A SMALL HISTORY INTO THE CHARRO OUTFIT

What is a charro outfit? 

A charro outfit is a type of suit originated in Mexico, which is most often associated with mariachi and ranchera music performers. A basic charro baptism outfit includes pants, a jacket which is also known as chaquetillas, a sombrero, silk tie, dress shirt, chaps, serape, and pitea belt. This type of suit originated back in the seventeenth century and men who wore it were highly skilled horse riders who have represented men with national pride, family values, heritage, and honor. The charro outfit is equivalent to that of the popular cowboy of the American West. 

Where are charro outfits popular, and for what reason?

Before Mexico gained independence, only the Spanish wore charro outfits. Not everyone could become a Charro or wear a Charro outfit, they must have been born a Charro in order to wear the suit because the Spanish introduced horses to Mexico and the colonial government mandated a law not permitting indigenous Mexicans to ride horses unless a Spanish landowner allowed them to. Mexicans were not allowed to dress themselves and their horses the same way as the Spanish so that they would not be mistaken for a member of the Spanish upper-class.

This restriction brought out a new style of charro outfits that was only worn by Mexican charros. Suites were often tight-fitting, made of suede, and embroidered with unique native plant designs made from cactus plant fibers. Soon enough Mexicans became highly skilled horse masters and were very valuable assets to landowners. They helped protect the land and took care of the horses. After the revolution, the charro became very important to the Mexican culture.

The president at the time had the mariachi performers adopt the charro suit for performances, which led to even more popularity. September 14th is a national holiday known as the Dia Nacional del Charro (National Day of the Charro), which celebrates and honors the cultural importance of the horsemen and women in Mexico. The charro outfit was further popularized through movies, famous actors and actresses, police officers, and more. Now, it is one of the most popular symbols recognized worldwide for Mexico and is more than often worn to show pride in the Mexican heritage.

What’s typically included in a traditional charro outfit?

A charro outfit includes tight pants for men or a long skirt for women. The pants are tight-fitting to prevent snagging on any bushes or any other objects. Women’s skirts reach their ankles and are wide enough to allow them to sidesaddle. The coats are normally worn short to give better access to weaponry and movement. The outfit includes pants, a coat, a dress shirt, a tie, a belt, boots, and a hat. 

Why is the Mexican charro sombrero hat so wide?

Sombrero comes from a Mexican word Sombra which actually means shadower and is meant to do exactly that. The climate in parts of Mexico is very hot and strong sunlight throughout the year is very common. European hats were not as effective, so Mexican workers who worked outside most of the day created what we call today the Mexican sombrero. The sombrero is made wide enough to protect the head, neck, and shoulders. The rim of the hat is upturned to keep water off when riding and herding cattle. There are different variations of sombreros that are worn for different purposes. Farmers wear less formal sombreros made from straw, while other more prestigious sombreros are made of plush felt, with special embroidery and decorations to match the rest of their outfit. 

When is a charro outfit typically worn for kids and adults?

Charro outfits for boys are typically worn during or at their baptism party, festivals, weddings and even birthdays. White charro outfits are worn to signify purity and the washing away of the sins after the baptism ceremony. Black, beige, or other colors often work for other occasions such as performances, festivals, and parties. 

How much do charro outfits for boys cost?

Charro outfits can range from $50 -$1000 depending on the fabric, design, detailing, and other customizations. A good quality charro outfit for boys will cost at least $100-$250, which should include a 5-6 piece set. Anything below $100 will probably be something very simple with minimal embroidery and with less expensive fabrics.  

Where can I purchase a quality boys charro outfit?

Charro outfits for boys can be purchased online and at local Mexican stores near you. Details and Traditions is an online store with a fabulous variety of options.

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