Gohn Brothers, broadfalls, & men’s plain dress

A few years ago I felt led to take up the ancient Quaker testimony of plain dressing. I’ve spoken elsewhere about my motivations but I want to give a little practical advice to other men who have heard or even gotten ahold of the “Gohn Bros.” catalog but don’t know just what to order. I certainly am not sanctioning a uniform for plain dress, I simply want to give those so inclined an idea of how to start.

Just as background: I’m a thirty-something Philadelphia native, brought up without any formal religion in a Philly suburb. I first started approaching Quakers (Friends) back in college. In my early twenties, I started working at a collectively-run pacifist book publishing house and living in what was then the sort of downscale hipster neighborhood of West Philadelphia. In 2002 I attended a week-long workshop that had some plain dressing Friends and felt the nudge to experiment. I’ve left Philadelphia to become a resident of a small farming town in South Jersey (what love will do) but I still spend a lot of time in the city and in decidedly urban settings. I don’t aim to be historically correct with my plain dress and I don’t want to simply “look like an Amish” person.

Gohn Brothers is a store in Indiana that sells “Amish and Plain Clothing.” It is currently celebrating it’s 100th year in business. It’s known for it’s simple print catalog, which is updated every few months. It does not have a website. You should get a copy of the catalog to get current clothing and shipping prices. It’s address is:

PO Box 1110, 105 S. Main St., Middlebury IN 46540
Phone: (574) 825-2400. Toll-free: 800-595-0031

When I first started “going plain,” I simply wore regular dark pants with suspenders found at a generic department store. It was important to me that I was wearing clothes I already had, and I wanted to be “Sears Plain,” by which I meant I didn’t want to go to any extremes to find plain clothing. When I first bought a pair of broadfalls (the zipperless pants favored by plain men), I didn’t wear them for months. Slowly I started started wearing them out and feeling more at ease in them. They were made of rugged denim, wore well and were quite comfortable.
As my pre-plain clothes have worn out, I’ve started replacing them with Gohn Brothers-produced broadfalls. They’re just as inexpensive as any cheaply-made jeans from Old Navy but they hold up and are presumably made in Indiana by seamstresses earning a decent wage.

Broadfalls

Gohn Brothers offers many different weights and fabrics for their broadfall pants, numbering them for ease of ordering. I have bought two pair, both of which I like:

  • #66: 10 oz. solid grey denim, 100% cotton: $22.98
  • #92: 100% cotton blue jean denim (11 oz.): $24.98

Coats

Gohn Brothers produces a number of coats, also called “overshirts.” In these purchases I have tended to be more distinctly Quaker. I have two Coats:

  • #225: 9oz. Poly, cotton. $41.98 at the time of this post. I have opted for a few alterations: A “regular cut” for $3.00, a “standup collar” for $2.00, “button holes with metal buttons” for $3.00 and a “quilted lining” for $5.00.
  • #125 9 oz. Black drill denim. Poly/cotton. Unlined Jacket, black drill. Alterations: “standup collar” for $2.00. (for this I had the default “snaps” in place of buttons and the default “full cut”).

I’ve prefered the specialized “regular cut” coat over the standard “full cut.” The regular cut feels more like the standard suit jacket that most professional men wear to work, while the full cut felt more like a wind-breaker. I also prefer the buttons, as the snaps contributed to the wind-breaker feel.

Suspenders

Also known as “braces,” all you need are dark broadfalls and suspenders to really look “plain” to the world. “Tabbed” suspenders fit over buttons in your pants, while “clip-on’s” use alligator clips to fasten onto standard pants. Tabbed look better but I can’t help thinking of Michael Douglass in “Wall Street”; a lot of ordinary anabapist men I see have clip-on’s.

I’ve heard the story that there’s a good-hearted ribbing between the Iowa and North Carolina Conservative Quakers about whether thin or wide suspenders is more plain. I’ve started to throw my lot in with Iowa and have gotten the three-quarter inch suspenders. (Fashionistas will remember that thin suspenders were popular with a certain kind of high school geek in the mid-1980s–think Cameron in Ferris Beuler’s Day Off; fair disclosure requires that I admit that I wore them around Cheltenham High). Again Gohn Brothers:

  • #550T 3/4″ tab. Black: $7.98
  • #552C 3/4″ clip. Black: $6.98

Hats

While Gohn Brothers does hats, I haven’t bought any of theirs. Instead I’ve gone for the Tilley T3 hat. I’m not complete happy with this, as Tilley’s seem to be associated with a certain kind of clueless traveler, but I’ve noticed that there are a lot of men in my yearly meeting who wear them, I think as an unconscious nod toward plainness. The Tilley is also friendlier to bike commuters: its tie-down strings wrap easily around bike handlebars, and it’s very crushable and washable.

