An Amish costume may be part of your next Halloween, Thanksgiving event or school play, but it’s important to craft a costume in a respectful manner since Amish clothing is religiously and historically symbolic. Choosing the right pattern and style of clothing will provide the premise for your Amish costume.
Jakob Amman, a former tailor, was the founder of the Amish religion. He believed that clothing denoted a person’s social status and hoped to move away from materialistic and wordly desires. The Amish society focuses on the group, so individual clothing choices are not preferable. Each piece of Amish clothing should conform to existing Amish norms. Amish clothing is simple, functional and modest.
A black unshapely dress is sometimes synonymous with Amish clothing, but black dresses are usually worn during formal events, so only use a black dress with the costume if you are representing an Amish woman during a special occasion. Other common colors include green, brown, gray and blue. Some Amish communities permit women to wear dark shades of red and purple, too, so you can use these colors in your costume if you prefer. The dress should be solid-colored, rather than derive from a patterned fabric. The shape of the dress should be modest and should not highlight any womanly features as the Amish community support the notion that clothing that emphasizes personal attractive qualities causes a sense of competition among women and sinful thoughts and actions. It often includes a full skirt and does not have a tailored look. Dresses are long-sleeved, but some Amish sects allow for short sleeves. Polyester is a common material for Amish dresses.
Apron and Cape
Include an apron with your Amish costume. A white apron is common. You can tie a cape over the dress to help cover the front of the dress. Add simple snaps to the cape to tie the fasteners in with the rest of the historic costume.
Head and Hair
Amish women typically keep their hair simple. Make a bun at the back of your head and cover it with a small white hair covering. Top with a white or black bonnet. The hair for a person wearing an Amish costume must be specific since it follows instructions provided in the Bible.
Don’t include any jewelry or makeup with the costume as these elements are forbidden in the Amish community. Shoes should be black and bulky. Stockings should be black and cotton. Add a lace shawl if you like.
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