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All Things Amish > Plain Dress

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message 1: by Sarah (last edited Nov 18, 2011 07:52AM) (new)

Sarah (misscalico) | 128 comments I'd like to begin this thread with a question: what is your opinion on Amish / Mennonite dress? Do we have any Plain dressing women among us? What are your feelings on the kapps and what they symbolize? I'd be interested to know.


message 2: by Marta (new)

Marta Perry (martaperry) | 61 comments When I was about twelve I remember asking an Old Order Mennonite friend of my why she wore the kapp. She responded that the Bible says women should have their heads covered when they pray, and since she might want to pray at any time, she should always have her covering. I think that's as soon as explanation as I've ever heard.
Best,
Marta Perry


message 3: by Camille (last edited Nov 18, 2011 10:50AM) (new)

Camille (camlovesraptors) | 802 comments I would say I have mixed opinions on plain dress. On the one hand I respect the women and their determination to keep conservative dress. In an age where mothers are letting their 5 year olds dress sexually I think that they have the right idea, that not all your skin needs to show! Shows like "Toddlers and Tiaras" and that one show about Dance mothers make me sick. I was a dancer from the time I was 2 1/2 and our costumes were NEVER sexual or sexy. We didn't have our bellies hanging out, and were covered appropriately. So I think plain dress does a good job at ensuring that women don't show what doesn't need to be seen by the world.

Where I have mixed feelings is while I understand the belief behind the prayer kapp, I personally believe that God hears my prayers without my head being covered. But I do also think it's a wonderful reminder that God is always above us, and I think in this crazy world that's something we can easily forget.

I also don't have a problem with dressing to express ourselves. I think it's about learning what's appropriate and what's not. For example, I wasn't allowed to wear spaghetti strap tops growing up. My mother felt it was inappropriate, so it just wasn't part of my wardrobe. I'm going to get personal here and state that I have a large chest. Very large. And unfortunately finding clothes which fit me and don't make me look 20 pounds heavier or which don't show tons of cleavage is a challenge. But I think with my wardrobe I've been very successful, it's just a lot of work to find the right clothes, and because my mother taught me that baring everything isn't sexy I think I learned the correct lessons. I'd rather be known for dressing classy than dressing skanky.


message 4: by Sarah (last edited Nov 19, 2011 08:48AM) (new)

Sarah (misscalico) | 128 comments Thank you, Marta and Camille! I appreciate all these good thoughts.

Marta, I do wear a "kapp" (more like a veil, as I find that it covers my head more fully) all the time for that very reason!(Well, as often as I can. My parents sometimes make me take it off because it embarrasses them to be seen with me in public like that.) Many people are unable to understand why I would need to wear it in Wal-Mart, for example, but what if I suddenly feel the need to pray while I'm shopping? While I'm in the library? When I'm at college? Paul says "pray without ceasing". I think your Mennonite friend had exactly the right idea; thank you for sharing!

I also agree with you, Camille, in what you say about modern culture promoting sensuality through our clothing. Conservative and Plain dress is a way for women to bypass all the inappropriate junk that's out there and protect their purity and modesty with clothing that actually covers! Do you have to be Amish to dress modestly? Absolutely not! I respect the Amish very much for their expressions of modesty, but we as Christians can do the very same thing. The key is, as you said, learning what's appropriate and what is not.

Anybody else have something to share?


message 5: by Amber (new)

Amber (bakerswife10) Sarah,
I read a letter written by a Quaker woman that said " I would rather go to jail than remove my prayer cap, because I feel it is a leading from God that helps me be more obedient to my faith, and I believe it honors my husband and my marriage by not having other men “enjoy” my hair. I dress modestly for the same reason, in Plain clothing, with dark stockings, covered arms, and high necklines." She goes on to say that she started wearing kapps to bed at night because sometimes she wakes up and prays.

I agree with Camille. I am appalled with the way parents let their kids dress these days. I think it has a lot to do with kids behavior.

I can tell you that since I have started reading about the Amish/Mennonite way of life, I have more respect for myself. I think twice about what I say or even wear. :)


message 6: by Camille (last edited Nov 21, 2011 08:43AM) (new)

Camille (camlovesraptors) | 802 comments I agree with you Amber, reading books like this has helped me to think twice too. When I was younger and in college (albeit it wasn't that long ago) I definitely had an attitude that was more of "If you've got it, flaunt it" which my wardrobe reflected...