Not a Uniform

Again, let me stress: I am not trying to specify a modern plain dress uniform. The only time you should adopt plain dress is when you’re feeling actively led by it. Sometimes that leading is an intution, which is fine, but you need to follow it on your own terms. My practice has evolved over time and yours should too. I’ve become more plain since I started this witness simply because I had to replace worn clothes and couldn’t see spending more money for shoddier clothes than I could get at Gohn Brothers. You don’t need to get broadfalls to be “plain,” as “plainness” is as much a state of mind and an attitude toward God and your spiritual community as it a set of clothes. I think of it now as a spiritual discipline, one very fitting for our consumeristic times.

I’d love to hear from others about their plain dressing.

  • Jeffrey Hipp

    Humorously, I was just flipping through the Gohn Bros. catolog I ordered as a result of the FGC dinnertime conversation with you and Zac (immortalized by a photo in previous post to this blog.)
    I’m considering ordering one of their coats in time for winter — not because I’m about to plunge head-first into plain dress, but because they seem like simple, well-made, affordable articles of clothing that aren’t being produced by a 14-year-old girl in India. (Plus, my previous jacket is falling apart.) Hopefully — as you point out — the seamstresses/seamsters are paid and treated well. The amount of customizablity offered on most of the clothing would lead me to believe that the crafters are folks who are talented and dedicated, not just exploited workers desperate to pay the rent.
    Also, I found another resource for traditional plain clothing quite some time ago, and I dug up the link for you. Plainlydressed.com — it’s a Web site run by a Seventh-day Adventist woman in PA.

  • http://www.nonviolence.org/martink/ Martin Kelley

    Hi Jeffrey,
    One funny story about the #225 plain coat. A short time after I got it in the mail from Gohn Bros. I went to visit Julie’s father at his house. My father-in-law Tom worked twenty years for the phone company as a lineman, installing heavy roadside poles in all kinds of weather. He’s not discernably religious, an all-round regular guy, likes to bowl, has a nice new pickup. Well, it was a bit warm in the house and I draped my new coat over a dining room chair. Tom walks into the room and says, “hey, is that my coat? No? Well I have a coat like looks just like that.” _Huh?!!_ I think to myself, _a Gohn Bros. #225 with stand-up collar???_ “Yeah, it’s just like mine. It’s Carrhart right?” He was referring of course to the American-made, union-made work clothing company whose products you can find at any Sears or army/navy store. So if you get a Gohn Bros. jacket and are harboring even the tiniest bit of pride for being “authentically plain,” prepared to have your ego brought down a notch when you realize just how everyday this is.

  • Tim Kennedy

    I have been looking for a summer “bucket” hat. The Tilley is pretty close. I have lots of caps, but these don’t protect the ears & back of the neck from sun. I was suprised by the prices of the items you mention from Gohns–very competitive with mass produced (& usually imported) clothing. I may send for a catalog just for browsing, but I already have a lot of clothes to wear out before I buy anything new.

  • Joe Nolan

    I find that Mennonites get more attention because of the “Plain Dress” uniform that they wear than if they were to wear ordinary clothing without ornamentation & frills. I just love the Print dresses that the Mennonite ladies wear!
    And Salvation Army soldiers certainly get attention with their uniforms.

