So I and two others are working on a time machine, and I accidentally press a wrong button and whoosh, all my friends and I are in 17th century Salem, Massachusetts.

Nobody sees us appearing out of thin air, so we aren’t burned to death on sight. But we are all wearing modern day clothes as we weren’t able to change. I’m wearing a pair of jeans and a hoodie, my female friend is wearing leggings and a crop top, and my other friend is wearing a letterman jacket. We don’t have any food or supplies, so we must go to Salem as it is the closest town. It isn’t during the witch hunt time, but it’s very close, about 1691.

How would people back then most likely react if the saw people dressed that way?

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    $\begingroup$ A more important question for anyone born after 1972 is, "How quickly would you all die of small pox?" Heck... since vaccination protection diminishes over the decades, it's a good question for every time traveler. $\endgroup$
    – RonJohn
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 14:49
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    $\begingroup$ Worth noting: 17th Century Massachusetts was run by puritans. Non-puritan clothes even of the proper time-frame would have been extremely looked-down upon, let alone non-puritan future clothing. $\endgroup$
    – Michael W.
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 18:55
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    $\begingroup$ @jdunlop Forget the accent, the language (and culture) has changed a lot in 300 years. I doubt the average person from our era would be able to understand them (and vice versa), to say nothing of the unmarried mixed-sex grouping. I'm not sure, but I think the punishment for sodomy in Puritan Massachusetts was similar to the punishment for witchcraft, so passing themselves off as "not witches" might not be enough. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 21:49
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    $\begingroup$ But... Doctor Who does it all the time. "Here we are then! Whoops, wrong century! Ah, never mind, let's go and meet people!" So.. does this mean that, ehm, Doctor Who might not always be historically accurate? $\endgroup$
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 11:01
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    $\begingroup$ We shouldn't fall to the other extreme. Yes, there would be some danger of dying of smallpox or being declared as a witch, but don't over-exaggerate it. It seems like a fad today to say traveling back a few centuries would mean a 100% chance of dropping dead because of an illness, being burned as a witch, or not understanding a single word from the local dialect. Imagine if this question was asked in the year 2300 about people going back to early 2000's America, and most answers and comments would be that the time-travelers would surely be killed within a few days in a school shooting. $\endgroup$
    – vsz
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 6:42

12 Answers 12


Zippers! Zippers have not yet been invented. Do keep that in mind. If there are any obvious zippers, this will be a source of wonderment. People were a lot more sharp eyed than you think back then, so they aren't going to miss that. Hoodies come in many different styles--some have zippers in the front, some are pullovers. The ones on pants might not be noticed but any front and center would be. EDIT: If you want a year on these they were introduced in 1893 at the Chicago Wold Fair, but they weren't produced commercially on a widespread basis until 1917, and even then they were only on boots and used to seal tobacco pouches. It wasn't until the 1930s that they began to be used on clothes, and that was mainly pants.

Snaps! A letterman's jacket features snaps. I don't know if you realize this but...snaps were not patented for at least another hundred years. While they have been intermittently used in history, in this time and place, it is pretty likely that in Salem they have never seen one. EDIT: The Chinese invented these way back in 210 BC, but they weren't commonly used, nor was the usage widespread. In Europe it wasn't until about the 1830s and 40s that they began to appear on theatrical costumes for quick changes, and then the usage moved to gloves. These early snaps were not reliable and tended to rust, and therefore were not all that popular. In the late 1800s and early 1900s the design was improved and began appearing on work clothes mainly, and on cowboy style clothing as well. In 1690s Salem they would not exist.

Lycra/nylon/stretch Any material with stretch to it is a goshdarn modern MIRACLE. Women were really, really good at eyeing fabric and qualities at this time. While your leggings and crop top girl might be branded as a slut, a kind woman that finds her would want to dress her immediately, knowing that she would be hurt otherwise. Then she would question her manner of dress for certain. Next, she'd be wanting a closer look at the fabrics. Actually, she might even offer clothing of hers to borrow in exchange just for a closer look at those leggings. Seriously! EDIT: Most stretch materials are a product of the 1900s, and the most usable are invented/widespread after 1950.

