My Experiments with Plainness

[See also: Resources on Quak­er Plain­ness]

This was a post I sent to the “Pearl” email list, which con­sists of mem­bers of the 2002 FGC Gath­er­ing work­shop led by Lloyd Lee Wil­son of North Car­oli­na Year­ly Meet­ing (Con­ser­v­a­tive). Eighth Month 20, 2002

 

I thought I’d share some of my jour­ney in plain-ness since Gath­er­ing. There’s two parts to plain dress: sim­plic­i­ty and plain-ness.

The most impor­tant part of the sim­plic­i­ty work has been sim­pli­fy­ing my wardrobe. It’s incred­i­ble how many clothes I have. I sus­pect I have a lot few­er than most Amer­i­cans but there’s still tons, and nev­er enough room in the clos­ets & dressers (I do have small clos­ets but still!). I’d like to get all my clothes into one or two dress­er draw­ers and donate the rest to char­i­ty. Two pairs of pants, a cou­ple of shirts, a few days worth of socks and under­gar­ments. This requires that I wash every­thing fre­quent­ly which means I hand-wash things but that’s okay. The point is to not wor­ry or think about what I’m going to wear every morn­ing. I’ve been to a wed­ding and a funer­al since I start­ed going plain and it was nice not hav­ing to fret about what to wear.

I also appre­ci­ate using less resources up by hav­ing few­er clothes. It’s hard to get away from prod­ucts that don’t have some neg­a­tive side effects (sup­port of oil indus­try, spilling of chem­i­cal wastes into streams, killing of ani­mals for hide, exploita­tion of peo­ple con­struct­ing the clothes at hor­ri­ble wages & con­di­tions). I try my best to bal­ance these con­cerns but the best way is to reduce the use.

These moti­va­tions are simple-ness rather than plain-ness. But I am try­ing to be plain too. For men it’s pret­ty easy. My most com­mon cloth­ing since Gath­er­ing has been black pants, shoes and sus­penders, and the com­bo seems to look pret­ty plain. There’s no his­toric authen­tic­i­ty. The pants are Levi-Dockers which I already own, the shoes non-leather ones from Pay­less, also already owned. The only pur­chase was sus­penders from Sears. I bought black over­alls too. My Dock­ers were vic­tims of a minor bike acci­dent last week (my scraped knee & elbow are heal­ing well, thank you, and my bike is fine) and I’m replac­ing them with thick­er pants that will hold up bet­ter to repeat­ed wash­ing & use. There’s irony in this, cer­tain­ly. If I were being just sim­ple, I’d wear out all the pants I have – despite their col­or – rather than buy new ones. I’d be wear­ing some bright & wacky pants, that’s for sure! But irony is part of any wit­ness, espe­cial­ly in the begin­ning when there’s some lifestyle shift­ing that needs to hap­pen. As a per­son liv­ing in the world I’m bound to have con­tra­dic­tions: they help me to not take myself too seri­ous­ly and I try to accept them with grace and good humor.

But prac­ti­cal­i­ty in dress more impor­tant to me than his­tor­i­cal authen­tic­i­ty. I don’t want to wear a hat since I bike every day and want to keep my head free for the hel­met; it also feels like my doing it would go beyond the line into quaint­ness. The only type of cloth­ing that’s new to my wardrobe is the sus­penders and real­ly they are as prac­ti­cal as a belt, just less com­mon today. A few Civ­il War re-enactment buffs have smil­ing­ly observed that clip-on sus­penders aren’t his­tor­i­cal­ly authen­tic but that’s per­fect­ly okay with me. I also wear col­lars, that’s per­fect­ly okay with me too.