  • http://www.anisci.rutgers.edu/ George Eager

    A lady friend of mine was looking for plain women’s wear, and found a suitable jumper at plainlydressed.com. I personally am pretty plain (“Sears Plain”) already, maybe by osmosis from going to parents’ meetings at my kids’ schools. One is in a Friends day school in Princeton , and the other boards at George School in PA. I’ve been looking around for a vest. I saw an orthodox Jewish guy with a nice one…but couldn’t get up the nerve to ask him where he got it. We shop at the PA Dutch Market in Kingston NJ (highly recommended) and my lady friend asked one of the girls where she got her dress. Of course the answer was, “I made it.” Anyway, my friend’s style was more or less solid color long jumpers already. Now if only I can interest her in those knee-high black stockings!
    Plain is good, you know, and I’m not overly worried about looking uniformed since I basically wear the same thing everyday, more or less– a few variations, you know, but I’m a 54 year old administrator in an ag college, so dressing up (LOL!) means wearing the brown lace-ups (Alden’s, circa 1985). There is a path to plain dressing that doesn’t lead to clothing that a Civil war reenactor might be considering.
    On the braces question, I wear 1-1/2 inch solid blue– J.C Penney, $8. The hat issue is too complex to be gone into– LOL!

  • http://ofthebest.blogspot.com Amanda

    Do not fear the Hat! the Hat is your Friend.
    (not the tilley hat, though. Have you READ their owners’ manual?!)
    – Amanda, who is terrified of bonnets.

  • Joyce

    I have tried the phone numbers for GOHN Brothers which you listed. There is a recording asking for a pin #. WHat is that all about? I wish to order a catalog, as mine is far out of date. I am having difficulty. would you please be able to direct me to a phone number that is working?

  • George Eager

    I ordered a vest from Gohn Bros and I’m very pleased. At $18.98 it’s a good value too. The standard (returnable) one is dark blue denim and very nicely made. I got hook&eye closure with outside pockets. They sent along swatches of all the fabrics available for vests, pants, coats etc — so now I’m thinking of the next one already. Also, just FYI, their socks are really great as well.
    By the way, it took a about three weeks after my check cleared for the package to be received, which was okay with me, but just thought I’d mention it so you folks don’t panic. It ain’t Lands End!

  • Julie

    GVS – now carries plain men’s clothing – They currently are offering, plain pants, broadfalls, plain 2 piece suits, old frock coats, and 2 styles of vests. They are a Mennonite owned mail order company. They are well worth looking into if your not sewing your own. They also offer a couple of books on men’s plain sewing and altering ready-mades. Their clothing is all with Swedish knit – available at Gohn. I’ve used this product and feel it is top of the line for a double knit. Everything I made with it – capes, school jumpers, vests looked great. Prices are comparable to store bought or purchasing the fabric and making your own. I purchase almost all my sewing supplies from them and Gohn. Very happy with service and products. Only place I’ve been able to find white bobby pins.

  • Julie

    Posted above – Forgot to mention they have a color catalog phone – 18003982464 or email sales@gvsdis.com for a copy.
    Also, eBay has alot of used Amish plain clothes. Looks like non-Amish are making a living out of selling barn sale/ yard sale gleanings.

  • http://www.friendspatterns.net Joyce

    If you’re looking for sewing patterns, we sell Amish, Mennonite and plain style patterns. I’m so busy, that I get my husband’s broadfalls from Gohn’s. :-) Be careful about ordering broadfalls from other sources. Most retailers buy theirs from Gohn’s and then mark up the prices to reflect that. If you want a reasonably priced suit, made to order, I can recommend Weefox Tailors, 267 N. Shirk Rd. New Holland PA 17557 phone 717-354-8933. We ordered a suit and they sent a detailed measuring sheet which we returned with our check. The suit fit pretty well considering there were no intermediate fittings.

  • http://www.nonviolence.org/martink/ Martin Kelley

    Hi Joyce: Thanks for adding to the “collective knowledge” here. That’s great. I unknowingly bought my first Gohn Brothers broadfalls in Ohio; it wasn’t till my first order from Gohn’s came that I realized that the original pair was from them! I don’t remember the Ohio store’s price being too over-the-top.
    And everyone: Another mainstream source for shirts I’ve found is Blair.com. They make a reasonably-priced banded-collar denim shirt (look up “scandia woods denim shirt”).

  • John McDevitt

    I have purchased fro Gohn Bros. for a number of years and have been generally quite satisfied, EXCEPT that the construction of the button holes in their broadfall pants is definitely inferior; they wear out very quickly. I recommend that you take the option of snaps instead of buttons.

  • http://www.nonviolence.org/martink/ Martin Kelley

    Hi John,
    Sorry to hear that. The button holes on my Gohn Bros blue jean broardfalls have frayed quite a bit, just as you described. The buttons slip off by themselves sometimes now–so much for modesty! It’s their #92 model, 100% cotton blue jean denim (11 oz.)
    The buttonholes on my other broadfalls have held pretty well considering the wear I give them. I’ve settled on the #3 Dark gray twill (65% poly/35% cotton), which has been fine for me.