Blue Jeans So, the first use of the words blue jeans are like in 1790. But it's possible that blue work fabric might have been around for longer than that. Certainly, the thickness and type of fabric is one that your Salem natives might recognize as work pants. EDIT: The indigo industry has been working to undercut the woad industry in Europe for about 200 years. There was a ban on using it for quite some time that's lifted in the 1600s. During the 1600s the major producer of it in the Americas was Spain, not England. England was just getting into the business and it wasn't until the 1740s that it was grown in South Carolina by the French. In the 1700s it was big business, but in 1690, in an American colony established by the English, it wasn't as common as you might think--blue was produced mainly by woad, not by the distinctive indigo. Workers in Europe used similar material (mostly dyed brown or dark), but for a long time indigo was considered a luxury dye. Workers in Italy and Spain were more likely to use a blue jean type material. The late 1600s and early 1700s is precisely when there was this shift of it being more common--but in an American British established colony in 1690, the indigo blue jean material is odd.

Shoes You have forgotten shoes. Let me just say that if anyone is wearing sneakers...people will be mesmerized. Rubber has not been invented. Basically, everything about a sneaker is the result of an industrial age. The rivets, metal, plastic, rubber, colors, everything about them is wildly exotic and beyond the current tech of the day.

Socks Yep. depending on the type of sock, yes, your socks are astounding. If they have stretch, they are a miracle. Color, pattern, and everything else should be taken into account. Machined socks are...quite incredible. There's only one seam in the toe, and sometimes there isn't even that depending on how they are made. The weave is sometimes terribly fine and some socks are even a little fuzzier on the inside vs. the outside, even if they are thin. EDIT: Do some research on socks of the day, and stocking styles. Socks during this time were much higher, partially using the knee to keep them up. Decide on the exact style and type (because there's tremendous variation) and compare that to what was fashionable and available during this time. Any elastic stretch material, which is common in today's socks would be a big deal. Keep in mind that what's common in the 1700s and 1800s is not at all what they would have in 1690--machine works and the industrial age in Europe radically changed the world of socks and everything else very quickly. The Puritans favored wool socks. Using stays, ties and other things to keep socks up was common. Some socks had a built in string you would tie to keep them in place. They liked over-the-knee socks best, and would use the buckle or ties, aka garters, on their pants leg to keep their socks from slipping.

Details, details & Class You've painted a general picture of what they are wearing, but it's the details that will also matter. Are there any neon colors included in anything? Is there red? And if so how bright/dark? (Contrary to popular beliefs, Puritans did wear color, it was just fairly muted in tone.) Do the leggings end in lace? Lots of leggings have a lace band at the end or decorative detail--lace was outlawed for certain classes. Just saying leggings or just saying a t-shirt doesn't cut it. Anything with words, as one commenters pointed out--something like the Nike phrase "Just Do It!" would be very, very odd to these folks. The jeans, if they are ripped, if they are light blue or stone washed, or distinctive dark indigo -- these are details that will have an impact.

The recently lifted Sumptuary laws in England are a specific point of contention for Puritans. Sumptuary laws told certain classes what they were and were not allowed to wear. See, just before this, in the Renaissance a lot of fabrics and colors became available to the lower classes and to upstart merchants. It upended society, because prior to the Renaissance you could tell who was a quality person by what they wore, at a glance. So, laws were put in place to prevent people of certain professions from wearing certain things which, though they might be able to afford them, implied a higher class status. By the mid 1600s a lot of these were finally repealed, as they didn't work much anyway. But your Puritans don't think the way the rest of Europe did. Order, status, calling, all those mattered to Puritans. So while Europe was taking Sumptuary laws off the books in the 1620s, and getting more and more elaborate in dress, us Americans were getting stricter about what we allowed or not, and outlawing slashed sleeves. By 1690, courts in America were finally a bit more relaxed about actually prosecuting a lower class lady who wore a silk kerchief (though I think she was still arrested, just not tried).

The person you'd want to meet is someone such as Hannah Lyman...By 1690 she'd be a middle-aged or old woman...

IN 1676, HANNAH LYMAN WAS in trouble. She was among three dozen or so young women who had been summoned to court: They had flouted the laws of the colony of Connecticut by wearing silken hoods. Among these “overdressed” women, Lyman was, apparently, the most rebellious and strong-willed. She appeared in court wearing the very silk hood that she had been indicted for donning.

The sneakers will mark you as wealthy, but the jeans will mark you as workers. You could be from a far land with different customs, but you can bet there will be questions. Lots and lots of questions and people will pay close attention to your answers as well. Your folk are wearing a mix of class indicators, which means that people will immediately want to categorize them. During this time in Europe there were people who dressed beyond their status, however, the ones who most commonly mixed high and low in a bizarre way were often pirates. Saying that you are from Europe and that this is the new fashion might work though, because Americans really expected all kinds of bizarre fashions, changing very quickly from their perspective, as they are cut off from European centers of fashion.