The oth­er thing that I’m clear about is that the com­mand­ment to plain dress is not nec­es­sar­i­ly eter­nal. It is sit­u­a­tion­al, it is part­ly a response to the world and to Quak­er­dom and it does con­scious­ly refer to cer­tain sym­bols. God is what’s eter­nal, and lis­ten­ing to the call of Christ with­in is the real com­mand­ment. If I were in a Quak­er com­mu­ni­ty that demand­ed plain dress, I expect I would feel led to break out the tie-die and bleach and manic-panic hair col­or­ing. Dress is an out­ward form and like all out­ward forms and prac­tices, it can eas­i­ly become a false sacra­ment. If we embrace the form but for­get the source (which I sus­pect lots of Nine­teenth Cen­tu­ry Friends did), then it’s time to cause a ruckus.

Every so often Friends need to look around and take stock of the state of the Soci­ety. At the turn of the 20th Cen­tu­ry, they did that. There’s a fas­ci­nat­ing anti-plain dress book from that time that argues that it’s a musty old tra­di­tion that should be swept away in light of the social­ist ecu­meni­cal world of the future. I sus­pect I would have had much sym­pa­thy for the posi­tion at the time, espe­cial­ly if I were in a group of Friends who didn’t have the fire of the Spir­it and wore their old clothes only because their par­ents had and it was expect­ed of Quakers.

Today the sit­u­a­tion is changed. We have many Friends who have blend­ed in so well with mod­ern sub­ur­ban Amer­i­ca that they’re indis­tin­guish­able in spir­it or deed. They don’t want to have com­mit­tee meet­ing on Sat­ur­days or after Meet­ing since that would take up so much time, etc. They’re hap­py being Quak­ers as long as not much is expect­ed and as long as there’s no chal­lenge and no sac­ri­fice required. We also have Friends who think that the peace tes­ti­mo­ny and wit­ness is all there is (con­fus­ing the out­ward form with the source again, in my opin­ion). When a spir­i­tu­al empti­ness sets into a com­mu­ni­ty there are two obvi­ous ways out: 1) bring in the fads of the out­side world (reli­gious revival­ism in the 19 Cen­tu­ry, social­ist ecu­meni­cal­sim in the 20th, Bud­dhism and sweat lodges in the 21st). or 2) re-examine the fire of pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions and fig­ure out what babies you threw away with the bath­wa­ter in the last rebel­lion against emp­ty out­ward form.

I think Quak­ers real­ly found some­thing spe­cial 350 years ago, or redis­cov­ered it and that we are con­stant­ly redis­cov­er­ing it. I have felt that power/ I know that there is still one, named Jesus Christ, who can speak to my con­di­tion and that the Spir­it comes to teach the peo­ple direct­ly. I’ll read old jour­nals and put on old clothes to try to under­stand ear­ly Friends’ beliefs. The clothes aren’t impor­tant, I don’t want to give them too much weight. But there is a tra­di­tion of Quak­ers tak­ing on plain dress upon some sort of deep spir­i­tu­al con­vince­ment (it is so much of a cliché of old Quak­er jour­nals that lit­er­ary types clas­si­fy it as part of the essen­tial struc­ture of the jour­nals). I see plain dress as a reminder we give our­selves that we are try­ing to live out­side the world­li­ness of our times and serve the eter­nal. My wit­ness to oth­ers is sim­ply that I think Quak­erism is some­thing to com­mit one­self whol­ly to (yes, I’ll meet on a Sat­ur­day) and that there are some pre­cious gifts in tra­di­tion­al Quak­er faith & prac­tice that could speak to the spir­i­tu­al cri­sis many Friends feel today.

