The Amish Dress Code

One of my favorite stories about the developing distinction of Old Order Amish clothing comes from the 18th century, in a little town in Ohio. A young German immigrant wore to church his beloved red Mutza, a color of a coat common in the Old World but frowned upon in the New World. That red Mutza caused all kinds of church unrest—to the point where communion itself was stalled until the issue was resolved. The true story (which can be read in Heart of the Amish, which releases in May) had so much meaning to it that I wove it into Anna’s Crossing, a novel about the first Amish who came to America on the Charming Nancy.

Today, distinctive styles of Amish clothing continue to evolve. Recently, an Amish church in Independence, Iowa agreed to permit boys to wear wool caps instead of black hats during long, bitter winters. To those of us on the outside, it seems like such a trivial thing. Why not let a boy wear a warm woolen cap to school? But to the Amish, like so many of their choices, it’s a decision they make slowly, cautiously, and together.

By Suzanne Woods Fisher, Author

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