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    $\begingroup$ Blue jeans are made with a twill weave cotton dyed with indigo. Nothing about this is weird for the 17th century. A knit sock is not a miracle. WTH They were common place. Knits were a thing. An extremely fine knit would be a sign of wealth. I'm not seeing a lot of real clothing history in this answer which is why I downvoted it. $\endgroup$
    – Mazel
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 20:53
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    $\begingroup$ Socks with lycra or even elastics would be astonishing. Socks were held up with garters. Lower class working people's sons were tied at the top by string. "Lastex" socks were introduced in 1929, and didn't fully rep;ace garters until the 1950's. $\endgroup$
    – Thucydides
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 5:23
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    $\begingroup$ @Mazel Stretch is a miracle. Blue jean material was not at all common in 1690. The first mention of it is LATE in the 1700s nearly a century AFTER the poster is asking about it. How awesome socks are will depend on the type of sock. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 5:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Thucydides Precisely, most modern socks are a dang marvel compared to what they had. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 5:25
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    $\begingroup$ @PaulJohnson It's news when ships come in, even though several can come in at a time. Some people actually remember the names of all the ships and particulars as a pastime. You can claim to come in from another port (like Boston) but you have to remember that word of mouth and memorization was how people learned most things. "A distant land" is vague. These people notice vague. They'll want a specific country name or area. Total population of entire state less than 50,000. Boston had less than 5,000. Salem town and village about 2,000. Everyone knows everyone. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 16:15

Their reaction strongly depends on how you behave and act. If you are smart enough they may help you and spare your lives.

Your clothes would look odd even in the 50s of the previous century. If you are creating a time machine I hope you are clever enough to realize that. Else face the consequences described in others' answers.

Your wisest action plan may be:

  1. Get naked and burn your clothes (or bury them somewhere if you may need them later).
  2. Seek help, pretending some brigands robbed you, leaving you naked under the sun (or the rain).

Your likely pale skin will hint you are all gentlemen not used to work under the sun, and would probably make them forgive some odd bodily features you may still have (first thing that comes to mind is your female friend may have some waxing in the deep South...)

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    $\begingroup$ They might just think she had to shave it off because she is in the profession and got infected with crawlies. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 8:44
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    $\begingroup$ Hair plucking was quite common in various areas of the (especially female) body throughout history. While I doubt the puritans were into it, they would surely have been aware that it was a thing that (decadent, sinful) people did. $\endgroup$
    – kingledion
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 13:46
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    $\begingroup$ There is a second benefit to this. By removing modern clothes it reduces the chance of cultural contamination that could result in butterfly effects. $\endgroup$
    – Anketam
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 15:44
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    $\begingroup$ @Anketam, their mere presence there already enables a butterfly effect. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 15:45
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    $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch So... your proposal for a mixed-sex group of modern day folks infiltrating a Puritan colony 300 years ago would be to strip naked? Interesting approach, but I think it would cause as many problems as it solves. (You evil sodomite, you.) $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 21:52

You and your male friend are wearing clothing that will be seen as extremely exotic, but not a problem in and of itself. They're obviously a variation on the "pants and a shirt" that's been acceptable male attire for centuries, but different enough from everything they've seen that you don't fall into any obvious social group (though you're clearly not upper-class).

Your female friend, on the other hand, is in serious trouble: "leggings and a crop top" will be treated as if she's running around naked. Your best hope is to convince people she's a madwoman rather than a (underdressed) prostitute.

(This is assuming all three of you are light-skinned. If any of the three of you has obvious African features, it'll be assumed that they're a runaway slave wearing stolen clothing. New England's famed abolitionist sentiment is still a century in the future, so the "runaway slave" will be held while people search for their master, and the other two will be imprisoned for assisting a runaway.)

