Within the Navajo culture, the traditional clothing and dress habits for women would often include a cotton skirt. If the materials were available, the dress may be constructed of a pleated velvet instead. Women would then match a blouse with the skirt, often long-sleeved. For a personal touch, there may be a shawl worn as well.
Knee-high moccasins are common for women to wear in the Navajo culture. Foot moccasins were used for more every-day activities. Then personal jewelry choices would be made, with a sash belt or concho rounding out the look.
What Do Men Wear in the Navajo Culture?
For men, the traditional clothing options have fewer varieties. Shirts made of velveteen were common, paired with trousers, foot moccasins, and their preferred jewelry. Depending upon the occasion, a simple material tied around the waist, fitting like a pair of shorts, would be used for daily chores or certain celebrations.
Within the culture, the choices of clothing and fashion have developed along similar lines as the surrounding society. In the early 19th century, for example, the Navajo women began to transition to modern Mexican fashion choices. Woolen blankets and ponchos were worn, with some women choosing to even wear woolen dresses.
Later in the century, the influences of Caucasian settlers around the Navajo transitioned their fashion choices even further. One of the most popular additions to the culture from this influence was the calico skirt.
For many, the moccasins would be replaced with shoes as well.
What About Modern Navajo Fashion?
Most men and women within the Navajo culture wear something contemporary as they go about their day. They tend to reserve the traditional elements of their dress and culture for certain social gatherings or ceremonies.
That means you’ll find men and women both wear t-shirts frequently. Skirts are common for women, while men may wear trousers or jeans. Women tend to wear lighter blouses to complement their look, while men tend to prefer polo shirts or a button-down shirt if a more formal presentation is required.
It should be noted, however, that the Navajo culture still believes that appropriate clothing is necessary to encourage help and recognition from the Great Spirit. It is only the definition of “appropriate” that has evolved over the years.