Comanche men wore breechclouts with knee-length flaps front and back, originally of soft-tanned deer hide (buckskin), later of trade cloth. Leggings were long and close-fitting, gartered below the knees and with triangular flaps at the side; long, twisted fringes and bottom tabs decorated these leggings, which sometimes also had a bunch of eagle feathers at the outer sides. Shirts were apparently not worn before the time that white traders came; then tanned buckskin shirts were worn until the end of the 19th century, adorned with long, twisted fringes except along the lower edge where a short fringe was cut. Shirts were often painted yellow or green, or a combination of both, while leggings were sometimes painted blue.
The women originally wore a knee-length skirt sewn up the side, with fringe along the seams and hem. A poncho-like top was worn over this. Later they adopted the typical ankle-length three-deerskin dress of other Plains tribes. Dresses were painted a buff colour or a muted lemon yellow. Short leggings were held up with garters and painted to match the moccasins.
Hard-soled moccasins were worn with ankle flaps attached and painted soft uppers. Very long fringes were attached at the heel, or even skunk tails (perhaps as a means of erasing tracks in the dust). Women often combined their leggings and moccasins to create boots with tops that could be folded down. Decoration consisted of a small amount of beadwork, paint and silver disks obtained from the traders.
Buffalo hides with the fur left on provided warm winter robes.
Women wore their hair long and loose, painting the central parting red. Men’s hair was worn in two braids with a long scalplock at the back – braids were wrapped with otter fur or strips of red cloth.
The Comanche never seem to have used much quill-work or beaded areas on their clothes, preferring to use paint and edges cut in distinctive long, twisted fringes.
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