Plainness & Simplicity


Plainness & Simplicity

Some Friends have recently been dubbed the "New Plain" for their experimentation with Quaker plainness and simplicity. Tag: plain

Members: 239
Latest Activity: 11th month 12, 2022

Plain Links

The New Plain, a 2004 essay by Rich the "Brooklyn Quaker" that used the term to describe a new wave of plain dressing Quaker bloggers. Quaker Jane has become the best source of information on the why's and how's of this new wave of plain dressing Friends.

QuakerQuaker's Plain Resources page has a longer list of quotes and links about plainness.

Plain Friends Page, a wonderful collection of essays on plainness from Crossroads Friends Meeting in Michigan.

Discussion Forum

Plain dress ups and downs

Started by Barbara Smith. Last reply by ulric kaka 4th month 17, 2021. 40 Replies

Plain dressing Quakers in mainland Europe

Started by Carmen Beth. Last reply by Zaley Warkentin 5th month 1, 2018. 1 Reply

When does a Plain Friend take off his hat?

Started by W. Geoffrey O. Black. Last reply by Timothy Carter 7th month 27, 2017. 11 Replies

Simple Dressing

Started by Ray Lovegrove 11th month 25, 2014. 0 Replies

I thought this was an interesting article on modesty in women's dress.

Started by Patrice Wassmann. Last reply by Paula Roberts 9th month 6, 2014. 4 Replies

Featured Blog Posts on Plainness

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Meetups, Events, and Resources


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Comment by Sophia Shapira on 9th mo. 20, 2012 at 2:54pm

I have many times in my life *wanted* to go plain --- and even twice have *attempted* to do so --- but was always thwarted by knowledge that doing so would end up isolating me completely.

Comment by Zaley Warkentin on 3rd mo. 15, 2012 at 9:10am

Karen & Barbara - Thank you for sharing with me, I'm glad I'm not alone in this :) It was also the case for me Karen, that once I put on plain clothes I never wanted to go back to modern. I have at times bowed to pressure from my family and switched back though, but every time I was very aware of how uncomfortable I feel in my "normal clothes" occurred to me today, that perhaps one reason I still have them is to remind me why I gave them up in the first place... :)

Comment by Karen D on 3rd mo. 10, 2012 at 10:31am

Zaley - if your still nervous about letting them go, then wait longer. Or perhaps examine if it's a desire to hold on to things more than it is about the clothing. I have recently gone plain and it was more that as soon as I put the clothes on, I didn't want to change back again. I plan to get rid of most of my clothes except for a few items that will fit in one container for storage. That will balance both my commitment to simplify and still leave a safety net as well.

Comment by Barbara Smith on 3rd mo. 10, 2012 at 7:51am

Zaley - I also am finding that if I am still feeling uneasy about something like that it is because it is not yet time. There will come a time when you say "Today's the day." and you will wonder why it seemed so hard. On the other hand, Isabel wrote that we must be prepared for God to remove leadings just as he started them. So maybe you are not to toss them yet for a reason. This is why the only sure guide is The Guide.


PS I also have a box of other clothes - but mine are still in my room on their way to the attic. Maybe I'll keep them to prove to my grandchildren that I didn't always dress this way!

Comment by Zaley Warkentin on 3rd mo. 10, 2012 at 12:14am

I have been switching over to plain dress these past few months and I am feeling so much more at peace! I think my biggest hurdle to face this summer is to actually let go of my non-plain clothing, which is currently packed in boxes in the basement, awaiting donation for much too long now...any advice would be appreciated :)

Comment by clarissa ann wade on 3rd mo. 2, 2012 at 5:33pm

well i must that i have been lead to dress plain by my bible reading . now i am at the stage of trying to sew a plain dress by hand as i have no sewing machine  but all that i do is by faith that  and covering my head agree?

Comment by Meg Hill-Grigson on 7th mo. 21, 2011 at 12:58pm
I'm still at the figuring out how I am going to be simple stage. I haven't moved to the plain stage (and am not sure I am led to - at least not yet). However - reading all the posts here are a HUGE help in my journey of discernment so I really thank everyone for being so very up front and open. If I were to become plain I think my meeting would be very supportive of it. I would not be the first or only person who would be dressing in a plain manner - but ironically enough - I would be the first woman! Thank you all for your help and wisdom. I am going to keep reading and keep being simple - even if not yet plain! ; )
Comment by Paula Roberts on 7th mo. 20, 2010 at 10:00am
One of the things I've changed is where I get most of my clothes. Underwear is still coming from commercial sources, but I have found an excellent seamstress in Katie's Mercantile They have made slips, skirts, caps, snoods, and jumpers for me. The jumpers have been extremely versatile - appropriate for walking the dog, running errands, and probably when the semester starts, appropriate for teaching. They also make flannel shirts and petticoats and slip dresses. I anticipate ordering some flannel slip dresses so that I can wear my skirts in the winter.

The conversation has helped me remember a couple of other changes I've made along this same route. Versatility has become really important to me. For example, I have a soap that I use to wash dishes, wash floors, and can use to wash laundry. I've become friends with borax and white vinegar for household cleaning. I have a body soap that works as a body wash, shampoo, hand wash and dog wash!

So I guess sourcing and versatility have become very important to me on this Plain journey.
Comment by Javaughn Fernanders on 7th mo. 20, 2010 at 9:47am
Thank you Paula. I am trying to do a few things.
Become a better steward of my time and money by purchasing less clothes, even gleaning what I have.

Next, finding clothing that is not made by child labor or unfair practices.

Reflect my commitment to the testimonies of simplicity, and equality.
Therefore, my request is a practical one. I guess I want to know where people are with their simple dress (which is more what I am trying to do). Does one consider it simple to have one plain skirt then just wash it more frequently or have a few, and wash less. Yep, I'm just juggling these thoughts around and around as I take boxes of clothes to Goodwill.

I appreciate your post and am contemplating it as well.
Comment by Paula Roberts on 7th mo. 20, 2010 at 9:23am
I know for me going plain was full of traps and pitfalls. For example, I am very type A and it was easy to find myself going plain with plainness as the goal instead of the state of mind I sought. I think it is easy to get to that place where, for example, you are patriotic because you have a flag on your car. No doubt you gave patriotism a great deal of thought, but ended up buying yourself patriotic (the flag) instead of having a real change of your state of mind. Having established that this is a caution I write from a purely personal point of view, beware of trying to meet the criteria of plainness with the right colors, or the right number of items in your wardrobe, and thereby losing sight of the goal. Plainness, I have found, is much more about the journey than the destination.

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