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.