What Did Early American Settlers Wear?

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Early American settlers wore hand-made clothing made from wool and linen and shoes made from deer hide. Upon settling in America, settlers often had only the clothes they brought with them. After a couple years of raising sheep and growing flax for linen, the women could make clothing for the family.

Women and girls wore long dresses. An apron always covered the front of the dress. To protect her head from the sun, a woman wore a white bonnet. Young boys under the age of 7 also wore long dresses similar to the ones that young girls wore.

Men wore long white shirts with puffy sleeves. Over their shirts, they wore doublets, which are jackets without sleeves, or a vest. For pants, they wore breeches. Breeches came to the knee and were usually tucked in by socks.

Everyone wore identical leather shoes from deer hide. The shoes were all cut the same, with no difference between the right and left shoe. Early settlers learned how to use deer hide for clothing from the Native Americans.

People typically had two sets of clothes: a set of everyday clothes and a set of Sunday clothes for church. Clothes were washed less frequently than in modern times. Men often wore a shirt beneath their Sunday best to soak up the sweat.

Clothes were not thrown away. They were either handed down to younger siblings and generations or used as material to create a quilt.