by D. S. Padilla, April 2, 2006
The recent trend towards returning to more fundamental religious values has many women re-evaluating their clothing choices. With the influx of websites selling plain, simple, and modest clothing, many more Christian ladies are able to explore these style options. No longer considered exclusively the realm of the Amish, many sites now offer plain clothing, head coverings, aprons, and undergarments over the Internet. The variety of style and fabric choices increases daily and offers a much wider selection than was previously available. Many modern women have chosen to forego current clothing styles in favor of Amish- or Mennonite-styled clothing. Women from all denominations and walks of life are choosing to remove themselves from the world in favor of more Biblical-based apparel.
Plain clothing is most often defined as the clothing worn by Amish and Mennonite people. Cape dresses, aprons, dark stockings, dark shoes, and a stiff head covering is the usual garb for women. Broadfall trousers, suspenders, collarless jackets, and plain white shirts are worn by the men. The styles can vary greatly from group to group. For example, Old Order Amish pin all of their clothing with straight pins, no zippers or buttons allowed.
Simple clothing is one step up from plain, with very simple, modest styles being worn. Fabrics are usually solids or have tiny prints. Hemlines are long, as are sleeves. A variety of head covers are worn depending upon personal taste. Men’s simple clothing is very similar to plain with the exception being plaid workshirts and jeans.
Modest clothing covers both areas and can include modern styles as well. The body is kept well-covered and clothing is loose rather than formfitting.
Plain, simple, and modest styles all revolve around basic modesty. Skirts or dresses are the order of the day with long hemlines and modest sleeve and neckline cuts. The Biblical mandate for women’s clothing could not be more clear, 1 Timothy 2:9 tells us “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.” In modern terminology this could be interpreted as plain and inexpensive. Christian women are not to conform to the styles of the world but rather be different from others in the world as stated in Titus 2:14 “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” This means that we should not blend in with the crowd, that anyone should be able to identify us as unique by our manner and style of dress.
Head coverings are gaining in popularity with the advent of the 1 Corinthians II movement. For those unfamiliar with the Biblical reference, 1 Corinthians II: 3-10 states:
(3) But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. (4) Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. (5) But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. (6) For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. (7) For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. (8) For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. (9) Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. (10) For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.Cape dresses, formerly worn exclusively by the Amish, have gotten very popular as have vest dresses and veils frequently worn by the Charity denominations. Simple and modest western-styled clothing is also favored including jumpers, long skirts, blouses, and simple dresses. Many women wear old-fashioned bloomers and camisoles under their clothing rather than the more worldly styles sold in the stores. Dark-colored stockings and simple, dark shoes complete the look. Most dresses have collars and ¾ length or long sleeves, although some women do choose to wear short sleeves in the summer. Sleeveless styles are not worn. For cold winter months, bonnets and shawls are worn outside and long johns, tights, or woolen stockings are worn under the clothing for warmth. A flannel pantalette or petticoat may also be worn. A word to the wise however—make sure you wear a nylon slip between your flannel petticoat or pantalette and your tights or you will find your skirt creeping up somewhere in the vicinity of your neck.
2006 by D. S. Padilla. Permission is granted to reproduce excerpts of this article up to 250 words in electronic newsletters or on websites provided that the text is unchanged, the text is represented as an excerpt and not a full article, and the following and verbiage is attached:
“2006 by D. S. Padilla. This article was originally published at http://www.modestclothes.com/articles/plain-and-simple-clothing-for-christians-explained.html.”