The Ordnung governs and codifies the daily lives of the Amish people. Members of the Amish are expected to follow these set of unwritten principles in order to keep their reputation in good standing with the church.
The rules vary depending on the particular church that one attends. Tradition often plays as big a role as theology in shaping these rules.
The rules of selecting clothing colors fall within the umbrella of Ordnung traditions.
The Amish Dress in Subtle colors to signify Modesty and Humility. Amish clothing is constructed of plain clothing in solid colors: mainly dark greens, blacks, whites, beige, purples, and greys.
Amish Dress Colors
Typically, a member of the Amish community instinctively knows which colors are acceptable in their worship services.
Amish youth automatically adopt the fashions they observe in their environment when growing up. Although some leniency may be shown on the periphery, would an Amish lady who attended a quilting bee wearing a leopard print garment face official condemnation from the church community? I doubt it.
However, the social stigma would be so severe that no one would attempt it. It would not be beneficial. Joining a church is more than just accepting its theological doctrines; it's also an implied social compact to uphold the church's standards and traditions.
Every Amish community, including the more "liberal" ones, adheres to the principle that solid colors should predominate in their clothing. In the more traditionalist Amish communities, members will wear shades of black, brown, blue, purple, burgundy, or green.
In more liberal areas, you can see people wearing a range of hues from red and mustard to violet in their clothing.
Below are some examples of what typical attire for men and women might look like;
Amish men dress uniformly across the many settlements in black outfits with hook-and-eye closures and no exterior pockets on their suits.
The men's pants do not have zippers but rather feature buttons that cover the flap. No belts are permitted due to the ostentatious buckle; thus, suspenders are used instead.
Traditionally men also dress conservatively for church, donning black coats and vests over white shirts. Black bow ties are a common accessory for men wearing suits to church.
The suit coats do not have collars or buttons since these elements remind the Amish of combat gear, which they do not wear since they are opposed to war.
In addition, every man and boy always wears a hat, whether it's a straw one during the summer or just a black felt one during the winter and special occasions.
There isn't a lot of space in an Amish woman's closet. To them, four dresses are more than enough: two to wear regularly, one to wash and dry, one to dress in, and one to keep as a backup.
Traditionally, married women wear black capes and aprons to church, whereas unmarried women wear white capes and aprons. When helping out on the family farm, it is common practice for women to don a gray apron.
Straight pins are used to join a woman's apron and cape together. This is done by placing the pins around the waist of the dress on the front.
Women normally walk around barefoot unless they are going to church. They usually wear black shoes and stockings when attending church services.
In addition, if a woman desires to pray throughout the day, she can do it in complete secrecy, given that she is always wearing a prayer cap or other kind of head covering.
What are the primary forces behind the evolution of Amish female wear? It may be attributed, at least in part, to the wide selection of dress materials that can be found in their stores. To a large extent, teenage girls drive fashion changes and introduce new textiles.
This happens when young ladies in the community purchase new fabrics and then sew garments out of them for them. The latest trend will spread quickly among their friends, who will all want to have similar items.
The younger customers are the primary force behind an average small store's ability to move through dozens of pieces of a new fabric brand or even just one color of such a cloth.
Texture and design distinguish the diversity of textiles utilized. Fabrics with wrinkles (not too many; otherwise, it would appear like you didn't iron it), dimples, and some patterns are generally accepted in most social circles.
Suppose an Amish lady can ride in a wagon the whole day shopping and emerge wrinkle-free. The weight of the cloth is also an essential factor to consider.
Many Amish women will sew gowns out of broadcloth during the warm summer months, just like the shirts that the men wear. They are lightweight, more breathable than polyester, and wrinkle-resistant.
Amish Plain Clothes
Given that the Amish culture values uniformity, no community member wants to differentiate themselves from the other members.
They do not wish to be noticed. The prohibition on taking photographs is more about social pressure to conform than about any fear of creating a "graven picture."
There are several explanations behind the plain clothing of the Amish. Here are three examples:
1) Modesty -
According to the Amish, plain clothes indicate modesty. Unembellished garments are decent. Dresses for women tend to be flowy and comfortable rather than tight and clingy.
In most public settings, men are expected to wear long pants rather than shorts, regardless of the season. Amish believe a simple look is appropriate for Christians who value inherent values over outward and other superficial attributes.
2) Biblical foundation —
The premise of Plainclothes has a biblical foundation, although the Bible does not command the precise attire worn by Amish. Amish use scriptures such as 1 Peter 3:1, 4, and 1 Timothy 2:2 in justification of plain dress.
3) Clothing is integral to the Amish identity.
The Amish are easily distinguished from the rest of the world by looking and acting differently due to their fondness for plain clothing.
Consider a period when you encountered Amish folks. You probably recognized them as Amish based on their looks.
They might be members of any religious sect (or none at all) if it weren't for the fact that they wear simple clothing, cover their hair, and have beards. And although it may not be immediately apparent to outsiders, distinctions across Amish towns are reflected in their clothing styles.
In fact, it is sometimes feasible to determine which community a person belongs to just on how an Amish dresses.
The vast majority of jeans worn by non-Amish English people are made entirely out of cotton. That makes it easy for ventilation and to feel at ease. The Amish group does not as denim made entirely of cotton because of the fraying and fading that naturally occurs over time.
Women responsible for making pants for their husbands or partners do not like to engage in this laborious activity for any longer than is necessary.
Women are also able to devote all of their time to sewing, even if they have many sons living in the house. The Triblend is more durable, does not fade, and does not snag as readily. It is the ideal material for pants worn by men who work on farms or in shops.
Some men ask their wives to make them pants out of a poly-cotton mix in the summertime so that they can stay cool in warmer temperatures. Dacron Denim is the trade name for a particular type of denim that is made from a polyester fiber and cotton combination.
The ideal combination is cotton fabric and polyester fabric in the proportions of 65% to 35%, respectively. The most common color choice is dark blue, typically navy, while others opt for gray.
Shirts consisting of a poly/cotton combination are common among men and boys. They will accept a 50-50 mix but prefer a broadcloth with a more significant polyester percentage.
This facilitates drying on a clothesline and eliminates the need for ironing. Most Amish ladies would rather not do that because of how hot it may become.
Depending on the style desired, the shirts are made from oxford fabric, end-on-end linen, or standard chambray. The problems of fading and creasing are repeated to avoid 100% cotton garments.
To a large extent, young boys' fashion mirrors that of their dads. However, the colors they wear are often brighter. The adult men will wear dark blue Triblend Denim trousers, whereas the boys may choose a lighter shade of blue.
The boys will be dressed in a lighter shade of gray mutza to match the charcoal gray suits worn by other men.
The Amish dress code discourages vanity and grandiosity among its members. It also encourages them to adhere to their society's standards and place importance on attributes other than their physical appearance.
Amish attire is never flashy or flamboyant, and no particular wearer is ever the center of attention. However, the recognized style of dress in different Amish villages might vary significantly from one another.
They consider their plain clothing an outward sign of their inside humility and faith, which sets them apart from the secular world.
The scriptures provide the foundation for a great deal of the Amish clothing tradition, including the regulations that control how men and women should cover their heads.