  • Deborah Mesker

    Can anyone tell me where i might be able to locate some shoes of the plain dress.
    thanks

  • http://www.nonviolence.org/martink/ Martin Kelley

    Hi Deborah,
    Gohn Brothers, “who I profile here”:http://www.nonviolence.org/martink/gohn_brothers_broadfalls_mens_plain_dress.php, does sell shoes and you can write away for their catalog. You’ll see that most of the models are name brands that you can find just about anywhere. I believe most plain dressers today just wear the most non-ostentatious mainstream footwear they can find.

  • Geno Zewinski

    Please send me a Quaker hat catalog.
    Thank you, Geno Zewinski 88 Oakman St., Turners Falls, MA 01376

  • http://www.nonviolence.org/martink Martin Kelley

    Hi Geno: you’ll have to write to Gohn Bros at the address above, I don’t think they’re reading my blog!

  • linda

    I buy all my wide quilt backing fabric from then Gohn Bros.
    great delivery & fast delivery.
    very good products and customer service.

  • http://www.candleonthehill.net Krista

    Hello! I just came across your post when doing a quick search on the internet looking for Gohn’s phone #. I misplaced it and need it as I order my dress and covering fabric from them, I recommend them, too! And GVS as well, both are very nice companies run by nice folks.
    Our family has a company Candle on the Hill (Matthew 5:14-16) we have plain sewing patterns (as well as non-plain, but modest patterns) for Christian families and homemaking books and resources for women. You can visit us at http://www.candleonthehill.net, we’d love to have you drop by!
    Thank you for your insightful posts here! I was just looking for a phone # but enriched with more.
    To the woman looking for plain shoes, GVS Distributors also has a large selection of plain, quality, practical shoes.
    May God bless you all and you day!

  • Ronald David Hanes

    I was wanting to know if any one could tell me if there are any Plain living christian groups (amish, mennonite, etc) near Miami Oklahoma?
    I am a plain living single christian man in need of fellowship.
    Thank You
    R D H

  • Thomas Fioriglio

    Hi Martin,
    I have enjoyed reading your blog as I search for many answers to my questions about Quakerism. As for the Gohn’s Bros. jacket #225, that is the same jacket with the same alterations I am interested in. How has it held up? Is it a winter jacket or fall/spring jacket? I am looking for something plain that will get me through fall/winter/spring if possible. How roomy is the regular cut? I am average size (42R) and have already adopted simple plain dress. Sorry for asking so many questions, as you know the Gohn’s catalog has no pictures and if you order a jacket with alterations, it can not be returned. Thank you for whatever information you could add on this.

  • http://www.quakerranter.org/ Martin Kelley

    *Hi Ronald*: I’m afraid I don’t know of any plain Christian communities out there–maybe one of my readers do? To be honest, I can’t think of any Quaker local community that could qualify as plain. Even this summer’s sessions of Ohio Yearly Meeting Conservative–arguably the most traditionalist Friends body in North America–had only a dozen or so plain Friends in attendance and they live across hundreds of miles of territory. You might want to contact David Nagel, the pastor of Oklahoma’s Hominy Friends Meeting (, _only_ 125 miles from you); he has roots in Ohio Conservative and might know of plain communities in Oklahoma. Good luck and God bless you on your search.
    *Thomas*: The jackets hold up quite well. I did finally replace my #225 (with another 225), only because it started fading over time. I wear it all the time, in all sorts of weather. I wear it maybe nine months out of the year (Fall through Spring) and on mild winter days it’s all I often need. You’ll see the jackets in my “Flickr plain pictures”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/martin_kelley/tags/plain. All the black blockish jackets are Gohn, most the #225’s (the vest is also Gohn, cut from the same fabric).
    It’s kind of funny to be revisiting this post tonight. In preparation of upcoming job interviews I spent part of the evening digging out old suits from the attic. While it’s quite possible that any job I get will be okay with the rather formal plain dress I often wear, I’m not willing to demand it at the job interview. I once lived near a thrift store where I could buy gorgeous pinstripe Italian suits for $10. Boy, was there a little fashion lust in me as I donned them an hour ago to see which ones could be cleaned and pressed for a interview!
    Martin

  • Thomas Fioriglio

    Martin, thanks for the quick reply and for the information. I live in Long Island, so we encounter pretty much the same weather, so I guess I could look forward to some good use out of the jacket. One last question, about the “regular” cut, is it still roomy enough to wear a fleece under it if necessary? Thanks again,
    Just to add some more info for others, I became familar with Gohn’s through my volunteer work at a historic restoration village here on Long Island. We order our broadfalls and shirts through them and they are quite sturdy and well made and very affordable.
    Someone else had asked about cutting off collars of shirts. All I did to remove the collars on my button shirts was just carefully cut just above the seam. I practiced first on a $3 shirt I got at a thrift store. There will be some fraying, but that is easily trimmed. I will have to see how it holds up over the long haul. If anyone else has other ideas, I would love to hear them.
    I just received the Plain Vest from GVS and it is very well made. I am a teacher and have decided that when I return to work after the vacation, I will no longer wear ties and go with simply black pants, button down collarless shirt and plain vest. I have to tell you, it feels liberating not having to worry about matching ties and shirts and pants, etc.
    I am still new to the Quaker movement and learning more every day. This blog and the contributions of everyone have been quite helpful. Thank you all for your collective contributions.
    Happy New Year’s
    Thom
    Levittown, NY

  • John Waddell

    Mr. Kelley,
    I have worn a ‘plain dress’ overcoat for several years. I am finally being forced to buy a new one because the other one is just getting to be too well-worn. I would recommend to anyone who wants to stay warm and be practical about it to own one of the coats made by the Amish and other plain-dressers with the shoulder cape. It has served me quite well!
    Though I do have a question. Have you come across some way to get stubborn smells and stains out of such a garment? Dry-cleaning doesn’t always seem to work, I fear.
    Thanks for the website, its great to read!

  • Martin Kelley

    *Hi again Thomas:* I often wear a sleeveless fleece jacket under my regular-cut Gohn coat. A long-sleeve works but it’s a little tight in the collar. Cutting collars off shirts is indeed pretty easy. I’m afraid I’m not the best in sewing the seam back up and get fraying that gets worse with every washing. Perhaps I just need to practice more.
    *Hi John:* I’ve been luckily enough not to have experienced any bad stains or smells. I just wash my jackets in a laundry machine, it’s pretty tough.

  • Ellen

    Hello. I am responding to Ronald David Hanes. There is a Dunkard Brethren Church located in Kansas City, Missouri. It is a Plain Church. You can learn a bit about it at http://www.dunkardbrethrenchurch.com. I believe it is about a 2.5 hour drive for you though. There may be something closer to home for you. Have a blessed day.
    Martin, thank you for the information on this site. I am planning to contact Gohn Bros. to see about plain fabrics for dresses and veilings. It is hard to find good fabrics for dress making in my home town. Thanks again. Have a blessed day. Ellen

  • Thomas Fioriglio

    I have been dressing plain since last January. I finally got around to purchasing the Gohn Brothers #225 jacket. I got the stand up collar, quilted lining and metal buttons. My only regret is that I got the full cut rather than the regular cut. The regular cut would have fit just as nicely and still allow room for layers. The full cut is wide in the waist and unless you are on the large size with a large mid section, I would guess, you can get away with the regular cut waste.
    As for the rest of my plain look. I purchased the Plain vest and Plain Frock coat from GVS. I cut all the collars off of my button shirts and bought some plain black jeans. I wear this everyday as a teacher in a suburban Long Island school. When I get dressed every morning, I do not have to think about what I will wear and what tie matches, etc. All I do it choose a shirt, put on my jeans and vest and coat and go to work.
    Thomas Fioriglio

  • Sam Reames

    Quaker plain dress consisted of A Hat, not black, usually dove gray. Broad brimmed and rounded or flat crowned. Many historical painting and such depict them. Normal conventional clothes of the times but “off the rack” and simple/inexpensive in nature. Dressing “up” in Anabaptist conventional clothing seems to me to defy “plain” clothing as it goes to extremes to obtain and is not of the normal convention today. I have not seen any pictures of the London meeting in many years, but they used to dress in “conventional” 1800's wear of gray, light brown, teal, fawn, etc. including a flat brimmed hat of matching color. Seems everything but dark blacks, navy's, browns, etc. It may have been a annual “dress up” event and not a normal First Day wear.

