Traditional Native American clothing was mostly made of animal skin. The Native Americans used every part of an animal they killed, with the primary purpose of a slaughter to be for provision of food and clothing. Deerskin was the most common animal skin used in clothing and the tanning process was a dubious task performed only by the women of the tribe. Considering the work involved, it's little wonder Native American clothing was a valuable trade amongst tribes.
The styles of Native American clothing varied with the different tribes and it was entirely possible to identify a tribe by their clothing style, headgear and ornamentation. In fact tribal chiefs were recognized more for their headdresses than any other garment. Most men wore breechcloths and possibly leggings in colder climates, women always wore dresses and moccasins and boots was their footwear, which was also made from animal skin.
Some Native American clothing garments had specific purposes as well. If a tribe was at war, they had special articles of clothing they would wear and the same was true for hunting and ceremonial rituals. Native American clothing was often adorned in turquoise beads and the finer articles of clothing were frequently used in trading.
When the colonists settled in North America and the Native Americans began to interact with the settlers, Native American clothing became incorporated with European styles. Most likely because the Natives would trade with the settlers for shirts, hats, or coats. Still, in tribal ceremonies the traditional clothing and ornamentation remained important to the Native Americans.
Certain articles of Native American clothing are valuable parts of history and culture today. Native American women had exceptional talent for weaving intricate patterns in to blankets and for choosing just the right shades of dyes and incorporating various stitches into their garments. There are a number of sources from which Native American clothing can still be purchased today.