The Amish, by A.M. Aurand, , at sacred-texts.com
General Appearance.—The Amish garb is peculiar to him and his kind. It is dictated in style by their old leaders and deviations are rare.
Jews, Catholics and the plain people alike prefer not to let any other faith get a hold on their off-spring until after they have lived through formative years.
The plain people garb themselves not in the manner of the Jew, (whom they unconsciously imitate in many ways—as do all Christians), but after the priests and nuns. The older leaders of the plain people imitated the Catholic clergyman in dress and in discipline, representative of a section of Europe following the Reformation.
Hooks and Eyes instead of buttons are used by Old Order Amish as a church regulation. Their clothes are plainer than those of the plainest Quaker, but the severity of regulations is somewhat modified among the Meeting House Amish.
The men's hats are a distinctive, broad, stiff-brimmed type—one looking just like another—dust and all!
It is the usual thing for Old Order Amish boys to wear their hats nearly all of the time, except while in school. At recess they cannot be persuaded to doff them while at play.
The trousers of an Amishman do not open in the middle by means of a fly, as do those of most every other male American. The plain man's pants open toward the sides, almost at the side seams, with a resultant wide flap in the front. They are called "broad fall."
Men may shine their shoes (if they wish), and the women may buy and wear polished machine-made footwear.
If one could get into a friendly and understanding discourse with men of this faith, as has been done occasionally, one would learn that buttons on the backs of coats, or on coat sleeves, were actually places for the "devil to hang
[paragraph continues] 'somesing' on." Buttons are made from the bones of animals, and this is one reason for their declining to use them.
Belts, neckties, sweaters and caps are taboo. Their coats are without the usual well-known collar. Some wear capes in cold weather, or perhaps great overcoats; at any rate they are monstrous garments—covering all like the top of a buggy covers the individual.
Women's Garb.—Women may be seen dressed in bright purple apron, orange neckerchief, or (on Sunday) white caps without ruffle; or borders and white neckerchiefs with gowns of sober woolen stuff, and all wearing aprons. Even a dark-eyed maiden of three years might have her sweet face encircled by the plain muslin cap, the little figure dressed in plain gown.
It is not compulsory for the young girls to wear their bonnets constantly, either at home, at school, or away from home.
Necessary jewelry, even gold eye-glasses, is allowed. The young girls are expected not to want to own or wear gold watches. Should they use them, discipline would follow.
Dress peculiarities grew out of an effort to follow Divine injunction, "Be not conformed to this world."
The drawers of the conservative plain women are very long, and quite tight. Seldom seen by non-Amish, at first glance they look like relics from the middle ages, rather than a convenience or need for the present.
The youngsters are dressed exactly after the pattern of their grandfathers and grandmothers, and it does seem strange to see such "little ladies" out and at play with a vigor found in boys—and in children of the care-free-world. But they wear dresses reaching to their shoe-tops, as soon as they are able to walk; a white cap, and white shoulder kerchief and a white apron add their unique touch.
Any children, neatly groomed to look like their parents at their hest, have a chance of looking "cute."
There is only one style of wearing the hair among the Amish women, and that bears very little improvement. It is parted exactly in the middle and combed smoothly down toward the temples, where two plaits
are started, carried around and gathered into a knot just under the edge of the white mull cap above the nape of the neck.
Hair and Whiskers.—One or two Amish countrymen, when seen in Lewistown, Lancaster or Ephrata, create little excitement, but when fifty or a hundred get together in a world outside their own, that's news.
Young men, as well as old, have their hair and whiskers neatly trimmed, and it seems always about the same color for all ages. Sandy, reddish, may we call it, and ruddy cheeks predominate. The hair is cut very neatly in a bang in front, or parted in the middle and slicked over the side to cover the ears.
The moustache is shaved off for the purpose of cleanliness in eating. Two verses from Leviticus settle the question: "Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of they beard." (Lev. xix, 27; xxi, 5).