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There are a couple references in the Gospels indicating what Jesus wore, but not many. His undergarment was 'seamless' according to John 19:23. He also may have had the 'fringes' or 'tassels' of the garment that Jews wore, as we see a woman touching a 'fringe' of his outer garment in Mathew 9:20. Many think this indicates that he followed this Mosaic law with regard to dress:

The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. (Numbers 15:37-38, NIV)

However, if Jesus wore these tassels, they would not have been like those 'extra long ones' wore by the Pharisees, for Jesus said:

“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long. (Matthew 23:5, NIV)

So, here are some references to lead to various sub-questions:

  • Did Jesus wear sandals? Would he have worn a Jewish turban outside?
  • Would anyone one notice that he was a teacher by his dress, or was he just a regular looking guy?
  • Or, is this all mere speculation and unanswerable?

The question is, if we were casting a Jesus movie, what clothes did Jesus most likely wear as a combined set? The question is not pointed at 'one' specific article, but the combination of articles and the impression, if any, that they would make on a stranger, whether Jew or Gentile.

Note: A related question about the phylacteries or tefillin can be found here.

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I assume you are only referring to His earthly existence, so things like golden sashes are out? –  Wikis Oct 1 '12 at 15:38
    
@Wikis - Yes, just earthly clothes. Wondering the overall impression. Regular Jew?, Rabbi? Might require some research into Jewish dress at the time compared to the gospel accounts. Or some Christian writers pre-canned analysis on it. –  Mike Oct 1 '12 at 16:24
    
Related: Did Jesus wear pants? –  Jon Ericson Nov 13 '12 at 21:14
    
jesus wore some kind of robes made of some type of material like cotton and probably leather sandals –  user3974 Feb 18 '13 at 11:19

5 Answers 5

He was not telling us NOT to wear Tzit Tzit or Tefillin. He was saying NOT to be like the P'rushim. To not be hypocrites like they were. It is always good to read the whole chapter in context rather than taking one liners. The WHOLE paragraph reads:

Then Yeshua addressed the crowds and his talmidim: 2 “The Torah-teachers and the P’rushim,” he said, “sit in the seat of Moshe. 3 So whatever they tell you, take care to do it. But don’t do what they do, because they talk but don’t act! 4 They tie heavy loads onto people’s shoulders but won’t lift a finger to help carry them. 5 Everything they do is done to be seen by others; for they make their t’fillin broad and their tzitziyot long, 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, 7 and they love being greeted deferentially in the marketplaces and being called ‘Rabbi.’

Yeshua also said, that our righteousness must exceed that of the Torah Teachers. In other words, "Do as they say and not as they do".

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it is not appropriate for us to convey a falsehood regarding the clothing of the people of old including the Messayah.It is imperative to accept that weaving looms had not been invented. The only clothing material available was animal skin.That is what the Messayah wore. Even David as king put on such. Remember Adam's clothing was made of after they sinned.

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Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

    
Welcome to Stack Exchange, we are glad you are here. Please consider registering an account to fully take advantage of what this site has to offer. Also, be sure to check out the site tour. This site is a little different than other sites such as discussion boards; in particular, a good answer should be backed by references, not just state your opinion. –  ThaddeusB Aug 5 at 14:43
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Welcome to the site. I think you need a source for this kind of claim. Plus, David and Jesus lived centuries apart, so I'm not sure what point you hope to make with that. Please edit this to add a source. –  fredsbend Aug 5 at 14:52
    
Adam lived millennia before Christ, so again, that has little to do with Jesus. –  fredsbend Aug 5 at 14:54
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I think you should check your time-line of the Old Testament. Cloth and even the making and dying of it is talked about thousands of years before the Jesus was around. Saying the only clothing available was animal skins is a patently ridiculous notion both the Biblical narrative and all other known history of the last few thousand years. –  Caleb Aug 5 at 16:17

We can also see in John 13:4 that He removed His garments before washing the disciples feet. The ESV states that these were His "outer" garments. Many theories could be developed here from cleanliness to humility. Mine borders in the middle of the two. We know that this would have been a filthy task from the conditions of which the disciples had walked, however the "rolling up of the sleeves" idealism here seems to apply as well. Sort of like the "business man" stopping on the side of the road in order to help out with a flat tire. He could have easily "supervised" the event, but thought enough to do the task out of compassion.

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Welcome to C.SE. Nicely sourced and answered! –  Affable Geek May 13 '13 at 16:15

We can tell from the gospels that Jesus 'looked like a Jew' as it was easy to tell that he did not look Samaritan. Therefore the question really asks what was the dress of the ancient Hebrews, as evident within the gospels themselves, particularly Jesus, not all Jews dressed alike.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food). The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans).(John 4:7-9, NIV)

It is possible that the facial appearance of Jews could generally be differentiated from the Samaritans but it seems more likely that his dress made it evident to the woman.

According to the Jewish historian Alfred Edersheim, an easy way to distinguish the Jews from the Samaritans was that:

The ‘fringes’ on the Tallith of the Samaritans are blue, while those worn by the Jews, whether on the Arba Kanphoth or the Tallith, are white. The Samaritans do not seem to have worn phylacteries (Menach. 42 b). But neither did many of the Jews of old—nor, I feel persuaded, our Lord (comp. Jost Gesch. d. Judenth. vol. 1. p. 60). (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Chapter 8, Page 409)

In addition to the outer garment with its distinctive fringes, ancient Hebrew references have been found that gave directions for undressing and dressing in the bathroom. According to these instruction there were typically consisted a total of five articles:

the shoes, the head-covering, the Tallith or upper cloak, the girdle, the Chaluq or under-dress, and the Aphqarsin or innermost covering. (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Chapter 26, Page 621)

These garments match up, more or less with the number distributed among the soldiers at the cross. (John 19:23)

Considering that Jesus made negative observations about dressing in such a way as to get attention (Mathew 23:5), it appears he looked like a regular guy, or rather regular Jew. There was really nothing special about what he wore. Nothing to make him seem pretentious and nothing to make him seem like an ascetic like John the Baptist, who was noted for his more rugged dress. Jesus dressed as an ordinary Jew.

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From the Gospel of John, we learn that He wore sandals:

"...He is the one who comes after me, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”

John 1:27

He also wore a single piece undergarment, and apparently four other items of clothing:

When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

John 19:23

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He also, temporarily, had a crown of thorns and a purple robe. –  Wikis Oct 1 '12 at 15:37
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+1 for noticing the four pieces, on top of the inner piece. –  Mike Oct 1 '12 at 16:20
    
@Mike: thanks, I didn't notice it myself until I answered your question... –  Wikis Oct 1 '12 at 17:25
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I'm pretty sure the John 1 quote is intended metaphorically. Not that I doubt Jesus wore sandals, but I don't think that scripture could be used to prove it. –  DJClayworth Oct 2 '12 at 0:50

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