Why Can't Amish Women Have Buttons?
One of the most reserved and traditional communities in the Western world is the Amish. They avoid modern technology and prefer to keep their customs intact, including the way they dress. One of the most notorious features in their wardrobe is the absence of buttons. But why?
Let’s look at the Amish dress code, its origins, and why buttons are a no-go for women. By the end, you'll better understand the aesthetically unique Amish wardrobe.
What this article covers:
- Amish Beliefs on Clothing
- How the Amish Women Avoid Buttons
- What Do Amish Wear?
- Can Amish Clothing Have Buttons?
Amish Beliefs on Clothing
The Amish dress code has origins in strict religious beliefs. In fact, it's based on the belief that modesty and humility should be exemplified in clothing choices. The style follows Germanic heritage, which is why many garments are ankle or calf-length. There are many restrictions on how the garments must be worn and what type of clothing is acceptable, including:
- No bright colors or flashy patterns: Clothing must be limited to dark hues such as navy, black, grey, and brown. The material can't be too thin or tight either.
- No zippers: Zippers aren't allowed because they represent modernity and convenience.
- Long dresses for women: Women must wear dresses that are long enough to cover their ankles.
There are several beliefs behind each of these clothing restrictions. For instance, the prohibition of bright colors and patterns is to prevent vanity. The absence of zippers signifies a rejection of modernity, while dresses and trousers are worn to ensure modesty.
Amish Beliefs on Buttons
Buttons, like zippers, are seen as a form of modern convenience. They're believed to promote vanity and draw attention to the clothing considered inappropriate in the Amish community. Instead, they use straight pins or hooks and eyes on clothing that require closure.
There are many theories as to why buttons are so frowned upon. Some suggest that button-less clothing is a reminder of humility and modesty. They’re also a practical way to limit individualization in clothing. Having similar clothes makes it easier for the Amish community to come together and reject modern influences.
There’s also the idea that buttons are considered a form of pride. They're often seen as a sign of wealth and power, whereas the Amish lifestyle is rooted in humility and modesty.
Buttons are also seen as a military symbol. The Amish are pacifists and reject any type of war or violence. They believe in peaceful negotiation and non-violence, so avoiding buttons as a military symbol is seen as an important practice.
Another school of thought is the cultural factor. Amish communities are often very tight-knit and strive to maintain their traditions. Buttons are seen as too modern and foreign, so avoiding them altogether is a way for these communities to stay connected with their heritage.
The question of why don't Amish use buttons is one that’s been debated for centuries. Ultimately, it comes down to their religious beliefs and the desire to stay true to their traditional values of modesty and humility. By avoiding buttons, they can show respect for their culture and reject modernity in favor of a simpler way of life.
How the Amish Women Avoid Buttons
What do Amish wear to avoid buttons? Well, it's worth noting that just like they make their own Easter baskets or woven dog bed baskets, the Amish make their own clothes. The Amish have a unique fashion sense that puts their own spin on the traditional designs of Europe. From bonnets to vests, the Amish put their own spin on different clothing items.
Since their dresses don’t feature buttons, they are made to allow the wearer to slip them over their head instead. Additionally, they use straight pins, hooks and eyes, snaps, and even laces to ensure that their clothing is secure without needing buttons.
This combination of fashioning garments that don’t require buttons and creative closures like laces or snaps allows the Amish to stay true to their religious beliefs while keeping up with the changing world.
What Do Amish Wear?
This section will examine what Amish women wear, its significance, and the restrictions they must follow.
Amish women wear modest dresses when they are out and about in public. The dresses have long hemlines, usually reaching mid-calf or ankle length, and are designed with minimal decoration so as not to draw attention. They also typically feature plain colors like black, blue, gray, and green and may be made of wool, polyester, or cotton.
The dresses also often include a broad black collar meant to symbolize the Amish person's commitment to their faith. The collars are usually accompanied by white zigzag stitching around the edge of the fabric, representing a dedication to modesty and humility.
The sleeves of the dress are usually long and may include a cuff at the end. The cuffs are often made of contrasting fabric to add visual interest without breaking the modesty rules.
