The Mennonites have many unique ways of doing things, the most noticeable being how they dress, both women and men. Like the other Anabaptists, their day clothing is modest and usually includes a head covering for both genders. There are many questions about what they wear and why, with many of us wanting to know, “What do Mennonites wear to bed?”
For conservative Mennonite groups, women typically wear nightgowns, while the men wear linen shirts and slacks to bed. In other groups, they will wear the same thing as everyone else as long as it is considered modest. Although women usually wear bonnets or caps in public, they do not have to have a covering in bed.
Read on to learn more about Mennonite clothing, including why there are clothing rules in the Mennonite community, what Mennonite women wear to bed, what Mennonite men wear to bed, and if the Mennonite clothing rule applies to both men and women.
Why are there clothing rules in the Mennonite community?
The Mennonites have clothing rules that reflect their beliefs and way of life. Accordingly, clothing for both men and women is expected to be up to the Biblical standard of modesty. Because of their lifestyles, clothing is expected to be plain and practical.
Biblical standards for the Mennonites on dressing are borrowed from passages such as 1 Corinthians 11, which decrees women should have their heads covered while men should have theirs uncovered for prayer.
Tight and revealing clothes are a no-no for both men and women. One of the Bible verses favored by the Mennonites for this is Romans 13:14. “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh’s desires.“
Just like other plain people, the Mennonites are expected to dress simply. This is one of the reasons given for the almost universal black clothing in some conservative groups. Black is seen to be as plain as it can get. Although you will see them in other colors and some patterns, these are mostly within the plain clothing rule. Often, in these groups, you will find everyone dressed the same way. The main reason for embracing uniformity, they say, is to allow members more time for Christian endeavors rather than focus on what to wear and how they look in it. It is also opined that by doing this, social hierarchy is diminished, and the Christian value of humility is espoused.
Mennonites are also said to be practical, which extends to their dressing. Because their lifestyles revolve around doing a lot of manual work, their clothes must be practical for daily tasks. The fabric must also be durable, as a lot of time is spent outdoors.
Ultimately, the Mennonites’ rules on dressing are supposed to reflect the biblical merits of modesty, simplicity, and humility.
What do Mennonite women wear to bed?
Mennonite women are expected to dress conservatively in their daily wear, so it is the same when they go to bed. Mennonite women typically wear nightgowns to bed, but in the same way, there are variations in outdoor wear; the nightwear is also varied. Depending on the Mennonite group she belongs to, a woman may put on a nightgown or anything else other people use to go to bed. It has been observed that whatever outfit she chooses, most seem to ensure they follow the rule of modest clothing.
What do Mennonite men wear to bed?
Mennonite men’s clothing has also changed, and today only the most conservative wear. Besides the typical linen shirt and slacks for bed, many Mennonite men also wear modern men’s nightwear.
Does the Mennonite clothing rule apply to both men and women?
Both Mennonite men and women are expected to dress modestly. Modesty is defined in Mennonite culture as covering one’s body and respecting it as sacred. This rule is said to be interpreted variously within the different groups.
In most conservative Mennonite groups, women wear small pinned-on head coverings in varying shapes and sizes. However, for years now, many Mennonite groups have elected not to have head coverings for women. They also dress simply by modern standards and do not wear jewelry, basing their way of life on 1 Peter 3:3–4. “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of your hair and the putting on of gold jewelry or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”
In the less conservative groups, women can wear nearly anything as long as it doesn’t distract or draw attention to themselves. In some groups, a woman may wear light makeup on her face, which is not considered vanity. Makeup is, however, frowned upon in conservative churches due to the distraction it may cause during worship services.
Like the women, Mennonite men will wear their hair in simple, inconspicuous styles. Beards are generally not trimmed in the more conservative groups, but the men will not have mustaches. The distaste for mustaches is thought to have come from culture rather than religion to differentiate themselves from soldiers, most of whom favored curled mustaches.
Although men may wear hats, they never have them in church. In summer, straw hats are worn for working outdoors. Depending on the group, the hat may have a rounded crown or be flat-topped. For church meetings and formal events, men prefer to wear black felt hats. Many conservatives will also wear suspenders rather than belts as other Anabaptists do.
For the less conservative groups, men and women are said to wear anything they prefer within the constraints of simplicity and modesty. Mennonites from non-traditional backgrounds, such as Asian, Hispanic, and African American Mennonites, now account for more than 20% of the membership. Most come with their cultural wear and are therefore indistinguishable from the rest of the people in their surroundings.
From the foregoing, it can be said that the Mennonite rule on dressing is more accommodating compared to the Amish. However, the range of acceptability is sometimes said to make it difficult for visitors to know what is expected of them. If you want to attend a Mennonite service without standing out, wear a button-down shirt and slacks for men and a simple, loose-fitting dress or skirt and top for women.
- What do Mennonite women wear?
- Why do I dress simply
- Mennonite beliefs
- Mennonite way of life
- Differences between the Amish and the Mennonites
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