What Is the National Costume of Mexico?

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There are numerous traditional costumes in Mexico, but the most common national wear for women includes the quechquémitl, a skirt and huipile, and puebla dresses. The quechquémitl is a colorful poncho, worn on special occasions. Sleeveless huipiles, worn with skirts, and puebla (“peasant” in English) dresses are considered comfortable for daily wear.

For men, there are sombreros, sarapes and guayaberas. A sombrero is a decorative hat made of straw or heavy felt. It has a wide brim that protects the upper body from the harsh Mexican sun. Colorful sarapes are heavy, shawl-like coats that act as blankets for cold weather protection. Guayaberas are lightweight shirts, made from cotton fabric and embellished with embroidery, that can be worn as both casual and formal attire.

The style of traditional Mexican clothing was originally influenced by Spanish colonizers. Preferred cloth fibers typically include cotton, agave, wool and silk. Arguably, the Mayan culture that prevailed before the Spanish conquest has had the greatest influence on national dress in Mexico. However, no single style can be considered “native” because of Mexico’s complex history, and there is a continual evolution of accepted dress from state to state. Intricately designed costumes worn for festivals and celebration also vary depending on the historical era being represented.