    For me, plain dress consists of khakis/denim, inexpensive shirt and inexpensive but well made shoes.I wear no jewelry other than my wedding ring and a modest watch. Not designer clothing, but simple “off the rack” wear of good construction and moderate cost. Much less cost than Gohn Bro's “costume” wear.

    I also chose to wear a full beard 36 years ago as an outward expression of my belief in simplicity.

  • Sam Reames

    Quaker plain dress consisted of A Hat, not black, usually dove gray. Broad brimmed and rounded or flat crowned. Many historical painting and such depict them. Normal conventional clothes of the times but “off the rack” and simple/inexpensive in nature. Dressing “up” in Anabaptist conventional clothing seems to me to defy “plain” clothing as it goes to extremes to obtain and is not of the normal convention today. I have not seen any pictures of the London meeting in many years, but they used to dress in “conventional” 1800’s wear of gray, light brown, teal, fawn, etc. including a flat brimmed hat of matching color. Seems everything but dark blacks, navy’s, browns, etc. It may have been a annual “dress up” event and not a normal First Day wear.

    For me, plain dress consists of khakis/denim, inexpensive shirt and inexpensive but well made shoes.I wear no jewelry other than my wedding ring and a modest watch. Not designer clothing, but simple “off the rack” wear of good construction and moderate cost. Much less cost than Gohn Bro’s “costume” wear.

    I also chose to wear a full beard 36 years ago as an outward expression of my belief in simplicity.

  • Not Saying

    Interesting to read all the thoughts on plain dress. My wife and I were formerly part of a plain church that strictly enforced a uniform. I always wore broadfalls and button-up shirts, and generally (until later years) a broadbrim hat. Broadfalls were either purchased from Gohn Brothers or 'made-over'. By made-over, it meant buying off-the-shelf pants and having my wife rip out the front and re-sewing them to eliminate the fly and add buttons. Took nearly 6 hours per pair! Making them over saved money over buying them from Gohn brothers if you didn't count her time. My wife always wore a specific pattern of dress (that she made) and a prayer covering (that she also made). In the winter she would wear shawl and bonnet if going to church or a coat at other times. We found (in this particular church) that the uniform was over-emphasized and it had actually been turned into an idol!

    We recently changed over to a different plain church that isn't near as strict. Women are still covered and modesty and simplicity are still stressed, although a specific uniform is not. We now buy nearly all our clothes from Goodwill and other thrift stores. I always wear dark-colored pants and a button-up shirt. She mostly wears long dresses or skirts with a full-cut. I know that we now spend a lot less money and time on clothes. I think that wise spending habits on clothing is a principle that sometimes gets lost in the among the plain people. I would much rather spend $5 on a pair of second-hand pants from Goodwill than spend $30-35 at Gohn Brothers. My wife also has enough to do around the home with the kids, etc. that she doesn't need to spend all day re-making a pair of pants for me!

    Sometimes I think it would do us good to take a step back and look at the Biblical requirements and principles for dress.
    1. Modesty
    2. Simplicity
    3. Dressing for God's glory and not our own.
    4. Not following the fashions of the world. (immodesty, casualness, etc.)
    5. Being wise stewards of our money.

  • Not Saying

    Interesting to read all the thoughts on plain dress. My wife and I were formerly part of a plain church that strictly enforced a uniform. I always wore broadfalls and button-up shirts, and generally (until later years) a broadbrim hat. Broadfalls were either purchased from Gohn Brothers or ‘made-over’. By made-over, it meant buying off-the-shelf pants and having my wife rip out the front and re-sewing them to eliminate the fly and add buttons. Took nearly 6 hours per pair! Making them over saved money over buying them from Gohn brothers if you didn’t count her time. My wife always wore a specific pattern of dress (that she made) and a prayer covering (that she also made). In the winter she would wear shawl and bonnet if going to church or a coat at other times. We found (in this particular church) that the uniform was over-emphasized and it had actually been turned into an idol!

