going plain dress headcovering religiously observant dress

Making a Start

I am borrowing the phrase "making a start" from the Old Order River Brethren. Other groups may use it, but the River Brethren use it for someone who is beginning the process of joining the church. The first outward sign this person will make will be to adopt the Old Order River Brethren style of plain dress. For those who are not joining a congregation that observes a uniform style of plain dress, "making a start" can be a difficult and time-consuming process. Although I am a member of a religious sect that has traditionally observed styles of plain dress, it was never entirely uniform, and it is now completely up to the individual member as to what to wear, and if adopting plain dress as a witness, to decide what that means to them.

From my own observations, I have split women who observe some form of plain dress into three groups: traditional plain dress, modest dress, and simple dress, which to my way of thinking mimic what the Quakers have been doing for a couple of centuries.

Some Thoughts on Religiously Observant Dress

  • The Plain Dress Witness: Reasons Women Give for Going Plain
  • To Cover or Not to Cover
  • Plain Dress, Modest Dress and Plain Modern
    Historically, Quakers have had different levels of "going plain" available to them. I think these levels translate well to modern adopters of plain dress, and provide us with a framework for finding our place among those who are religiously observant in their dress. Among many plain groups, there is an emphasis on conforming to the standards of that group. These terms are my own designations and are by no means universally recognized.
    Ohio Amish Three-Piece Dress Plain Dress would be the most regimented and conservative. Historically among Quakers, it was worn by members who wished to be taken "seriously," such as Recorded Ministers, Elders and Overseers. Wearers are most easily identified as plain. Coverings are usually the traditional styles. Mostly observed by members of the plain churches: Amish/Mennonite, Brethren, Quaker. For more information on these styles, including examples and resources, click here.
    modest dress Modest Dress tends to be only slightly outdated, but with its emphasis on women wearing skirts, is getting more dated rapidly as modern women have adopted trousers. Many current wearers of modest dress are sewing their own or having their clothing custom-made. Probably the easiest of all the styles to purchase made-to-order online. Floral prints are popular. Emphasis tends to be on gender differentiation, and thus for women, clothing that preserves femininity. Today, it is commonly observed by conservative Christians of all denominations. Coverings, when worn, tend to be "veils" or scarves, and hair tends to be long. Considerably more individualistic than traditional plain dress. For more information on this style, including examples and resources, click here.
    modest dress Plain Modern wearers are the most liberal of the group. I have heard others call this "simple dress." Covering is least observed and their clothing is most likely to be off-the-rack. Completely individualistic. Most likely to have social justice and simplicity reasons for adopting observant dress. For more information on this style, including resources, click here.
  • What if my husband doesn't like it?

    I have heard this a great deal, and it is always difficult. I don't think that sort of conflict is good for a marriage, and among the women I know, what isn't good for the marriage isn't good for their happiness. An important thing to establish, perhaps, is what your husband doesn't like about it. I know some women who have been able to inch into it by occasionally wearing a simple kerchief, and working up, but it works best if your husband is comfortable with it and can help you choose a style you both like.

going plain dress headcovering religiously observant dress
going plain dress headcovering religiously observant dress
going plain dress headcovering religiously observant dress
plain dress
Quaker spirituality Spiritual mentor Plain dress
daily george fox quote

Epistle 204
1661

"Feel the Seed in your selves"

(To all Friends, Prisoners)

DEAR Friends and Brethren, The Seed of God feel all in your selves, which is the Heir of the Power of God, that ye may sit down in the Possession of the same, inheriting the Power, and the Promise, and the Gospel. In which Power of God is the Fellowship, . . . which never hath an End, which brings Life and Immortality to Light; which Power of God was, before that was, which darkneth Life and Immortality from People. So, walk in the Truth, then ye walk ...
... view full quote



Quaker Jane's
Recommended Reading


I am not Amish or Mennonite, but some people who come to my website are interested in knowing more about these groups. I can recommend these books as authoritative and relatively inexpensive sources of further information.


An Introduction to Conservative and Old Order Mennonite Groups




Living Without Electricity title=

(More Recommended Reading
on Amish and Mennonites . . .)