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    $\begingroup$ "Clearly not upper class"? The quality of materials of modern clothing would suggest otherwise. No-one could make clothing like ours in that era, so their clothing wouldn't be seen as stolen. They certainly wouldn't fit into the time or location easily. $\endgroup$
    – a4android
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 8:24
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    $\begingroup$ So gentlemen but definitely Foreign. That would also explain your strange accents and the attire of the...lady. Errybody knows that wimmin' in forn' parts have no dignity at all. $\endgroup$
    – Borgh
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 9:30
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    $\begingroup$ I suspect that, even if black, if you could pull off the "exotic foreign dignitary" thing you'd be ok. Even during the worst of segregation there are stories of well-off black people pretending to be foreign dignitaries and suddenly being accepted into white-only restaurants etc. Rich+foreign=ok. People expect strange clothes from foreigners. Strange high quality fabric /colors (by that days standard) lends legitimacy and it would also cover the language difference. Covering up the woman though would be top priority. Give her a jacket and try to acquire the most modest skirt you can find. $\endgroup$
    – Murphy
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 12:39
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    $\begingroup$ New England's abolitionist sentiment is still in the future, but consider that many people at this time have no exposure to slavery, at all. They grew up in all white England or all white New England. According to wikipedia "The slave population in Massachusetts was under 200 in 1676, 550 in 1708." So the people are probably more curious than racist at this point. It is the familiarity that breeds the contempt of racism. $\endgroup$
    – kingledion
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 13:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Murphy give her the Letterman Jacket to start with, that's already to hand. $\endgroup$
    – Baldrickk
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 16:54

A better route would be to avoid the Puritans if at all possible and seek out the Native Americans instead (in this place and era, perhaps the Narragansett Tribe).

Although by this point the Aboriginals would have little reason to trust the white man, coming as a small, unarmed group in obvious distress will make them much less wary, and in general, unless you give them some reason to think otherwise, they will likely be willing to offer the hospitality of the tribe.

Since you would already be having difficulties with language and customs with the Puritans, the exotic spectacle you put on with your clothing and language (and possibly artifacts in your pocket) will likely mystify and amuse your Aboriginal hosts, rather than trigger disgust or fear. With the Puritans you are close enough to trigger an "uncanny valley" response, while the tribe will see you as just another, if slightly odder, version of the settlers.

Diligently learn the language and customs, and gratefully offer to trade your clothes for the sorts of clothing they wear (which is much more practical for the environment and climate anyway, you will be wet a lot of the time and I note no rain gear, and once it gets cold you will freeze to death).

enter image description here

Narragansett meeting the Puritans. The leader does not seem amused

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    $\begingroup$ Good advice. I am just wondering how they would find the native Americans. They would have to ask a Puritan which way to the nearest Indian village, and so they would have to survive at leas tone Puritan encounter. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 17:50
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps not. The Puritans are going to be concentrated in villages, while the natives are roaming the woods. It may be likely the natives will find our intrepid party in the woods first, and bring them to the tribe. If the party has matches or a cigarette lighter and starts a small fire to stay warm, the native will likely converge on the spot to see who is on "their" territory. Otherwise, find a stream and follow it, human settlements are usually near water of some sort. $\endgroup$
    – Thucydides
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 19:32
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    $\begingroup$ Thucydides - the New England Indians also farmed and lived in villages. They did go hunting the woods, but I think that after King Philip's War not much more than a decade earlier, Puritans would not welcome any Indians found in the Puritans's woodlots. Indians would not normally be found near Salem Village, anymore than white men would normally be found loitering near Indian villages. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 24, 2018 at 18:34

I guess this quickly turns into a bottomless pit of (possibly dangerous) awkwardness...
If you were not seen initially, hide your female friend and send one out to get supplies (clothing).
While, as I suspect is true for humans in general, groups of people quickly turn into dangerous stubborness, fired by beliefs and suspicion and such, meeting a single person to overcome your (or rather your females friend's) initial clothing issue might turn out to be not entirely chanceless. People were able to think for themselves at that time, after all.
Still, how would you go explain yourselves? You are most likely not acustomed to the language and the dos and donts implied, making that even harder for your group. Being under some sort of military service could help with the male clothes. Finding a tailor could help, they might even be interested in the fabric if they are open minded. But, apart from your clothes (and general style and behaviour), opening your mouth would deem your group being even more exotic (with 'exotic' being the best outcome I guess)...

Update with some additional thoughts: Finding a tailor could very well be worth a try since they might actually be willing to trade in turn for your clothes (being very sophisticated in quality for that time). Otherwise, as stated in other answers, being robbed is probably the most feasonable story to tell, trying to save your (preferrably initially hidden) 'wifes' decency by getting some clothes, while looking robbed yourself (ripping your clothes etc., hiding some of the more modern elements of it). That is also a good reason for having no money or trade! I think it would be wise then to choose people that would understand being...well, poor. A farmer's wife could be someone who has pity for your female friend. Asking a fine gentlemen could easily backfire on you being dirty beggars...

