"Traditional dress" Top 5 Page for this destination Mexico Local Custom Tip by TheWanderingCamel

Mexico Local Customs: 173 reviews and 144 photos

  The most traditional
by TheWanderingCamel
  • The most traditional - Mexico
      The most traditional
    by TheWanderingCamel
  • Huipil dress - Mexico
      Huipil dress
    by TheWanderingCamel

The variety of traditional dress worn by indigenous Mexican women is truly fabulous, much of it very particular to a group or even a village. Although most women these days wear either a simple version of their traditional clothing or standard European style clothes, it's still possible to see women wearing beautifully embroidered and woven clothing of stunning design. Village Mayan women in the Yucatan almost all wear a huipil dress as their everyday outfit - though city women rarely do. Fiestas invariably see women dressed in their best finery.

Much of what is worn today as traditional dress has very ancient origins though the arrival of the Spanish saw changes in many places as the Catholic priests thought much of the indigenous dress was indecent ( the huipil was then a sleeveless tunic worn over a wrapped skirt - it was open at the sides and simply held closed by a sash around the waist). European-style blouses and skirts were introduced and indigenous clothing adapted to what we see today.

The dress worn by the woman in the photo here is particularly interesting - not only for the shape and style which is typical of the villages of the Tehuantepec Isthmus of Oaxaca, but also or the colour of the cloth it is made from. The deep reddish-purple is obtained from two threads in the weave - the warp being indigo and the weft purpurpa obtained from a shell fish ( the same dye that created the royal purple of Rome and Byzantium), very hard to obtain and nowadays rarely used except by those who cling most strongly to the old traditions. I was delighted to see it among all the bright embroideries of the more usual dress of the women from this part of Oaxaca.


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  • Updated May 11, 2006
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