Old Order Amish Attire

“Be careful,” I warned my husband as we pulled our rental into our Amish friends’ driveway in Lancaster County, PA. The couple had asked my husband, a chiropractor, to give the wife and their granddaughter an adjustment.

“Mary could be wearing long straight pins around her waist,” I said, and my husband shot me a dubious look. I explained that instead of buttons and zippers, Old Order Amish women use straight pins to fasten their aprons, and hooks and eyes elsewhere. But when he and I entered their tidy home we found Mary, the wife, had removed her customary black apron-including the pins.

Why do Amish women fasten their aprons with straight pins instead of buttons or Velcro? Why wear an apron at all unless cooking? Why do both Amish men and women in a sense wear a uniform every day?



As devout Christians, Amish believe they should be separate from the surrounding world. “And be not conformed to this world.” (Romans 12:2) Trendy clothes are seen as immoral and are considered a waste of money. Amish also believe jewelry and wristwatches conflict with biblical teaching. They avoid appearing flashy, provocative, or in competition with others. A show of humility and modesty are required by their Ordnung, the rules Old Order Amish must obey.

If you’ve seen my Amish novels from the Legacy of Lancaster Trilogy, you’ve noticed the women cover their heads with demure prayer caps called Kapps. Women are directed in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 11:5, to cover their heads and to pray without ceasing. They do not cut their hair; they part it down the center, then tuck strands under a prayer cap, or a scarf if out in the field or garden. The styles of prayer caps differ between church districts and regions of the continent.

Forever-AmishThe cover of Forever Amish depicts a young woman clad in Lancaster County Old Order Amish attire, including the typical heart-shaped cap. Amish women wear solid colors of subdued hues.

Most women sew the majority of their family’s clothing. The photo of me directly below was taken in Zook’s Fabrics in Intercourse, PA, with the store’s proprietor Herb Scrivener, who also owns Sauder’s Fabrics. The section of solid-colored fabrics in Zook’s is set apart from the decorative English patterns. The material is practical, easy to wash, and much of it wrinkle-free.

Within the many Amish communities, there are subtle differences in dress, such as the width and brim and height of men’s hats, and their suspenders, which hold up their trousers. Although Amish attire varies, they recognize each other and feel a kinship.

I love the way Amish dress. Do you find it appealing?