In friend­ship,
Mar­tin Kelley
Atlantic City Area MM, NJ
martink@martinkelley.com

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  • Joslyn

    I have real­ly enjoyed your com­ments on plain dress with rela­tion to Quak­erism. I am a 24 year old Chris­t­ian attempt­ing to move in that direc­tion myself (plain dress­ing as the Men­non­ites do), but do have hes­i­ta­tions over its valid­i­ty (I dont want to take on any trap­pings that are a hin­drance to my rela­tion­ship with God)and feel that part of its val­ue is best expressed in a com­mu­ni­ty set­ting (such as the Amish, & con­ser­v­a­tive Men­non­ites etc.), although as you men­tioned hav­ing plain dress a require­ment among Friends is not in the Quak­er spir­it and even­tu­al­ly requires some sort of writ­ten rules which does not allow Quak­ers to change with the spir­it of the times. I would be very inter­est­ed in hear­ing from any younger Friends (or any­one real­ly) seek­ing plain dress and plain liv­ing (espe­cial­ly in a rad­i­cal form such as the Amish and Men­non­ites) in their lives. I would like to know what oth­er Quak­er women believe about the head­cov­er­ing. I hope more resources can be found on the inter­net like this as I dont think many peo­ple are aware that there is a grow­ing move­ment of plain dressers. (The Plain Read­er and A Plain Life by Scott Sav­age are a tes­ta­ment to this). Thanks for the great site!
    Blessings,
    Joslyn

  • Joanie

    Hi Joslyn,
    I am a Quak­er, not too young, ( 40’s) who wears dress­es or skirts and a cov­er­ing. I feel that the out­ward reflects the inward ( see 1 Tim­o­thy 2:9&10),but this is not always easy to do and for the last 4 yrs I have had peri­ods of incon­sis­ten­cy with cov­er­ing full time. I have spent much time online with Men­non­ites and oth­er Anabap­tists and hours and hours study­ing the Scrip­ture, look­ing for guid­ance. My hus­band at the out­set did not believe in cov­er­ing, but he encour­aged me to do it if I was con­vict­ed. I felt so ugly! Even­tu­al­ly, he came to feel the cov­er­ing was sig­nif­i­cant because of the changes in my demeanor when I took it off! He then was con­vict­ed to wear a beard in his own expres­sion of Plain­ness. He feels these out­ward things help us to stay on course and to have a con­stant reminder of our Lord. Believe me, the cov­er­ing has kept me from show­ing a bad atti­tude in pub­lic and it helps me to hold my tongue more often at home. I must not for­get who I rep­re­sent. I also wear this cov­er­ing to show I sub­mit to God’s hier­ar­chy — my hus­band is my head. I feel no less spir­i­tu­al, but I have my role and place as a woman and I am fine with that. I was in the world a long time and those hair styles and such beck­on me at times and I strug­gle with want­i­ng to be like oth­er chris­t­ian women who don’t do this. But, I can’t get away from the feel­ing the Lord gave me this con­vic­tion as a priv­iledge and not a bur­den. Yes, there are many women feel­ing called to cov­er and dress mod­est­ly these days. I think it is because of the gross world­li­ness we have in this coun­try. I, too, have been look­ing at the Plain cloth­ing ( cape dress­es), but I do not sew and to pur­chase a few out­fits would be cost­ly. I have a whole clos­et full of thrift store skirts and shirts which are get­ting me by, but we are try­ing to decide how dis­tinc­tive we should be. I have been called a nun, which is weird, because I don’t look like one. The groups all have their own dress rules and only some­one study­ing these mat­ters would know who wears what. Gen­er­al­ly, peo­ple who are not Amish or men­non­ite don’t want to wear the cloth­ing of one of those groups, but they are doing it. There are some dress­es which are being cre­at­ed sim­i­lar, but enough dif­fer­ent they are not going to cause an iden­ti­ty problem.
    In Him,
    Joanie

  • scot miller

    Hel­lo,
    My fam­i­ly are con­ser­v­a­tive quak­ers, yet mem­bers of an FGC meet­ing. We dress plain, my wife and daugh­ters wear head­cov­er­ings for mod­esty and witnessing’s sake. We still dri­ve, how­ev­er, but try to live more sim­ply as live-in aids at a Grand rapids home­less shel­ter. We are inter­est­ed in the expe­ri­ences of oth­er Friends whom dress plain, espe­cial­ly since we know of no plain com­mu­ni­ty, specif­i­cal­ly pop­u­lat­ed by Friends.