Amish women also wear a cape as part of their traditional outfits. The cape is typically made of plain fabric and is meant to provide additional coverage for the body. It also typically features a large hood that can be pulled up over the head if needed.
The cape is usually made in solid colors like black or navy blue and may feature simple trim around the edges. It should fit loosely so as not to draw attention, and it fastens at the neck with hooks. The cape reaches around mid-thigh and may have a white lining for contrast.
This clothing is intended to provide an extra layer of modesty, protecting the chest area from sight while also providing warmth.
In addition to their dress, Amish women also wear aprons over their clothing. The aprons vary in style but usually have a single pocket on the front for carrying a few small items like keys, money, or a handkerchief. The aprons are usually made from plain fabric, often with contrasting trim, and usually come in white or black.
The aprons also have an important symbolic purpose - they are meant to indicate that the woman wearing them is married and that she is devoted to her family. Aprons also serve a practical purpose in protecting the dress from dirt and stains.
Amish women also wear a head covering, usually made from black or white cotton fabric. The covering is usually made into a simple cap, or bonnet meant to signify humility and modesty.
Head coverings also symbolize submission to the Amish faith and are seen as an outward sign of commitment.
But why do Amish women wear bonnets? The book of Corinthians reads: “Every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—she is one and the same as the woman whose head is shaved.” The bonnets represent modesty, humility, and respect for tradition.
In the book of Corinthians, it’s also written that a woman should cover her head so as to not cause any man to stumble in their faith. This means that by wearing a bonnet, an Amish woman shows respect and humility towards the men of her community.
The Amish wear underwear, usually made from cotton or linen, that is generally white in color. However, their undergarments aren’t the typical briefs or boxers you're used to.
Instead, Amish women wear simple plain-cut drawers that cover the leg from the waist to mid-calf. These undergarments are meant to provide more coverage than traditional underwear and keep their modesty intact throughout the day.
The Amish birthing gown is another important article of clothing in their culture. It’s usually made from light muslin fabric and features a tight bodice, an extra-wide skirt, and a capelet. The gown is designed to cover the body, providing modesty and warmth during childbirth.
This gown is usually made in white and is often decorated with homespun cotton trim. It has become a symbol of motherhood and is meant to show respect for the birthing process. Additionally, it’s meant to symbolize the passage from maidenhood to motherhood.
Do Amish wear shoes? Amish women typically wear a pair of simple shoes or boots to complete their outfits. The shoes should be plain, comfortable, and practical. They usually come in black and are made from leather or fabric.
The shoes should fit comfortably with no extra ornamentation as this would draw attention to the feet, which are considered immodest by Amish standards. This includes most decorative elements.
What do Amish wear to bed? This community has specific guidelines for their women's nightwear as well. Typically, they opt for nightgowns or long t-shirt-type tops with skirts or pants that do not have buttons.
Again, this is to avoid having anything too fancy while they sleep and keep the focus on modesty and simplicity. They can also wear lightweight coverings, such as scarves, for additional coverage in the event of cold temperatures.
Can Amish Clothing Have Buttons?
The old-order Amish forbid buttons on clothing as they are seen as a sign of vanity and pride. This means that traditional Amish clothing does not use buttons but instead relies on pins or ties for closure.
However, a new-order Amish group permits buttons on clothes, but they must be small and plain. They must not draw attention to the wearer and should be used only for practical purposes. However, it's rare to find Amish women wearing buttons.
Overall, buttons are seen as a distraction from the Amish lifestyle of modesty, humility, and simplicity. It’s believed that buttons detract from the focus on community and faith rather than individual expression.
Buttons are a symbol of vanity and pride, two things that go against the Amish faith. Using buttons detracts from their simple lifestyle, so they refrain from it. While some may find this rule difficult to follow, for the Amish, it effectively reminds them of their faith and way of life.
From handmade dresses to bonnets, the Amish have crafted a style of their own that reveals their culture and beliefs, and there’s true beauty to be found in that.
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