stricter groups, makeup may not be allowed as it is deemed a distraction that hinders a heart of humility and draws one away from the major role of true worship.

The question of whether to wear makeup or not is an individual decision. Mennonite women are unlikely to wear makeup due to their general core values of inner value, humbleness, and simplicity.

According to the Anabaptist world, if one chooses to wear makeup, it is dependent on them, but wearing makeup or not wearing it does not make one any more worthy of care and respect than the other. The Anabaptist world says that if anyone can’t see your value in how you present yourself or beyond your natural looks, they are not worth your time.

What do Mennonite women wear to bed?

Mennonite women wear a handmade nightgown to bed. The gowns are made from cotton or flannel to provide warmth, especially during colder seasons.

Even though they wear bonnets in public or around others, the women are not compelled to wear them to bed or while in their homes.

The Mennonite dress code circles around modesty, simple elegance, and practicality. They don’t focus on outward attractiveness.

Generally, Mennonite women are not restricted on what to wear to bed. General comfort comes first when it’s bedtime. Due to their ingrained values, the Mennonite women may also want to be modest at bedtime as long as they are comfortable.

Do Mennonite women wear jewelry?

According to the Global Anabaptist Mennonite encyclopedia online, a small minority in the Mennonite congregation prohibit women from wearing jewelry.

This conservative congregation which belongs to the Lancaster conference, which organized the Keystone Mennonite Fellowship, still maintains that women should not wear wedding bands.

As the world keeps changing, Mennonites may begin to wear jewelry. When this time comes, you can expect the jewelry to be simple and very minimal to uphold the group’s core values, which are humility and simplicity.

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