  • Joslyn

    I just read the posts after mine today. I seem to keep encoun­ter­ing plain Quak­ers on the web. I want to invite any­one who is a plain Quak­er, or who is seek­ing plain­ess to feel free to email me at: rainbowleafj@yahoo.com
    I would love to con­nect with oth­ers out there. I wish there were a larg­er body of plain Quak­ers grouped togeth­er some­where, every­one seems so far away, It would be nice to feel some of the fel­low­ship that the Men­non­ites have.
    God bless,
    Joslyn

  • Aman­da

    Hi there!
    I am 21, and the only mem­ber of my fam­i­ly who attends meet­ings of Friends. (I am not a Friend yet, being young to the whole expe­ri­ence, and an ex-catholic, and hav­ing wan­dered for sev­er­al years in strange paths!! 🙂 How­ev­er, I am tak­ing it very seri­ous­ly, and read­ing all I can get my hands on. I feel a strong call towards plain dress, and have gone through fits and starts of it spon­ta­neous­ly, even as a Catholic child.…
    [Amanda’s com­ment was long enough (and fun­ny enough and insight­ful enough!) to be its own guest piece on Quak­er Ranter. Read the full post at “Buy­ing my Per­son­al­i­ty in a Store”:http://​www​.non​vi​o​lence​.org/​m​a​r​t​i​n​k​/​a​r​c​h​i​v​e​s​/​0​0​0​4​3​8​.​php. –Mar­tin, ed]

  • Liz Oppen­heimer

    Amanda’s post reminds me of sev­er­al inci­dents in my life, one being the time I decid­ed I would start mak­ing the bed every morn­ing, as a way to hon­or and respect myself. It _is_ a dis­ci­pline, and some­times I post­pone it. But the pow­er of the act is gen­uine and still impacts me, both when I make the bed and when I skip mak­ing it.
    I also relate to the inner dia­logue about what it might meeeeean to dress plain­ly. Though this is not what _my_ dia­logue is about (mine was about being ready (or not) to move from Mil­wau­kee to Min­neapo­lis), the mem­o­ry that comes to mind for me is when a dear Quak­er friend told me the well-known sto­ry of the con­ver­sa­tion between George Fox and William Penn. …Have you come across this yet in your read­ing, Amanda?
    Some time after his con­vince­ment as a Friend, Penn was strug­gling with whether or not to remove his sword from his attire. (I believe he still held a posi­tion in the mil­i­tary, but I’m not one to recount his­to­ry well.) Upon describ­ing his quandry to Fox, Fox said, “Wear thy sword as long as thou canst.”
    For me, it is impor­tant to be _ready_ to be trans­formed, ready to yield to the lead­ings of the Spir­it, wher­ev­er the Spir­it may take us. Mak­ing a deci­sion based on rea­son has sel­dom had the last­ing effect for me as mak­ing a deci­sion based on readi­ness and faithfulness.
    Blessings,
    Liz

  • Oh no Liz, not that damned Fox/Penn sto­ry!! For the record: it’s a total fab­ri­ca­tion, a tall tale first record­ed long after both men were dead. Peter Sip­pel did a good job track­ing it back to “Samuel M. Janney’s 1852 biog­ra­phy of Penn”:http://​www​.qhpress​.org/​q​u​a​k​e​r​p​a​g​e​s​/​q​w​h​p​/​p​e​n​n​s​w​o​r​.​htm. Jan­ney was an activist Hick­site, an abo­li­tion­ist who went to work for Pres­i­dent Grant after the Civ­il War. This isn’t to say the sen­ti­ment isn’t good or that Jan­ney wasn’t an impor­tant fig­ure in his own right, but he might well have had an agen­da going when he passed along a third-hand urban leg­end. The sto­ry tells us more about nine­teenth cen­tu­ry Quak­er atti­tudes than it does Penn or Fox.
    I always won­der what George Fox real­ly would have told Penn. I have a hard time imag­in­ing him being quite so mel­low & under­stand­ing as the sto­ry paints him (grin!). Still the advice that we should be ready to be faith­ful wher­ev­er it takes us is sound indeed!
    In friendship,
    Martin

