Originally all the clothing was made of buckskin. Buckskin clothing was usually colored yellow. They would color it with mineral paint, and typically add beadwork. However, in the mid 1880’s, cloth became more popular.
Both men and women would wear a boot form of moccasin. Each boot was made of a single buckskin hide sewn down to a piece of rawhide. The boots would have a very long upper part that would be folded to the outside and do down to the foot and then all the way back up again. This would essentially form three layers covering from just below the knee to the thickest part of the calf. This boot style was preferred, but there were several types of moccasins, including a low cut type.
Men would wear a buckskin shirt. It would be made with a hide up front, a hide in back, a hide for each arm. There would be fringes along the shoulders and along the sleeves. And the front and back it would have part of the hide hanging down that would look like a bib. It would have fringe hanging down and was triangular in shape.
The bottom would be a breach cloth or chustai. It would be passed over a belt in front between the legs over a belt in back and hang down so the front end and the back end would be hanging down. The front end would be hanging just above the knees, and the back end would hang just below the knees. It would be wide enough so that the ends would meet on the waist line and it would be tied with a belt on the side. Sometimes they wore buckskin leggings, but it was not common. The leggings had fringes hanging down the sides.
Apache men wore cloth headbands. They would be about 2 or 3 inches wide, with the fabric bunched up and tied in the back, so the fabric would hang down in back.
In the mid 1800‘s, cloth became popular, and Apache men wore shirts similar to those worn by the Tarahumara Indians. These shirts were ordinarily white with red trim at the seams, and a pleated panel in the front which was derived from the Spanish. The shirts featured puffy sleeves, and a ruffle at the waist line, which would hang down to the upper thigh. They would typically be worn with a belt on the outside of the shirt.
During this period, Apache men would typically wear baggy Mexican style pants made of cotton, which would be tucked into the top of their moccasins.
Children wore a type of buckskin poncho that was sewn up the sides with a belt that was sewn onto it, so that they could pick up a child quickly if needed. As they grew older they would transition into adult clothing.
Apache women traditionally wore a 2-piece buckskin outfit with a poncho like blouse decorated with fringe on the side. It would feature a circular yoke with metal jingles on the edges. The top was made from one buckskin hide. Designs of triangles or half circle shapes were cut into the front and back of the top. The tail of the deer was left on and positioned on the top of the back. A buckskin hide was split and used as the fringe on either side of the top.
The skirt was constructed of 2- pieces of buckskin sewn together with the neck of the deer towards the waist and the tail of deer at the bottom. Sometimes there were fringes at the seems. Typically there would be a row of fringe about 8 to 10 inches above the bottom of the bottom of the skirt, with another row of fringe at the bottom of the skirt. There were also tabs on the left and right sides where the seam was, and a belt was used to hold it up. Women would almost always wear the boot type of moccasins.
As of the mid 1850‘s, Apache women would wear a blouse made of cotton calico in various colors. They preferred bright colors, and the shirts were usually torn into rectangles and sewn together. The blouse would have a front and back bodice, with a yoke, and long sleeves.
The skirt would have an upper tier that would actually be three sections of cloth from the waist-line to just below the knee. The next section would go from just below the knee to the ankle, and would usually be gathered. The waist line was then tied with a cloth band.