If you are looking for Iroquois clothing, you are coming to the right place. You have seen our presentation about Japanese clothing, Makah clothing, and Navajo clothing, which means you have seen also our dedication towards building a centre of attraction for everything that can be worn.
We want to present the fashion, the cultures and subcultures in a world wherein global village exists in line with our slogan – One World One Clothing. Now, let’s go into Iroquois garments by the in-depth study of the background of the ethnic.
Iroquois Clothing Overview
In the old days, the main clothing included shirts, pants, robes, capes and leggings. A feather in the men’s hair and jewelries all over the body was a common sight. Most of the men wore a ring in their nostrils. Women’s clothing encompassed skirts, and robes which were mostly made of deer skin. Iroquois women often wore a tunic called an overdress and moccasins were the common footwear for them.
Just like what happened in Mexico, the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) adapted the European costume like long cloth shirts, with some decoration of fancy beadwork and ribbon appliqué during the colonial times. As you can see from the picture below, the traditional dress a man wore includes feathers in the hair, a ring in the nostrils and jewelries over the body, a beautiful cape, a functional sash around the waist, breechcloth, and leggings and moccasins as the footwear.
Iroquois Clothing in Late 1600s and Early 1700s
This was the period when the Iroquoian culture underwent a substantial evolution with the advent of beads, trade cloth and other accessories from Europe countries. The early force that influenced the Iroquois styles was mainly French visitors.
After the deer skin moccasin soles almost ran out due to heavy use, the men and boys resorted to wearing a loincloth in the older days in their attempt to save the animals. However, they would wear moccasins when away from the village. Besides, they wore leggings too at times which consisted of two tubes of deerskin that covered both legs from ankle to hip as a protection from poison ivy, thorns and other harmful things. The old Iroquois men used cords to tie the leggings to the waist belt.
The leggings worn by women and girls only extended to the knee and tied above there since their skirts already protected the upper legs. Iroquois men wore Kilts, a type of clothing similar to skirts, only on formal occasions but not the item included in the daily Iroquois clothing.
The little information about their winter clothes was conjectured from some incomplete date and a few early sketches. In winter, both men and women probably wore some layers of fur-lined clothing with a blanket or robe pulled over the shoulders. But again, this fact was based on the GUESS from the incomplete data which has lost largely to time.
Was Feather Headdresses and Face Paint Included in Iroquois Clothing?
No. They did not wear long headdresses like the Sioux but the men did wear a feathered cap with various emblems to represent different tribes, which was well-known as a gustoweh. For example, a headdress with three eagle feathers represented a man as a Mohawk.
Iroquois women wore unique beaded tiaras at times. They would cut their hair when they were in mourning, either plaited into a long braid or had it long and loose. Tribal tattoos were often the decoration for the men over their faces and bodies while the women usually did not have paint or tattoo.
Other than the interesting Iroquois clothing mentioned for the ordinary men and women, the practice of the warriors was another interesting fact to know about. Iroquois warriors would leave a scalp lock or a crest down the middle of their head while they shaved it. This style was well-known as a roach, or a “Mohawk”. They would embellish this hairstyle at times with splayed feathers or synthetic roaches made of vibrantly colored porcupine and deer hair.
Modern Iroquois Clothing
Generally, they wear modern clothes like the Indian. Though Iroquois people still put on moccasins or beaded shirts in the modern days, they wear modern clothing like jeans instead of breechcloths. Other than that, you could only see they wear feathers in their hair during occasional events like dancing.
The evolution is somewhat similar to that of the transition from Traditional Mexican clothing to Mexican clothing, a pretty close lineage due to the European influence and globalization process. I hope this article is resourceful and helpful in any way and you are now clear about Iroquois clothing.