  • Aman­da

    Well, I’ve heard that sto­ry, but nev­er in a Quak­er con­text — still — you are very right about being ready.
    I know I’m real­ly, real­ly ready for some­thing when I actu­al­ly almost DO feel as if I can’t do any­thing else any­more. It’s nev­er an absolute extreme inabil­i­ty to do the “wrong” thing any­more, but it is a nag­ging feel­ing — a sense of unease or dis­rest that doesn’t sleep.
    I’m try­ing to take care not to form my own set of Quak­er scru­ples after giv­ing up my Catholic ones. It is more com­pli­cat­ed, but much more beau­ti­ful, to do the right thing because it gives you peace, instead of doing the right thing because you won’t have peace oth­er­wise. It’s a nice dis­tinc­tion, but a clear one in my prac­tice. To be hon­est, though, I’m still as moti­vat­ed by an itchy con­cience as I am by a spon­ta­neous inspi­ra­tion to give up X,Y, or Z.
    Frankly, often I feel the urge to push myself towards things I do NOT feel ready for, because I want to stretch and grow. I’m wor­ried that this is pride­ful. Not to over-think it, but some­times I feel like there are cer­tain things I’m going to have to get in order before I can just relax and “be still and­know.” Maybe there’s a lot of foun­da­tion­al work for me to do on my self and my lifestyle before I am peaceful.
    But maybe not.
    🙂
    I won­der some­times — is it ever good to quell an itchy con­cience (The voice that says I ought to do X, Y, Z, or it won’t leave me in peace) in the inter­est of spir­i­tu­al humilty and quietude?
    Pondering,
    Amanda

  • Hi Aman­da,
    >Frankly, often I feel the urge to push myself towards things
    >I do NOT feel ready for… I’m wor­ried that this is prideful…
    >I won­der some­times — is it ever good to quell an itchy concience…
    >in the inter­est of spir­i­tu­al humilty and quietude?
    These are absolute­ly the right ques­tions. It’s not enough that our cause or mes­sage mere­ly be cor­rect. If it is to have effect in our lis­ten­ers and min­is­ter to them it also has to be giv­en in the right time with the right humil­i­ty. As min­is­ters, we are to dis­cour­age “for­ward spir­its that run into words with­out life and pow­er, advis­ing against affec­ta­tions of tones and ges­tures, and every­thing that would hurt their ser­vice; yet encour­ag­ing the hum­ble care­ful trav­eller.” (Philadel­phia Faith & Prac­tice, 1806).
    One of the clas­sic “tests for dis­cern­ing a lead­ing”:http://​www​.trac​tas​so​ci​a​tion​.org/​F​i​v​e​T​e​s​t​s​F​o​r​D​i​s​c​e​r​n​i​n​g​A​T​r​u​e​L​e​a​d​i​n​g​.​h​tml is to sit on it in patience. If it’s a vaporous fig­ment of our imag­i­na­tion it’s hold will whith­er away; if it’s a true call­ing, it will become only more clear. My new best Friend Samuel Bow­nas (“Descrip­tion of the Qual­i­fi­ca­tions…”) talks about this a lot.
    One sto­ry he tells is of a chum of his who was also new in the min­istry. This new min­is­ter trav­eled to Bris­tol and gave an alarm­ing series of min­istries about how destruc­tion and mass death was com­ing upon the whole town. The elders at Bris­tol sent this fel­low home and he didn’t begin a trav­el­ing min­istry again for a few years and until the Bris­tol meet­ing had giv­en the okay. As this was hap­pen­ing, Samuel him­self felt called to go to Lon­don and give much the same mes­sage of approach­ing mass death. He asked a respect­ed min­is­ter for advice and was told that he should wait awhile before preach­ing. After this peri­od, Samuel no longer felt led to deliv­er his message.
    Per­son­al­ly, I’ve felt it impor­tant to curb some of my more stri­dent self-denials. We need to keep a sense of humor and per­spec­tive about our­selves, which is to say that we need to remem­ber that any lifestyle change is sim­ply an out­ward form of an inward trans­for­ma­tion and that the glo­ry and cred­it of it goes to Christ and the Spir­it that has blessed us and promised to release us from van­i­ty. We are but sim­ple human crea­tures and it is hard for us not to secret­ly ten­der some sort of pride with­in for what we’ve done – this of course is kin­dling for the Tempter. But if we trust in that which is eter­nal, and wait upon that proof, we can hold true.

