There are many myths regarding the Puritans and Puritan “fashion” (I used quotes because Puritans actually didn’t approve of fashion in general). But what clothes did they use and why? What hairdos did they prefer? What fabrics and adornments did they consider appropriate? What did ladies do when their old gowns were too revealing for their new ideals and they didn’t want to spend more money on wardrobe renovations? Let’s find out. In this article, we will talk mostly about the Puritan outfits of Europe in the 1600s.
Historically, the Puritans were English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries who wanted to purify the Church of England of Roman Catholic practices and to make it more Protestant. There were several different Puritan movements in Europe and America (New England), but their nature was the same.
For the Puritans, one of the ways to display their views was clothing. So, let's take a look at the Puritan attire. But don't get too excited. Structurally, it's absolutely the same as what we see in a non-Puritan attire.
Though, the Puritan costumes looked very conservative and modest. If a gown had a low neckline, women wore high-necked smocks and wide collars to cover the skin.
It's a myth that Puritans wore black all the time. They wore black on Sundays only. Do you know why they didn't wear black all the time? Because they thought black was too fancy. It was too fancy and should only be saved for Sundays.
They usually wore brown or gray. No bright colors, of course.
Also, they avoided shiny fabrics and too many decorations. Wool and linen were preferred over silks and satins. But Puritan women of the upper class used “appropriate” amount of lace and embroidery.
Men wore shorter hairstyles than was common in that era. They considered long and curled hair too feminine.
On their heads, men wore steeple-crowned hats. Women wore coifs on their heads, but also steeple-crowned hats, which they would wear over their coifs.
In general, there were levels of Puritanism. There were people who enjoyed the Puritan idea but allowed themselves a little lace, for example. Like this lady here. She is a Puritan, but she has a taffeta bow and a bracelet.
But hardcore Puritans did not like fashion, they did not approve of it.