No, I’m not talking about that couple you invited to dinner last week that bored your other guests to a comatose state.
The Dunkard Brethren, Amish, Mennonite, and most all sects that derive from the Anabaptist faith–even some that don’t–will often call themselves “plain people.” But what does that mean? The term “plain people” refers to the conservative, ultra-modest way we choose to dress.
But why do we dress so conservatively? Well, for one, the Bible teaches that women should adorn themselves in modesty:
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works (1 Timothy 2:9,10)
Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands (1 Peter 3:1-5).
That’s the short version …
But did you know that a large segment of the Dunkard Brethren church dresses more modern, in skirts and blouses, or shirt-waist dresses, often homemade. Okay, okay; I know to most of you out there that probably seems pretty plain but, believe me, to us, it isn’t.
I was baptized into the Dunkard Brethren church when I was sixteen years old. I went from miniskirts to cape dresses that could be no shorter than ten inches off the floor. I wore black stockings and black shoes. My dresses had a separate cape with a front and a back that slipped over my head and a waist band all around, fastened at the side, similar to how many Amish wear their capes.
Now you’re probably asking, “Okay, Sharon. Why the cape?”
It’s simple actually. A loose cape prevents your shape from showing.
It’s a modesty thing.
When I was younger, I used snaps or hook and eye fasteners for my waistbands. The Amish used straight pins, and many still do as far as I know. I used no buttons on my dresses. My sleeves were either long, to my wrist, or just below my elbow.
I made all my clothes and learned to enjoy it.
Dunkard men, on the other hand, really weren’t that plain … at least not in comparison to us women. Most men back then (when I converted) wore long-sleeved shirts. But in hot weather they rolled their sleeves up. They dressed in plain dark-blue or black pants and dark socks with black shoes, but it didn’t take long for jeans to come on the scene.
(I must admit, at times it annoyed me that I was so plain while my husband went around looking like a million bucks.)
A lot of men wore beards, but it wasn’t required. My husband did, and it set him apart. Beards weren’t fashionable at that time the way they can be today.
And pants are not allowed.
Well, there’s the long and short of it (pun intended). If you would, take a minute to follow this blog by clicking that little FOLLOW button on the right-side column of this page … and even my Facebook page … and I’ll be sure to tell you more about the Dunkard Brethren and Anabaptist faith. My hope is that understanding our heart will deepen your own heart’s desire for the things of God.
Don’t worry; you don’t have to dress like us to learn from our deep passion for our Lord.
And if there’s anything in particular you’d like to know about our faith, customs, history, won’t you comment below and ask?
Who knows? Maybe your question will be the topic of one of my upcoming blogs!