American Clothing Styles - 1600s AD - Seventeenth Century American Clothing answers questions

American Clothing - 1600s

Algonquin people with wool blankets

In the 1600s, most people still dressed the same as they had before, in deerskins. But in the south-west, the Pueblo and Navajo people began to buy wool clothing from the Spanish settlers, and the wool clothes were cheaper than deerskin, so more people were able to wear more clothes more of the time. People who lived on the East Coast, like the Iroquois and the Cherokee, also began to get wool clothes and blankets by trading with English, French, and Dutch traders. But women still wore shirts and skirts, or dresses, and the men still wore shirts and pants.

trapper doll
Native American doll of a European
trapper wearing deerskin (about 1850)

Just as many Native American people got new wool clothes from the settlers, many European hunters and settlers learned to wear deerskin from the Native Americans. Deerskin lasted better than wool clothes, and you could get right where you were, even if you were nowhere near a store. And you didn't have to sew hems on it, either.

Learn by doing: visit a Native American reservation and check out some traditional clothing
More American clothing styles:the 1700s

Bibliography and further reading about American clothing:

North American clothing before 1500 AD
North American Economy
American History home

Professor Carr

Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University

Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.

Professor Carr's PSU page

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