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    $\begingroup$ Plus 1 for the language barrier $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 8:55
  • $\begingroup$ For the guys, the clothing + language barrier + unfamiliarity with customs can all be explained by being itinerant traders from [insert exotic location here]. $\endgroup$
    – Mark
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 9:03
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    $\begingroup$ @Mark maybe...but, trading what? prostitutes perhaps (sorry, bad pun). point is, while fear and superstition of the wild might be your ally, it would need profound con artist skills to overcome suspicion, even of being a trader from...where, europe? people hate europe. asia? not likely. a place over the edge of the world no one has heard from? blasphemy! realistically, people are not stupid (within their zeitgeist's limits)...it's gonna be tough...,) $\endgroup$
    – t.ry
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 9:19

Well it looks like, you have landed your selves in the middle of the festival of corruption known as the Salem Witch Trials. And as you can predict being in that time you can predict that it would be a fun time to break the rules but as for your clothing well your female friend would be the one to suffer the most. I doubt she would be called out as a witch but some disciplinary action could arise from such revealing clothing as leggings and a crop top, she may even be accused of prostitution or trying to seduce the men. As for your male it would be considered weird only way it would give away you were not from this time period is if it was a brightly colored hoodie. Despite common belief the Puritans didn't constantly dress as if they were going to a funeral everyday, they wore color clothing (as colorful as was feasible at that time) so your biggest problems would be to brightly colored clothing and the crop top and leggings.

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    $\begingroup$ Yeah, even at the begging of making this story I pretty much assumed my female friend would have a rough time $\endgroup$
    – Bryan
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 5:22
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    $\begingroup$ If you could somehow come up with a reason for her to have lost her over clothes, such as being attacked by some Indians while bathing, "I swear that we fought the heathens off but one of them stole her clothes along with all of our supplies," it might let her off with a very stern talking to. It would help if she is given the letterman jacket to protect her decency and asks for proper clothes immediately. $\endgroup$
    – Dan Clarke
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 6:31
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    $\begingroup$ @DanClarke yeah that could work but you would want to roll in some mud, and cut your face and cloths to look convincing enough $\endgroup$
    – Amoeba
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 6:34
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    $\begingroup$ @Dan Clarke - Salem Village, now called Danvers, was just a few miles from the busy seaport, repeat SEAPORT, of Salem. The last big Indian war in New England was King Philip's war in 1675-78, when many frontier towns and villages were abandoned and the settlers moved back toward the coast, but I doubt if the raiders ever reached as far as Salem Village. I think people would be a little suspicious of claims of a war party there, and those who believed the story at first would get angry when their searches turned up no evidence of one. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 22:59
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    $\begingroup$ @M.A.Golding, the seaport area had 2000 people in it, not really enough to get lost in easily. And you can replace Indians with bandits. It is a long shot but the best one they've got. $\endgroup$
    – Dan Clarke
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 23:15

Your female character would probably end up in the pillory, or be sentenced to hard labor. enter image description here Your male character could possibly face either being publicly flogged for associating with such a woman of ill repute, or be "ran out on a rail," possibly after being tarred and feathered. Contrary to popular belief, a tarring and feathering was not comical for the person receiving it, but rather a very painful scalding from hot tar. He could expect to be in a high level of discomfort for several weeks and possibly develop infections and disfiguring scars.
enter image description here


You would be seen a foreigners

Common folk did not have much knowledge of the world outside their country/society until very recently. This is a time when travel is hard and expensive. Never mind video, photos have not even been invented yet. Very few of the people can even read. You might speak English, but you have an odd choice of wording and possibly accent given the three century gap. Add in your odd clothing, and you will probably be labeled a Frenchman or Spaniard, come to invade England's righteous colony. At which point you will probably be executed.


Give the girl the hoodie, so you have a shirt and jeans. Now hope that your shirt is solid coloured, preferably long sleeved, and your shoes aren’t too distinctive if thouroghly muddied. I would suggest giving your female friend some jewelry, so you can use it for trade. Asume you did that, you can go into town with the jewelry, and find a jewellers shop to sell it. Having done this, acquire clothing more ypical of the setting. Maybe claim that you are siblings, as this might seem less odd. Say your clothing has been damaged by travel. Get new shoes for yourselves, unless yours are leather, as it would be enormously odd otherwise. Take the clothing back to your friends, have everyone change, and continue. As others have mentioned, the fabrics and or snaps and zippers will be priced highly, and you may be able to sell them.


