James 1:27 reads, “and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” is interpreted by the Amish to mean not being tainted by the outside world. This goes for their outfits. Dress can make a statement about a person’s social and economic status. Amish believe that if they want to carry out the full will of God, they will be separated from the world in their clothes. Therefore men’s clothing, women’s clothing, and children’s clothing all are modest and simple clothing.
Scripture and Amish Clothing
A belief important to the Amish is that scripture cautions against the consequences of worldly enjoyment even if that means clothing. Two scripture quotes which explain this is 1John 15:17 and 1Peter 15. The first verse states, “Love not of the world, neither the things of the world. If any man loves the world, then love of the Father is not him. For all that’s in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but of the world. The world passeth away and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” The second verse states “Yea, all of you be subject to one another and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble.”
Amish have learned from the bible that jewelry(including wedding rings) and elaborate hairdos are inappropriate for the Christian. They Amish believe that God should bind a couple together not rings. Leg-shaving and cosmetics of all kinds are seen as needless vanities. Amish dress gives the wearer a feeling of kinship with members in their faith. They also have a sense of belonging. Knowing that one is doing God’s will, gives the Amish a sense of personal worth. They don’t want to become absorbed into the outside world therefore they keep themselves separate from the world. Their Amish clothing is a way of expressing and maintaining scriptural teachings on modesty and simplicity.
The Amish can only use solid-colored fabrics for their clothes. Some colors can be quite bright such as purple and blue. Amish make almost all their clothing. Exceptions include shoes, stockings and hats. These items, plus others, are purchased at a local dry good store. These stores have special items that only the Amish would need. Amish buy synthetic fabric because that is all that is sold. And lastly, Amish women cannot cut their hair, no makeup or jewelry, no shorts or slacks. Amish men cannot wear shorts, a mustache with a beard and finally they cannot go without a shirt.