Then I wondered why the type of guy who would pursue me was only interested in one thing: sex. Well, duh! If you show off that much quality guys will think negatively about you, and guys that are after sex will think you're open to that...

These books have helped me to think about how I present myself. Sometimes I find myself wishing I was more "sexified" like when I was out on a date on Saturday night, but then I remember that I wouldn't be attracting a guy to me for the reasons I really want: I want him to like my personality. And you know what? My date wants to see me again and I didn't have to dress showing everything to have that happen. :)


message 7: by Amber (new)

Amber (bakerswife10) I am trying to teach my 17 year old daughter this. She is a very cute girl with a big chest and feels the need to flaunt it. We have many heart to heart talks about this. Less is more. I think it has a lot to do with respecting your body and when you're young that's the last thing on your mind. You want to be noticed and liked. I asked her to read some Amish novels. She has just begun and is hooked. I pray that this will lead her in the right direction and help her relationship with God grow stronger. Even as a kid I thought we should wear uniforms to school because if we all were dressed alike then we wouldn't be singled out and picked on for our clothes. I remember the groups of girls who wore the name brand clothes and the groups of girls who didn't. The sad thing was the girls whose parents couldn't afford the name brand clothes were judged and deemed unpopular. Sad :( I think by dressing Plain you don't have this problem. That way if you are dressed the same then you are judged and liked for you and not what you are wearing.


message 8: by Camille (new)

Camille (camlovesraptors) | 802 comments Yeah I think it may just be that she needs to figure it out through experience. At least that is how it was for me. I finally realized I wasn't being taken seriously. I was being treated like I was a sex object. I was being treated like I wasn't smart (blonde hair and large chests create that stereotype really quickly!), and I wasn't respected. At first I just tried harder to be noticed by flaunting more. But then there was a moment where it just hit me that if I wanted to be respected, treated like a lady and taken seriously I had to be the one to start it. I realized that the way I presented myself was a direct reflection on how people around me thought of me. And if I wanted them to change, I needed to change first. Keep praying, I think time and experience will teach her this valuable lesson!


message 9: by Sarah (last edited Nov 21, 2011 10:00AM) (new)

Sarah (misscalico) | 128 comments Just sort of adding on to what you were saying, Amber, about the "judging"... my sister does not dress Plainly and she is often picked on for her choice of clothes etc. Although I do get stared down a lot, I think that people respect those of us who dress conservatively more than those who try to be modest but at the same time "fit in". Sometimes "fitting in" costs us our modesty, and that's when it becomes a problem. I liked what you were saying about respecting yourself more, because I find that it is very true!

And Camille, isn't it awful the way our culture just shouts that we have to physically attractive in that way? Magazine covers, television commercials... in so many ways we're being told that in order to be beautiful, happy, etc., a woman must "flaunt" herself. Besides that, the way we dress reflects not only what we're about, but what we desire others to think of us.And if we dress to be physically desirable, then we will be attracting men that as Christians we probably don't need to be attracting. I'm not suggesting that we should dress dowdily... but we need to guard our modesty in order to attract men that will honor our purity.

Ladies, I'm so thankful we can have these discussions! If you are interested, Something Old by Dianne Christner is a really good Christian novel that addresses both the topic of the prayer bonnet and modesty from the viewpoint of a young Mennonite girl struggling to decide for herself exactly what she believes about them. Camille, it actually does address the whole modern dance issue!


message 10: by Amber (new)

Amber (bakerswife10) Thank you Camille for your understanding. :)

Can't wait to read it. Thank you for the suggestion. Here is a link I think you'll like. http://plainandpractical.com/howplain...

