Plain Men

Nicholas in his madder red festive shirt

I hear now and then that much attention is focussed on how women should dress, how we wear our hair and cover our heads, and that our dear husbands are left puzzled as to how to complement us. (Note “complement” and not “compliment”.) My own husband is just Plain by nature, and has never been much of a clotheshorse, despite a few strange choices as a teeenager.

Nicholas in his handmade vest

A look around the web at Plain-dressing men – Amish, Mennonite and Quaker – shows that Plain for men is simple. It is modest in that the clothing covers the body from neck to ankle, without being tight-fitting; it is unadorned in design and colour. Plain for men is obtainable in most clothing stores, in terms of dark trousers with no pleats or fancy pockets (my husband wears jeans), an average white, blue, black or brown coloured shirt with a pointed collaror no collar, and regular pearl buttons, and braces or suspenders. Shoes – of course, would be workboots or black oxfords. The dress clothes are a little harder to find – the lapelless Mutze or jacket, the simple single-breasted vest in black.  These can be ordered from seamstresses via Plainly Dressed or other sites, and the patterns can be found for local production. The flat brimmed black hat is available from a few mailorder retailers, and the brimmed straw hats can often be found online or even in the local feed store. (My husband’s black hats come from Mennonite Maidens because they are affordable; his straw hats came from the TSC store in St. Jacob’s, Ontario.) Ebay is a good resource for men’s plain hats and suits.

straw hats and plain bonnets

We have been Plain long enough that we can’t imagine ourselves any other way. We aren’t quite as somber as we once were – Nicholas’s vision impairment has moved us toward brighter colours, especially for me. We both enjoy the freedom of Plain.

Nicholas

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6 thoughts on “Plain Men

  1. R is naturally plain as well. He wears t-shirts and jeans most of the time. He puts no effort into choosing his clothes and sometimes I am really confused at his choices because I tend to match without even thinking about it. I must admit that though I like this natural plainness and total lack of vainness I tend to buy him things I like which are still within his preferred style but perhaps a bit better in fit and perhaps a bit closer to what is considered fashionable. He has a beard too which I absolutely love and his mother hates. He likes it but mainly because he hates shaving.

  2. How blessed that your husband is in accordance with your way of life.

    Mine, unfortunately, enjoys clothes a great deal. Our Lord makes them all different 🙂

    M.

  3. Do you sew any of your husband’s clothes, Magdalena? I only learned to sew last year; I can make jumpers, blouses, vests and cape dresses for myself fairly easily by now, but everyone tells me that men’s clothing is far harder to sew.

    My husband-to-be dresses plainly and practically in jeans or trousers and buttoned shirts, but he has always thought it a bit unfair for us women that we get recognized immediately as “Plain” while the men look fairly well like anyone else around. Like you mentioned, he and other plain men I have talked to struggle with the question of how to match our clothing without putting on an “Amish costume,” broadfalls and the rest. We feel that although men can buy simple, modest clothing in the store much more easily than women, that “plain” often starts with making our own – not to mention the economic benefits of that. So I intend to start learning how to sew outfits for my future husband as well as for me.

    • I made him a black vest last year. I plan to sew some shirts and some simple workpants for him to wear this summer. They will be a pajama pant style in dark cotton with a snap fly and a drawstring waist. He can wear them with a loose shirt.

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