History of Native American Clothing

Native American clothing before the arrival of the Europeans was different from tribe to tribe. The climate where the tribe settled usually has an influence on the tribe’s clothing. However, there were several similarities. Usually, a person could be recognized for their clothing and the decorations on their clothes.

Native Clothing

The lifestyle and clothing of the Native Americans were dictated by the climate and the animals available to them. The materials and natural resources available to the tribes provided the food and clothing of the tribes. The primary material used in making Native American clothing were animal hides. Usually, they get the hides from the animals that they hunted for food. Most tribes such as the Iroquois and the Cherokee used the deerskin for their clothes. The Plains Indians, known for bison hunting, used buffalo skin. The Inuit of Alaska used caribou skin or seal.

The changing season and the weather also had an impact on the type of clothes that they wore. Native Americans from different tribes wore different clothing according to climates where they lived and the traditions they practiced. Other tribes learned to make clothing using weaving thread or plants. The tribes of Seminole, Apache, and Navajo learned to make tunics and woven blankets

The well-known items and garments used in making a ceremonial dress or traditional clothing include the breechcloths, deerskin dress, buckskin shirts, the fringes, animal furs and robes, feather headdresses, shawls, roach headdresses, headbands, belts, breastplates, and pouches. Often times, decorations were added such as feathers, ermine and rabbit furs, and porcupine quills. Glass beads were added when the Europeans arrived.

Native American Clothing of Men and Women

The Native American men usually wore a breechcloth. It was a piece of material tucked into a belt for front and back covering. In most areas, particularly in warm areas, men wore this cloth only. During winter and cold season, men would wear leggings for covering and keeping their legs warm. Throughout the year, men had no shirts or tops. They only wore cloaks during the cold season. The men of Plains Indians were known for their decorative and intricate war shirts.

Native Men Clothing

The Native American women wore leggings and skirts. They often wore tunics or shirts. Women from the tribes of Apache and Cherokee wore longer buckskin dresses. Footwear was also a part of Native American clothing. Most of them wore a kind of footwear made of soft leather known as a moccasin. In a cold area like Alaska, Native Americans wore a thick boot known as mukluk.

Native American Clothing women

Changes in Native American Clothing

Radical changes in Native American clothing started when the Europeans arrived. The Native American tribes became closer in contact with each other. They adapt styles and clothing that they liked from other tribes. Tribes had similar styles in clothing because they began to dress similarly. The exception to these adaptations was the headdresses used by each tribe.

Native American clothing facts, modern native American clothing, native American clothing men’s, native American clothing names, Native American inspired clothing, native American clothing company, Native American women’s clothing, native American dress costume