Amish dresses

Anonymous asked: Are Amish dresses uncomfortable?

Simply put — yes. At least the women’s dresses are. They got more so when polyester fabrics became available. The Amish women couldn’t resist the no-iron option, so polyester was in vogue when I was in my late teens. In the summertime, it was like being pinned into a plastic bag — with straight pins. And then when I dressed up to go somewhere, such as church services, weddings, funerals, and other social gatherings, I had to wear the extra covering called a “halstuch.” Now I had two layers of material pinned down my front. Getting stuck in the chest or the side (where the waistband is pinned) is never fun.

Young girls dresses are more comfortable. They button down the back, rather than being pinned down the front. While they can be cumbersome for outdoor games, they are not uncomfortable. Going from a girl’s dress to a woman’s dress is not an easy transition (at least it wasn’t for me), which happens during adolescence.

Amish women do complain about the unfairness of having to wear dresses with pins when the men have buttons on their shirts, but they put up with it. If they didn’t, they most likely wouldn’t put up with other things unfair. Amish communities wouldn’t exist if the women didn’t play out their roles. The outward symbols of their submissiveness is their dresses and hair coverings, no matter how uncomfortable.

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8 thoughts on “Amish dresses”

  1. I had left a comment on your previous post but I think I forgot to hit “Post Comment.” Firly, thank you for you blog. I have always had a fascination wih th Amish, espcially the way of life. It always appealed to me and I always had fantasies of of one day living that life style. Then I got older and questioned the idea of “God” and then religion all together. I have many questions, some of which have been answered by this blog. However, what are th Amish beliefs in modern medicene? For example, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in blood transfusions. Do the Amish have similar beliefs? How about mental illness or an illness like ADHD? The last question I have is what do you think about the Beachy Amish? Do they get along with the Old Order Amish? Thank you once again for your interesting blog. It certainly has helped keep me entertained while in the hospital and out. :-)


  2. I’m so excited to have found your blog. I took an interest in the Amish and Mennonite cultures when I was working in a Sam’s Club in Springfield, Missouri. I generally just like learning about other cultures.

    I really like how well written your blog is. You don’t seem to harbor a lot of anger or resentment despite the tough times you have been through.

    I look forward to following this blog!

  3. Welcome Mindy! I am so glad you found my blog, too! And thanks for your compliments. I’ve been out of the culture for 30 years, so I’ve had some time to work through the anger and resentment, which everyone leaving the culture has to, or else get stuck in it.

    Incidentally, I have Conservative Mennonite relatives (an aunt and cousins) living not far from Springfield (Seymour).


  4. I’ve always thought that the cape dresses that the Old Order women around here (Waterloo region) wear looked quite comfortable. But I always wondered about the ones that went on with pins.

  5. I tried some of the dresses for a few years. I bought mine on E-Bay. I couldn’t find a single one that was long enough in the torso or the length. Are Amish women typically shorter than English women? Most of the dresses I bought had the snap buttons & eye-hook closures. They were still very uncomfortable with the tight waistlines & the layers. Also the caps were uncomfortable as I had to do the ‘Amish fold’ instead of the bun–the ‘fold’ did a lot of damage to my hair & was hard to learn how to do. The capes were not sewn on so I had to pin them. They were constantly shifting & pulling & the pins that held them were tearing the fabric. & the capes were also doing the same. It was impractical & stupid–I was constantly having to go into the restroom to adjust myself & eventually gave up the practice & gave the dresses away.
    I still dress in what would be considered ‘modest’ to some degree, but more ‘retro’. ‘Modesty’ not only means ‘not provacative’, but also ‘simple & not showy’. Cape/apron dresses are far from ‘simple’, & they are definitely ‘showy’. I was stared at no matter where I went & asked many questions about my religious beliefs when I wore the attire.

  6. Very interesting. I think it’s unfair that women can’t wear pants.

    I never wear dresses. Never. I find them really uncomfortable. I couldn’t stand living like that. It wold drive me bonkers.

    And having to do all the household stuff while the males do the interesting stuff. Totally unfair. I’d be out of there faster than the wind.

  7. I grew up Amish. Although sometimes I felt uncomfortable other times I felt beautiful. One thing I did not like was all the straight pins! I counted up one time- 21!!! It wasn’t so bad for everyday wear when when you could have snaps down the front of your dress, and we wore a bib apron that tied in the back. But to dress up for church or youth gatherings it was 4 straight pins down the front of my dress, 9 in my cape, 7 in my apron and 1 in my covering!Oh and some wore a hair band under the covering to pin the covering to, that’s 23 total!
    I left the Amish 36 years ago. These days I am quite comfortable in polo shirts and jumpers and 0 straight pins!!! Only a safety pin in the back of my veil.
    I was wondering at what point the Amish started using straight pins. I wonder if they used strings more at one point and maybe pinning up the cape was a fad to get it up off the arms.

  8. I watched a movie about the children that were killed in their school house, it was a horrible thing, but the Amish forgave the man. Yet the community does not show the same love and compassion to their own members, and shuns them instead. It seems wrong to me.

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