How did traditional catholic women dress throughout time?


I like to look for inspiration on how to sow my own clothes in a way that suits dress codes of today, but is inspired by the modesty of the past. The outfits of the past seemed to, more deliberately, keep modesty in mind, and I’ve lately been very inspired by old movies’ depictions of how women of ancient rome, egypt, middle ages and so on would dress. I just dont know where to look or what to search for. Anyone have any tips?


What exactly are you searching for? Sewing patterns? Outfits that someone has deemed modest? If you post an example of a modern outfit that you would like to copy I can try to find a pattern that could help.


Traditional Catholic women dressed as the other women did in their time and culture. There is not nor has there ever been a “traditional Catholic women’s uniform”, although some websites would like you to think so.


Traditional Catholic women throughout time?


If you’re looking for historical dress, head for the library. Books on costuming should have dress from various periods.


This illustrated history of costume was first published in German in the 1860s or 1870s. The English translation, published in 1930, looks like the kind of thing Hollywood studios might have had on their shelves as a reference book, among many others of the same kind.


In what ever their income allowed and was the common dress of the time.


Substitute ‘Muslim’ for ‘Catholic’ and you will gain more distance and begin to see the problem with this question. Consider how Muslim women dress in Morocco compared with Turkey compared with Saudi Arabia compared with Iran compared with India compared with Indonesia compared with China. Also, what do you mean by ‘traditional’? Perhaps a Sarmatian/szlachta noblewoman in 17th-century Poland? Or an indigenous woman in the Spanish or Portuguese empires in the New World in the 16th century?


How all Catholic women should dress: modestly. This link should help:


Yes, CA apologist Michelle Arnold nails it with the summary of the linked article, “We are not called to be mimics of the Blessed Mother, dressing as would be appropriate for a first-century Palestinian peasant woman (e.g., long veils, skirts to the floor, sandals). We are called to imitate the Blessed Mother in her virtues. In terms of modesty, that might mean dressing in a way that is appropriate to one’s culture and circumstances, not drawing undue attention to oneself either in one’s dress or undress, remaining circumspect about one’s own choices, and not denouncing the reasonable choices of others.”


How-did-traditional-catholic-women-dress-throughout-time? Depends of whose tradition!


Not particularly about Catholic women’s dress, but very interesting, examples of what people wore, from the 1400’s and beyond. I did not know that sleeves were laced or buttoned onto the main garment. :thinking:

This silhouette, in white with lace is very similar to my grandmother’s wedding dress in 1917.


Well, considering the weather so far this winter, I would say “long underwear or some type of heat-saving undergarments that protect the arms and legs, slacks with a thick weave to stop wind and sleet/freezing rain, at least two sweaters or sweatshirts, a thermal-lined coat with a hood, lined boots with traction that will allow the wearer to walk over ice and/or through deep snow, thermal waterproof gloves or mittens, a hat that covers the ears along with the head, and a scarf to protect the neck and bottom of the face. Anyone who will be outside for longer than a few minutes should consider wearing a face covering if the windchill is below zero. In the event of freezing rain, an umbrella is useful if the wind allows it. Sunglasses are helpful if there is snow or ice glare.”

And of course, if you are a woman, all of the above should be pretty and fashionable!

For those of you who think I’m kidding–I’m not. Northern Illinois has been such fun this winter. :snowflake: :cold_face:


It’s easiest to make specific searches according to a certain place and time frame. Particularly in previous centuries, there was also a difference between how people dressed according to social class and economic status, too. Italian peasant women or French aristocrats from the 18th century could have both had their share of devout Catholics but would not have dressed the same.

I work as an illustrator and often need visual references to work from when drawing historical figures, but doing the research is a lot of fun!

Also I think there’s a number of resources online among historical costume enthusiasts where they have sewing patterns that perhaps you could modify and customize. Though I’m terrible at sewing so I can’t offer any additional advice beyond that.


And people have to keep in mind, for a lot of history most of our references tend to be upper class women, and often focus on “going out” clothes. Not necessarily what your average woman would have worn while going about her day.


In what part of the world?


Quite simply depends on time and place. A "traditional Catholic’ woman of 1st-century Rome would have dressed very differently to a ‘traditional Catholic’ woman of Europe in the 1500s, and very differently again to a ‘traditional Catholic’ woman of America in the 1950s, which is different again to how a ‘traditional Catholic’ woman in Africa today might dress.

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