    We recently changed over to a different plain church that isn’t near as strict. Women are still covered and modesty and simplicity are still stressed, although a specific uniform is not. We now buy nearly all our clothes from Goodwill and other thrift stores. I always wear dark-colored pants and a button-up shirt. She mostly wears long dresses or skirts with a full-cut. I know that we now spend a lot less money and time on clothes. I think that wise spending habits on clothing is a principle that sometimes gets lost in the among the plain people. I would much rather spend $5 on a pair of second-hand pants from Goodwill than spend $30-35 at Gohn Brothers. My wife also has enough to do around the home with the kids, etc. that she doesn’t need to spend all day re-making a pair of pants for me!

    Sometimes I think it would do us good to take a step back and look at the Biblical requirements and principles for dress.
    1. Modesty
    2. Simplicity
    3. Dressing for God’s glory and not our own.
    4. Not following the fashions of the world. (immodesty, casualness, etc.)
    5. Being wise stewards of our money.

  • poocer

    I first found Gohn brothers in The Whole Earth Catalog, which for me was one of the greatest publications ever. How I miss it! For years I wore the dropfall pants and found them to be superior to jeans for general use. Of course, the uniform in those days and our set was overalls, themselves like jeans a political statement. Now I have almost a dozen pairs but seldom wear them __wife bought 'em__ as they bind the knees and the paunch. (Not as easy to shed the paunch at 74 as at 34) And I'm really bored with well-meaners taking me aside and whispering “Your flies are open”. Big deal! With the social revolution of the 60s and 70s jeans became the worldwide democratic leveler, like the tee shirt and later, flipflops.
    Jan de hartog, in his wonderful novel Peaceable Kingdom, says that early Quakers would not wear indigo-dyed clothes as processing the plant for dye was so disagreeable that only slaves could be made to do it..
    Simple clothing comes naturally to me, although for years working in architects' offices had me in the professional uniform: Oxford gray wool-and-acrylic suit with 2 pairs of pants, all navy-blue socks for ease of laundry sorting, button-down blue Oxford shirts and knit ties for drafting. Chinos were for days when I could get away with no jacket, but the tie stayed, a bow tie in colorful Indian silk or Madras cotton. Long gone together with my 30 inch waist!
    Our family's earliest immigrants came to Delaware 40 years before William Penn, spoke Swedish and later Dutch and Lenni Lenape. They were soldiers, traders and farmers. One was actually a translator between Penn and the Indians. Then came the Quakers and the Anabaptists responding to Penn's offer of religious freedom, and many of them spoke German for several generations. (Eighty percent of Pennsylvanians spoke German in 1776.) I don't know how they dressed, but being in the heart of Chester County, the Quakers at least surely wore gray. Several early towns in Pennsylvania were founded partly by my ancestors, among them Upland (renamed Chester by Penn) and Germantown.
    Even my parents had very few clothes by today's standards. All of both's fit nicely into one small closet. Many were home-made. Neither wore jeans, tees or sports shoes. Mom never wore slacks.
    Now that I'm retired from architecture and spend most of my time gardening I'm ready to simplify. It may be difficult, however, to convince my wife to give away the suits and blazers which she loves to see me in. I wear cargo shorts almost all the time__to Meeting, too__and Redwing boots in the garden.
    I'm interested in the plainness statement. I never minded looking different, always had a beard unless it was forbidden by an employer. Now (the last few months) I have an Amish beard and after shaving my bald head since the 60s (very odd then; “I'm not bald, I just shave my head”) I have begun to let my thin gray hair grow down to a blunt cut at ear and nape and will not flatten it. Since the 60s I have worn a hat against sunburn and sunstroke, but not the Gohn Brothers kind. There are no visible Mennonites here in Shasta County, so I suppose I'll stand out. I will not abandon my tiny gold earring, however. How's that for contradiction?
    I admit to being mildly narcissistic. Always loved being in costume on stage and in historical pageants. It's amazing how much a simple change in hair and beard style evokes a particuler period. Some re-enactors and dancers are so attached to their current style that they can't conceive of changing. Not me! But I cannot see wearing the full Amish outfit. Too contrived!
    I am non-thieist, non-religion, anti-religious (including religious property). I attend the small Monthly Meeting in Redding, CA.
    Inspired by these recently discovered sites on plainness, I think I'll simplify my wardrobe and red out my stuffed closet.

  • roberthcooper

    Please two questions

    1-I assume all clothing and good are american?

    2-are clipon's with plastic tips or just metal teeth ones.