  • Aman­da

    Thank you so much for that mes­sage and for the link. I am still so young in this jour­ney and appre­ci­ate all the help I can get.
    I think the adi­vce in both is good enough to be applied gen­er­al­ly to most instances in my life.
    A spe­cif­ic exam­ple (and the one most in my mind these days) is — to give up alco­hol alto­geth­er. This is a big one for me for many rea­sons, not the least of which is — it is the main social con­text for per­haps 3/4 of my human inter­ac­tion. I feel in many ways that this is a dis­ci­pline I should bow to, and (not coin­ci­den­tal­ly) most­ly because I think, if I took away that 3/4 of human inter­ac­tion in bars and at par­ties, what oth­er, per­haps more spir­i­tu­al­ly ben­e­fi­cial inter­ac­tion might replace it? It’s scary because I would pro­found­ly alien­ate many of my friends — if we go out and I drink diet coke, they are per­son­al­ly affront­ed. I don’t in the least feel *ready* to take on that chal­lenge, whether I should or not. So canI then just pat myself on the head and tell myself “Well, then, you don’t have to take on this ques­tion, because you just don’t feel *ready*. Well, to me that feels soft and slop­py. How­ev­er, the oth­er extreme — just strong arm­ing myself into it because “I ought” is not only often inef­fec­tive, but also con­du­sive to pride. (“Hey, check out this wil-power I’ve got! Ha!”)
    I don’t mean to make a moun­tain out of a mole­hill, but apply­ing those tests for dis­cern­ment even to some­thing as seem­ing­ly friv­o­lous as this imme­di­ate­ly brings a cer­tain amount of calm to the whole sit­u­a­tion. I am a bit of a dra­ma queen and can angst eter­nal­ly over some ques­tions. One of the things I love so much about Quak­er phi­los­o­phy and the­ol­o­gy as I have encoun­tered it so far is how ground­ed it is in com­mon, expe­ri­ence­able sense.
    Thanks,
    Amanda

  • beat­nik

    RE: “release us from vanity”
    The Quak­er tes­ti­mo­ny in attire speaks stong­ly to the issue of van­i­ty and pride. One can wear jeans and a t-shirt or one can wear TOMMY jeans and an ABERCROMBIE-FITCH t-shirt [with appro­pri­ate logo]. So much of world­ly attire is an exer­cise in van­i­ty, pride, sta­tus, and social/economic class.

  • Phillip

    For me thee can’t recre­ate the past, the past is that the past though it is nice to plain dress it can be hard to find the clothes and can cost a lot. So for me is to ware black pants , white or dark blue shirts with out a col­lar and black hat and if cold black coat as plain as I can get and black pull overs.With a hat a Quak­er, plane type of hat thay cost a lot so I am look­ing at buy­ing a black hat plain as I can find, but it does not have old Quak­er look . With dress­ing plain the mon­ey comes in to it like the hat Quak­er type cost $140 and the oth­er type cost $45 and much hard­er ware­ing so which would you buy? So the way I dress plain is what I can aford. The oth­er way would end up cost­ing thou­sands. What do thee think .Would like to hear what thee thinks .Please email me horsecounty@yahoo.com.au