Whores, Transvestites, Sinners, and maybe a Witch

I’m wearing a pair of jeans and a hoodie, my female friend is wearing leggings and a crop top, and my other friend is wearing a letterman jacket.

Being that its 1691 Puritan occupied Salem, witchcraft I am sure would be everyone's go to reaction for this scenario. While witch craft is indeed plausible I do not think it would necessarily be the first reaction. In order to be accused of witchcraft there would have to exist a perceived air of the supernatural about your character. Attire alone does not generate such suspicion. However attire did lead to a whole bunch of other horrible assumptions and treatments back then.

my female friend is wearing leggings and a crop top

She would be considered a Whore

In those days even the sexually liberal attire of the French consisted of heavy full body dresses. While the crop top would be acceptable to the French the form fitting leggings and short dress would be considered fairly risqué for the times. Now consider this in an ultra restrictive puritan setting where lavish clothing was considered a sign of immorality and your friend would quickly be written off as a whore.

Now what they would do with a whore is a little ambiguous and not singular but certainly extreme:

  • Likely a few unwanted aggressive sexual advances and maybe rape (if you are lucky)
  • Branded as a whore
  • Stripped and beaten publically
  • Certainly breathtakingly strong misogynistic remarks
  • hung
  • Turned over to the magistrate (which basically is all the above and worse[exotic torture... the iron pair for starters])
  • publically whipped

If you are extremely lucky you will happen upon a convent or strong merciful religious family and if you play your cards extremely well they will take you in as a lost sheep and help you find Jesus. To which you will graciously accept with full penance if you ever wish to see the light of day unharmed.

my other friend is wearing a letterman jacket.

If your other friend is a man he would probably get off scot free. He would probably get treated as a foreigner and potentially perceived as a dandy because of his luxurious attire (the colors). The puritans would likely treat him some form of contempt for his lavish attire but that's about it. If she is a she then it would be the same as the next:

I’m wearing a pair of jeans and a hoodie

You would likely be considered a Transvestite Sinner

In the 1600's and well into the 1800's women were forbidden from wearing mens clothing for multiple reasons. Ignoring the political reasons, I will focus on the religious reasons:

Cross-dressing is cited as an abomination in the Bible in the book of Deuteronomy (22:5), which states: "A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor.."

Now we might consider today that prostitution is worse than cross dressing however this was not that case back then. Back then prostitution was in some ways an accepted trade(yes revel in the irony from the above). Whereas, cross dressing was considered an "abomination" an unnatural act, basically right up there with sodomy (A HUGE Sin at the time).

Punishments would similar to what the whore would face with some differences:

  • Potentially far less chances for rape as your 'manly' appearance would be more engagingly offensive than suggestive and enticing. Though there is the off chance off actually being sodomized out of someones ironic sense of justice.
  • Much higher chances for sexually related torture and mutilation
  • long stays in prison and/or the pillory.
  • Less likely to find an understanding family or convent

As with all punishments back then, they are largely influenced by public sentiment. Severity can be anywhere in the ballpark from verbal admonishments to insanely brutal acts.

In many ways you would be much better off stripping naked and running screaming naked into town claiming you were set upon by highway men and robbed of your assets. Pretty embarrassing but its plausible and beats the litany of horrific outcomes.

  • $\begingroup$ The Jeans and a hoodie one is male, too, I think $\endgroup$
    – DT Cooper
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 8:27
  • $\begingroup$ Well then he gets off easy $\endgroup$
    – anon
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 12:05

They would probably be horrified and think you are witches and demons sent to corrupt them.

Telling them you "come from the future" will only make things worse.

You'll probably all end up dead.

As mentioned the best course of action is to burn all your clothes and pretend you were robbed by brigands.


In late 17th century Salem, the Salem witch trails took place many people were killed because of being suspected witches. If you brought any form of new clothing with you and you showed up in an unknown device, they would probably treat you like a witch.

This would mean that death is near certain.

Another comment states that "you would be thought to be a foreigner." This is not the case because the people from Salem came from Europe a few decades earlier. This would mean one elder (judged by the life expectancy at the time) would recognize you as a European. You would be warmly welcomed and people would ask about your clothes and then you would show them.



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