​Puritan Attire, Shelter, Health & Food

Puritan Attire:

A Purtian's simple but certainly not dull attire
When thinking of Puritan attire, people have assumptions that they are "dull," "drab," and use "sad-colors." However, Puritan clothes were anything but the gloomy and sober colors people persumed they were. The colors were dark, but by no means dull. The Puritans' wardrobe consisted of colors such as: warm tones of brown, dark rich orange, purple, and "French green." From 1620-1640, the common attire for a Puritan man was a doublet and breeches, stockings or hose of dark gray or green wool, fastened to kneebreeches by points of black galloon or ribbon.

Women Clothes:

  • Puritan women wore clothes of gray, brown, purple, or russet colors.
  • Every women owned a white apron.
  • Their skirts were turned under and looped back to show their petticoats, which were all worn over a large apron.

Men's Clothes:

  • A loose and long linen shirt
  • Breeches were wore, either knee-length or an elaborate trunk hose
  • Doublets and coat
  • Boots or shoes
  • There were many types of hats that could be wore in or outdoor.
More about Men's Clothing


As the Puritans settled into their new land they soon came to realize that they would have to adapt to the bitter cold winters of New England. One of the ways they adapted to the weather was by building houses that were cohesive to the snow and new terrain. For example the roofs of the houses were sloped for when it snowed. At first, the Puritans lived in one room mud houses with thatched roofs, but by the mid 1600s they began to make two story wooden and brick houses which could withstand the New England weather. Because of the cold weather the fireplace was essential for heat and light. Also for light, the Puritans would use oil lamps which became popular because of the whaling industry.
Puritan Homes


When the Puritans first arrived in New England the Native Americans taught them how to plant corn and cultivate the tough New England terrain. They also taught the Puritans different methods of fishing and hunting. Fishing was an important aspect of Puritan life because most colonies were located along or near the Atlantic Coast. The Puritans survival depended on their hunting and farming skills, making them essential. In the early years of settlement the crops would sometimes fail.
  • Lobster
  • Oysters and Clams
  • Scallops
  • Eel were a particular favorite
  • Fish
  • Oats; Oats came in three different varieties: Pill-corn, Peel-corn, and sil-pee
  • Corn
  • Pumpkins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie
  • Squash
  • Potatoes; The Puritans didn't want people to eat potatoes too much because it was considered an aphrodisiac
  • Other vegetables; green peas, turnips, parsnips, carrots, cucumbers, cranberries
  • Turkeys(turkeys soon became rare because of the Puritans and their guns) , geese, ducks, pork, beans, strawberries, cherries
  • Fruits; apple(apple pie) plums, peaches, oranges, lemons, grapes, berries, cherries(cherry pies), pears


The Puritans brought small pox and gout with them from England. The diseases killed a large amount of Native Americans who had never before experienced the illnesses. Despite this the life expectancy for Puritans in New England was much longer than people in Old England. Birth rates went up and for the first time people were living long enough to see their children bear children. Like most civilizations the Puritans believed in male dominance, so when a women was with child she was said to have a rosy complextion if she carried a boy and a pale complextion if she carried a girl. During the Puritan times the most common way for a doctor to diagnose a patient was to test their urine.​ Also it was common for the the doctor to treat the patient by bloodletting. However women were often relied upon for basic cures of different types of ailments.


A loose tooth:
"First let them bleed, then take hartshorn or ivory, and red pimpernell, and bruise them well together, then put it into a linen cloth and lay it to the teeth and it will fasten them.

A headache:
"You shall take of rose-water, of the juice of camomile, of woman's milk, and of strong wine vinegar, of each two spoonfuls, mix them together well upon a chafing-dish of coals, then take a piece of a dry rose cake, and steep it therein, and as soon asi thath drunk up the liquour and is thoroughly hot, take a couple of sound nutmegs grated to powder, and strew them upon the rose cake, then breaking it into two parts, bind it on each side of the temple of the head, and so let the party lie down to rest, and the pain will in a short space be taken from him."

A heart related ailment:
"Take of borage, langdebeef, and calamint, of each a good handful, of hart's-tongue, red mint, violets and marigolds, of each half a handful, boil them in white wine, or fair running water, then ad a pennyworth of the best saffron, and as much sugar, and boil them over again well, then strain it into an earthen pot, and drink thereof morning and evening, to the quantity of seven spoonfuls."

Works Cited

"Crucmenclothing." Curriculum Units - Home. Web. 09 Mar. 2010. <http://www.curriculumunits.com/crucible/projects/crucmenc.htm>.
Earle, Alice M. Customs and Fashions in Old New England. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1893. Print.
Markham, Gervase. The English Housewife. Quebec: McGill-Queen's UP, 1986. Google Books. Web. 8 Mar. 2010.
"Puritan Life []." Ushistory.org. Web. 09 Mar. 2010. <http://www.ushistory.org/us/3d.asp>.