Puritan Fashion

By Mrs. Randazzo

New England Fashion

Colonial Clothing reflected the beliefs and religion of the early colonists - the Puritans. The Puritans wanted the Church of England to become pure by getting rid of Catholic practices. They hated elaborately decorated churches with statues and shrines. Puritans believed in total simplicity, that everything should be plain. And these basic beliefs also encompassed their Puritan Colonial Clothing (Colonial).

Clothing Style

Style

The plain and simple Colonial Clothing was a public expression of the beliefs of the Puritans which encompassed the notion of simplicity. Puritans practiced strictness and austerity in their religion, lifestyle and conduct. The Colonial Clothing worn by Puritan men and women reflected their belief in austerity. Puritans were strongly opposed to sensual pleasures and were strong advocates of propriety, modesty and and decorum. Once again, the early Colonial Clothing of the Puritans reflected these beliefs.

Colonial Men

The Colonial Clothing worn by Puritan men were quite heavy and made from materials such as wool, linen or leather. The items of Colonial Clothing worn by Puritan men included the following:

  • Long-length, loose linen shirts
  • Breeches which were short length pants that were fastened at the knee
  • Socks - long woolen socks were worn
  • A jerkin which was a sleeveless jacket which could be made of cloth or leather
  • A doublet which was a padded jacket with sleeves
  • Belts were sometimes worn
  • Plain leather shoes, usually without buckles
  • Hats - often quite large in a variety of style, usually wide-brimmed
  • Coats or capes were worn as protection from the cold and the rain

Colonial Women

The Colonial Clothing worn by Puritan women were also quite heavy and made from materials such as wool and linen. The items of Colonial Clothing worn by Puritan women included the following:

  • Long-length, loose shift which was worn as an undergarment. The sleeves were sometimes removable and could be tied on
  • The shift was covered by petticoats
  • Long gowns or skirts with a jacket were worn as the outer clothing
  • Belts were sometimes worn
  • Socks - long woollen stockings
  • Plain leather shoes
  • All clothes were held in place by tying them with laces
  • An apron was usually worn over the women's clothes
  • The women wore their hair long but it would have been deemed unseemly for hair to be shown. Hair was therfore hidden under a close-fitting coif
  • Coats or capes were worn as protection from the cold and the rain
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