  • Pam

    I have been intrigued by plain dress for a while now.
    I find, though, that I haven’t been ‘led’ to change my mode of dress (nudges toward sim­pli­fy­ing, but noth­ing real­ly about “plain”) though I remain intrigued. hmmm.
    I have want­ed to post about it on my own blog (which is new, and I am not con­fi­dent in it as yet) but it’s not real­ly “my thing” so I haven’t real­ly known what to say.
    I’m not sure I under­stand how plain dress is meant to “shake things up” among quak­ers. If it comes from the same place that the desire for tie dye in anti-tie-dye envi­ron­ment does, that’s VERY dif­fer­ent from its orig­i­nal intent (it was a uni­fy­ing, rather than a divise choice, wasn’t it?)
    I have a con­cern about it becom­ing an “out­ward form” — I find myself real­iz­ing that the way I am, drawn to do it would have me look­ing quite unlike a ‘plain dress­ing quak­er’ and prob­a­bly quite unlike main­stream soci­ety as well. The appeal or lack of appeal of these for me if based entire­ly in desires for con­for­mi­ty and rebel­lion, and I am yearn­ing for some under­stand­ing of where God (or truth) fits into all this, if not for me, then for oth­er people.

  • I am address­ing my com­ments to Pam.
    I am a plain-dressing Quak­er liv­ing in Col­orado. I have been plain dress­ing for four years, give or take.
    Any spir­i­tu­al obser­vance can become an emp­ty form. And any every­day act can be blessed by Grace. That is God’s action in this world, not man’s. I have found it is not for me to judge any­thing as intrin­si­cal­ly graced or lack­ing in grace. What I have found is that I am to seek God’s will for me today, this day, and to live in the Life this moment and then the next moment and the next moment after that as best I can.
    So, for me, this liv­ing in the Life has come to mean plain dress. I was forced to aban­don plain dress for a month or so some time back. God made it clear I was to set it aside, and the strug­gle I had in com­ply­ing proved to me the pride that had become attached to it. I can remem­ber quite clear­ly think­ing what a fool I would look, hav­ing already had to play the fool by adopt­ing plain dress, now even more of a fool to set it aside. But I man­aged to hum­ble my heart and sub­mit­ted. When I was giv­en this wit­ness back, I accept­ed its return with joy and have made sure to keep the eyes of my heart on God and not what oth­ers think of me. For good or for ill.
    My plain dress wit­ness isn’t about being divid­ed from oth­ers or unit­ed with oth­ers. It is about doing what I am sup­posed to do in this life.
    God’s will. Not my will.
    Isabel

  • Dana Ren­ner

    I find this very inter­est­ing I am not Quak­er, but belong to a Bap­tist Church we are not into plain dress as a group, but I am won­der­ing if there are any books on the sub­ject. How would I get infor­ma­tion on Quak­er Plain Dress?

  • Hi Dana,
    Steven Scott’s “Why Do They Dress That Way?”:http://​www​.anabap​tist​books​.com/​s​e​r​v​i​c​e​s​/​a​m​a​z​o​n​/​w​h​y​d​r​e​s​s​.​h​tml is a great, very read­able intro­duc­tion that high­t­lights a lot of dif­fer­ent plain dress­ing groups. If I remem­ber right­ly, I think he actu­al­ly was raised Bap­tist; he’s some vari­a­tion of Brethren now, but because he grew up more “main­stream,” he’s good at explain­ing things.
    Your Friend, Martin

  • Marie Berg

    Most infor­ma­tive and inter­est­ing. I have been plain dress­ing all my life because I can­not abide the vapid spir­i­tu­al bank­rupt­ness of the fash­ion world, even at it’s sim­plest, because it is still fash­ion. It is the plain dress­ing of the thrift store, most­ly jumper dress­es mend­ed and unstained,very clean and ironed, which leaves me com­plete­ly free tolet my light shine and to address myself to the issues which need atten­tion in these times.