The Hidden Rules of the Puritan Fashion Police

The fashion rules may have been tough for some of our ancestors, according to an article by Sarah Laskow in the Atlas Obscura web site. For instance:

“The Massachusetts Bay Colony passed its first law limiting the excesses of dress in 1634, when it prohibited citizens from wearing “new fashions, or long hair, or anything of the like nature.” That meant no silver or gold hatbands, girdles, or belts, and no cloth woven with gold thread or lace. It was also forbidden to create clothes with more than two slashes in the sleeves (a style meant to reveal one’s rich and fancy undergarments). Anyone who wore such items would have to forfeit them if caught.”

Then there are these questionable pieces of legislation:

“In 1639, the colony instituted a stricter law against lace and forbade clothes with short sleeves. In the 1650s, the law became more class-conscious. Only those who had more than 200 pounds to their estates were allowed to wear gold and silver buttons and knee points, or great boots, silk hoods, or silk scarves.”

You can read a lot more about the clothing requirements of the Puritans at: http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/sumptuary-laws-puritan-fashion-colonies-modesty.

I wonder what the Puritans would have thought of today’s fashions?

3 Comments

“In the 1650s, the law became more class-conscious.”
So goes the neighborhood…

Like

I don’t see the word “women.” Was this for men as well?

Like

Leave a Reply

Name and email address are required. Your email address will not be published.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <pre> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> 

%d bloggers like this: