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why don't amish use buttons

Why Don't the Amish Use Buttons?

The Amish are a Christian religious group that lives a plain lifestyle, shunning modern conveniences for traditional practices. This includes not using buttons to fasten clothing.

In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why Amish don't use buttons and how they dress without them. We'll also look at the Amish dress code and how it ties into the Amish faith. 

What this article covers:

How are Amish Beliefs Tied into Clothing?

amish women buttons

Before we talk about why the Amish don’t use buttons, let’s take a look into their beliefs and how they affect their clothing. The Amish culture is based on principles of humility and plainness, including in their fashion choices. 

One of the central aspects of Amish clothing is the use of plain, solid colors. This is meant to reflect the Amish belief in simplicity and humility. Bright colors and flashy styles are generally avoided, as they’re seen as distractions from the important values of the community.

In addition to modesty, the Amish display their beliefs through a distinctive clothing style. The men wear suspenders and hats, while the women wear bonnets and aprons. All garments usually have solid colors such as black, gray or blue - no bright colors or patterns. However, Amish quilting is allowed, as it’s considered a traditional craft.

amish buttons

One of the questions outsiders ask is why Amish ladies wear bonnets. According to the bible in the book of Corinthians, the bible says, "Every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head..." The book of 1 Peter 3:3-4, it states that a woman shouldn’t adorn herself with braided hair and gold or pearls, but rather faith, kindness, and modesty. 

Bonnets are believed to help women demonstrate their commitment to these biblical teachings. They publicly cover their hair, as a sign of respect and devotion to God. They also show modesty and humility, a core value of the Amish faith.

Clothing is also a sign of humility for the Amish. It’s common for them to choose fabrics like denim or linen that are easy to clean and require no buttons, zippers, or hooks. This helps them maintain their distinct look and adhere to their belief system.

Another integral part of the Amish dress code we can't forget to mention is the Amish blue dress. This is a traditional garment worn by an Amish bride on her wedding day. It symbolizes purity and signifies the bride's commitment to God. It's made from blue fabric and plain, without any adornments like buttons.

amish buttons and zippers

Why the Amish Avoid Buttons

The Amish believe in living simply and avoiding temptation or prideful displays of wealth. Buttons are seen as decorations on the clothing, which can be considered extravagant by some members of the faith. Additionally, buttons can become a distraction from the Amish’s faith.

Buttons are also seen as a sign of individuality and vanity, two things the Amish try to avoid. By not wearing buttons, all members of the community look the same regardless of their wealth or social standing. They also want to avoid bringing attention to themselves, so buttons are seen as a way to draw attention.

Practical reasons are also a factor in clothing choices for the Amish. Buttons can be pretty fiddly and difficult to put onto clothing, whereas pins and hooks-and-eyes are much easier to use. For some, buttons may be seen as a frivolous expense too. They’re also seen as more fragile and easily damaged compared to other fastenings, meaning they won’t last as long - something undesirable to a community focused on sustainability.

How Do the Amish Dress Without Buttons?

amish zippers

The Amish dress code is based on the Plain German tradition and is designed to be modest and straightforward. To replace buttons, members of the faith use straight pins, hooks, eyes, and ties to fasten their clothing. Amish women wear a cape dress with no buttons or zippers. Instead, the dress is held together by straight pins and often an apron over the top.

Amish men usually wear suspenders and vests that are also pinned closed instead of using buttons. They will sometimes use hooks and eyes to close up the collars on their shirts. Amish children also wear clothing similar to adults, with no buttons or zippers.

Old-order Amish clothing is typically made with solid colors, so there’s no need for ornamental buttons. It's also important to note that the dress isn’t meant to be stylish. Therefore, buttons are seen as unnecessary and a distraction from their faith.

Just like any other Amish clothing, the Amish birthing gown doesn’t include buttons. This gown is usually made of simple material and has no embellishments or decorations. It's fastened together with straight pins or ties.

The Amish dress code is an integral part of the faith and a way to help them stay humble and devoted to God. They shun buttons not only for practical reasons but also because it symbolizes their commitment to living simply without being distracted by worldly items. By avoiding buttons, the Amish maintain a unified look that keeps their community tightknit.

Do the Amish Ever Use Buttons? 

amish clothing no buttons

First, it's worth noting that most Amish women can't have buttons on their dresses due to religious prohibitions. That includes both functional and decorative buttons. Instead, they typically use straight pins and hooks-and-eyes for fastenings.

However, that doesn't mean buttons are entirely absent from the Amish wardrobe. New Order Amish, a more progressive group than their more conservative brethren, use buttons. While the men’s clothing remains unchanged, Amish women in this group may have decorative buttons on their dresses but never functional ones.

Men's clothing of all Amish orders also often has buttons, although these tend to be covered up or concealed. This is because simplicity and modesty are the order of the day when it comes to dressing for Amish men and women alike. Men’s button-up shirts may feature a few decorative buttons, but they're hidden beneath a jacket or vest.

Visible buttons in men's clothing are seen as a military-style statement, which isn’t allowed. The Amish believe in peaceful living and reject any aggression. They're pacifists who don't serve in any military. They believe any display of aggression, even an implied one through buttons, goes against their religion.

do amish have zippers

The use of buttons is seen as a sort of “vanity” by more traditional Amish orders. It can be considered a sign of modern consumerism, which is something that the Amish generally avoid. Instead, they prefer to stick with clothing and garments that are simple and modest, often handmade. Just like women come together to make Amish faceless dolls and under-bed baskets, they also sew and make each other's clothes.

 do amish use zippers

How the Amish ultimately choose to dress is up to each individual family and their interpretation of the Bible. It’s important to remember that there are multiple different Amish orders, with varying levels of strictness regarding clothing regulations. As a result, what’s allowed may vary from group to group.


Ultimately, the use of buttons is a personal choice for members of the Amish community, and what works for one may not be appropriate for another. While some may incorporate decorative buttons into their clothing, others will stick with pins and hooks-and-eyes, to remain true to their religious beliefs.

Traditional and conservative Amish communities generally avoid buttons due to their modesty regulations. They're viewed as too fancy and flashy, which goes against their core beliefs.

At the end of the day, what matters is that Amish individuals follow their religious beliefs and maintain modesty in their clothing choices. Buttons may be viewed as optional extras by some members of the community, but for others, they are a definite no-no. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. 

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