Polygamy Garb Born of Rules

Lilith also stated that there are "lots of different hairstyles. But I do it this way because it's fast. I have enough hair. It's fast to just braid it like that."

Layers of Undergarments Part of 'Dress Code'

Experts told ABC News that women in the cult, which is also known as FLDS, wear as many as three layers of clothing underneath their dresses, including an undergarment they consider holy, three pairs of stockings and sometimes pants. Patterns or bright colors are forbidden — especially red, a color allegedly reserved for God — and any hint of makeup or loose-hanging hair is reason for severe punishment by father or husband.

"They don't want anybody to lust after you," Irene Spencer, 71, a former polygamist wife who wrote a book about her experience and who has several sisters and nieces still living at the Yearning for Zion Ranch, told ABC News. "They used to tell us that if a man saw your elbow it would turn him on."

"We could never wear makeup," Spencer said. "You can't touch that wicked stuff to your face or your lips at all. You can't even have bangs. They're very, very strict."

Fears of breaking the group's code of appearance can apparently run deep.

In a call to a family violence shelter on March 30, which prompted Texas authorities to raid the 1,700 acre Yearning for Zion Ranch, a 16-year-old girl reported being abused by her 50-year-old husband but said church members threatened that if she left, outsiders would "hurt her, force her to cut her hair, to wear makeup and [modern] clothes and to have sex with lots of men."

Spencer said such intimidation is common within the FLDS group.

"These people are scared spitless," she said. "We were told all our lives that [outsiders] were wicked. These people are told that they are the only righteous people. It's no wonder that they live in the fear they live in."

Of all the different garments sown and worn by the women of the Yearning for Zion Ranch, former cult members told ABC News the underwear is the most important.

Covering the skin from neck to ankles and wrists, it is worn year-round underneath regular undergarments and said to be symbolic of the clothes that God provided for Adam and Eve to use in the Garden of Eden.

Seen as a kind of spiritual defense, some women don't remove the underwear even in the most intimate of situations.

"My grandmother and aunts and some of the people I knew wouldn't even take them off to bathe," said former polygamist Spencer. "They would leave them on one leg and bathe the rest of their body and put them back on."

She added that some women keep the garments on even while giving birth or having intercourse with their husbands.

"They were told that [the undergarments] were supposed to be a protection and nothing would happen to them if they wore them," Spencer said.

No Abatement to Attire, Not Even in Summer

Jessop said she remembers the sect's dress as hot and uncomfortable, especially during the Southern summers, when temperatures can often top 100 degrees.

"It's terribly impractical," she said. "You end up with layers and layers and layers of clothes. There's a health issue here, because it's like my body had lost the ability to heat and cool."

But a current member of the Yearning for Zion Ranch disagreed.

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