Quaker Man Dressed in Simplicity
300 years of Quakers in Tottenham

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Tottenham Quakers

Plain dress

Simplicity of dress was important to Quakers. In 1693 William Penn advised his fellow Quakers "Chuse thy Cloaths by thine own eye, not anothers. The more simple and plain they are, the better. Neither unshapely, nor fantastical; and for Use and Decency and not for Pride".

The first Quaker women were often poor and would wear homespun of any colour, red being very popular. Dress was never a uniform. Those who were stricter about simplicity of dress were called "Plain Friends" and those who never adopted the plainest form of dress were known as "gay Friends".

Friends did not like wearing black because of its association with mourning. On the whole all Quakers would dress in a simple way, the trimmings and lace not used so the basic garment was plain. Quakers rejected the fads of fashion and frequently wore designs which had been in vogue fifty years before. Colours were usually muted, but by no means always grey. Soft brown, chocolate, sage green and cream were common.


Quaker Woman