Also, this is her site. It has lots of info. I am still reading her blog. I started it from the beginning last week and am so inspired by her Faith and energy. http://plainandpractical.com/


message 11: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (misscalico) | 128 comments Oh my!Thank you so much, Amber, for posting the link! This has really made my day... what an encouragement.


message 12: by Camille (new)

Camille (camlovesraptors) | 802 comments I agree Sarah, whole heartedly, especially as I struggle with it myself from time to time. But I agree, the guys I really do want to be dating will like me for dressing without flaunting everything. Personally, I would like to, and hopefully do, try to go for fashionable but classy. You can be fashionable without showing everything. Audrey Hepburn wasn't famous for showing all her assets. She was famous for being classy. While her style may not be for everyone, I think the principal of classy over flaunting everything is a great one to follow.


message 13: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (misscalico) | 128 comments I think as girls we all struggle with it from time to time. :) I have only seen Audrey Hepburn in one movie, but I do remember that she dressed well. Just now I am trying to incorporate some Anne of Green Gables styles into my wardrobe... maybe a little old-fashioned for some, but I think it suits me.


message 14: by Camille (new)

Camille (camlovesraptors) | 802 comments I LOVE Anne of Green Gables, what a great look to aspire to!


message 15: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (misscalico) | 128 comments Camille, Amber, and Marta... invite your friends to come join our discussion! The more, the merrier, jah?


message 16: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Brand Ladies, this discussion has been really interesting to read! I've been meaning to add my thoughts but have had so much to do for university this week that I've just been popping in and reading whenever I can :) I'm of a similar age, body type and clothing style to Camille, I think! I've always enjoyed expressing myself through my clothing, but when I was a teenager I, like a lot of girls my age, got this concept confused with the idea of getting the attention of boys. Thankfully my mum, like Camille's, had the right ideas on this, and I had a tartan mini-skirt that I loved but was only ever allowed to wear layered over my jeans once my figure began to fill out when I was about 13. It took me a few years to realise that wearing that sort of clothing attracted the wrong attention and projected the wrong image, but I'm really thankful for my mum's guidance as by the time I was 16 me and my mum were really close, had similar tastes in clothing and went shopping together. Now we actually own a few of the same items of clothing and she occasionally hands clothes down to me that are too small for her as we're not too different in body shapes now.

I totally agree with the idea of dressing "classy" - this is the sort of image I go for. At the moment, it's winter, very cold in Scotland and I have to walk about a mile into town every day so my main aim in my clothes is comfort and warmth! But on the days when I'm going somewhere nice I do like to look classy. I have one rule when it comes to showing skin - if I'm wearing a skirt that shows off a fair amount of skin (even if I'm wearing stockings) I will wear a top that covers my chest. And the reverse, if I'm wearing a top that shows more of my chest than usual, then I'll wear trousers or a full-length skirt.

Having a fiance has really made me realise how men view women who do dress skimpily. No matter how much I like the clothes I own, sometimes I go out to a party or a pub with friends and feel very covered up and frumpy because all the girls are wearing skimpy tops and mini-skirts. And then Simon will turn to me and say "Can you believe what Sian is wearing? Her bum is actually hanging out of her skirt." Maybe in our media-warped minds we might be jealous of the girls catching everyone's eye, but if that's what all the men are thinking? Then I think I'll pass, LOL. The other week Simon came back from an Ale Society meeting and told me a story about a girl who was there in a very tiny, skimpy top and how even the less reputable guys in his group of friends had been shocked by what she was wearing. Even if their first thought was "She's hot" their second was that she wasn't at all classy. It made me wonder how she was going to get any sort of respect, dressing like that, since Simon clearly came away with a poor opinion of her.

On the note of skimpy clothing, what does everyone think of the leggings that are really popular right now? I used to wear leggings when I was maybe eight or nine, but I've not worn them in years. But all the girls at my university are wearing them right now and they're so skin-tight and sometimes even see-through, and you can always see the lines of their underwear. Sure, your legs are covered, but I think they're incredibly revealing in spite of this. I could never bring myself to wear leggings because of this, and also because, and I'm not being vain here, I know that my legs are one of my best features and that they would get unwanted attention. And I'm serious, sometimes the girls look like they're just wearing tights. I was in Edinburgh with my dad one time and he pointed at a girl in leggings that might well have been tights and said "Shall we ask her who stole her skirt? Maybe I can chase after him and get it back" :P

For those of you who are taking on the Plain dress style, I hope you are successful in gaining what you're looking for. Everyone has to choose a style of dress that they feel comfortable in, and comfortable with the image they are projecting. While I could never go Plain, my wardrobe has definitely been changing over the past few years and its encouraging to hear you all echoing similar views to me :)


message 17: by Camille (new)

Camille (camlovesraptors) | 802 comments I very much agree with you Rachel! And I think we definitely are of similar age, dress, body type.

It's definitely such a dichotomy to realize that dressing scantily will get you attention, but that the reasons you're looking for attention, even though you get it, won't be fulfilled by dressing scantily. Put another way, I wanted attention because I wanted a relationship, not one night stands. But when I dressed more scantily I attracted only men interested in one night stands that had no interest in learning any more about me than what I looked like naked. And then I was baffled about why I didn't have a boyfriend. And then, BAM, one day it hits you! Men who respect a woman, don't respect a woman who shows all her assets! It's like a present, the wrapping paper that covers it adds intrigue and interest. Think how boring getting birthday presents or Christmas presents would be if your parents just left them under the tree unwrapped for all to see... Keeping them covered keeps you interested, and excited, and then there is a time and a place for the wrapping paper to come off, and in my opinion that time and place is not in public...

I also agree Rachel with the rule if you show a little more leg, keep the top more covered and vice versa. I think that's how you can be sexy to your man, but classy to the world, and not remotely slutty.

It takes a little thought, but the different way men treat you, with respect, is totally worth not dressing sluttily for!


message 18: by Sarah (last edited Nov 23, 2011 11:22AM) (new)

Sarah (misscalico) | 128 comments Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Rachel! Something that motivated me when I wished I could go back to wearing things a little less "strict" was that I was helping to keep pure the minds of my brothers in Christ. Through my modesty I leave less outlet for their minds to be distracted into sinful thinking. That was a great comfort to me.


message 19: by Amber (new)

Amber (bakerswife10) Thank you to all. I had my 17 year old daughter read what you all have written and hopefully she will understand where I am coming from. Especially since you are all younger than me. lol Sarah the website I gave you, she is a very nice lady whom I think you'd like. :)


message 20: by Camille (new)

Camille (camlovesraptors) | 802 comments Oh Rachel, I was going to add this: another good rule is if your underwear shows it is not a good outfit. Underwear is meant to be UNDER, not displayed. Nothing irritates me more than having to see the underwear of some girl with low hanging pants, or some guy with baggy pants. I don't need to see that! If I try something on underwear shows I won't get it. Even just underwear lines are not attractive!

Probably the only thing less attractive is when young women insist on buying pants way too small and so they squeeze into them and it causes a bulge, which I call "muffin top" to hang over the edge. Buy clothes in the correct size! It is so much more flattering for every size and shape! Pretending you are a smaller size just to get a smaller sized piece of clothing is a fast track to looking bigger! Even someone size 0 or 2 can look fat if their pants are too small!


message 21: by Lisa (last edited Nov 24, 2011 03:34PM) (new)

Lisa conner (ptl44lmc) | 99 comments well living in Fl where warmer year around u get eyes full sometimes,how about tank top w/ bra straps showing? I was told it was style to have same color bra strap as top??? I do not want any man to lust over my outer wear so i guess i dress stylish but plain. i do wear jeans but there is room in them. I was raised in a strick home many years ago dresses,long hair up, no jewleryect, nothing to flaunt yourself or prideful looking. I have changed but i still cover up as i have been told:)


message 22: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (misscalico) | 128 comments Lisa, I'm sorry for the immodesty you are surrounded with in FL. It's hard enough up North... I can hardly imagine.

I hope that your daughter will benefit from this thread, Amber! Please let her know that I am praying for her.

And Camille, I 100% agree with you!!!


message 23: by Janine (new)

Janine | 7 comments I believe societies have become very immodest. I am all for modesty in clothing and am about to change my wardrobe to skirts and jumpers/pinafores and feminine blouses. At home I feel ok wearing track pants in the winter but going out in public, i will wear a dress or skirt and blouse? There are health reason women need to wear skirts or dresses and looser clothing. Another thoughtful question is 'why do women want to wear skimpy clothing, tight jeans and clothing leaving nothing much to the imagination?'
Re the Kapp, it's nice but the Bible also says, for a women, her hair is her covering. So I don't think it is necessary to wear a Kapp, however I do think women should have at least shoulder length hair. I can and do pray anywhere and everywhere. Is the Kapp worn to bed?


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