SUIT ( El Traje Charro )
is the attire of the Mexican Charro that it has come to be recognized the
world over as part of the Mexican identity. From days past to the present
the elegant originality of this attire has always drawn the attention of
both Mexican nationals and foreigners.
Chambers, North American, in 1873 referred to the outfit as “eminently
appropriate for the dashing nature of the tanned people who use it. Riding
his superbly adorned mount, the harness of which may be worth thousands
of dollars, the charro has the appearance of a great gentleman”. There
exist many such testimonies to the striking elegance of charro attire written
by travelers, historians and other visitors to Mexico dating from the time
Independence to the present day. All were struck by the fact that this
suit could be worn with equal pride by persons of vastly different social
class such as for example Emperor Maximilian of Hapsburg (of European nobility)
and Emiliano Zapata (leader of the revolutionary peasant army of the south)
who both wore, in their historic moment, the attire of the charro with
elegance and dashing. Of course there were, and continue to be, differences
to be noted in the dress of a wealthy charro and that of a humble one,
notably in the metal fittings. While those of the former were generally
made of precious metals such as gold or silver, those of the latter were
of simple steel yet equally beautiful and finely worked such that the workmanship
itself stood out above the type of metal used. And so it was in the case
of the embroidery, sombreros and saddles.
material differences that existed can still be observed today. Since the
mid- and lower-level campesinos didn’t have access to the expensive metal
buttons they tried to create imitations of the original fastenings and
adornments using textiles and chamois leather. For example in place of
the expensive metal botonaduras which ran the length of the pant leg the
humble charro made adornments of cloth which had a similar appearance.
Such improvisations gave birth to the cachiruleado – a version of the charro
suit that contains no metal whatsoever. An advantage of the cachiruleado
style is that it reinforces the clothing and makes it more durable.
have occurred over time. The demands of everyday tasks as well as economic
factors, such as those mentioned above, have brought about the existence
today of five different styles of charro suits as recognized by The Mexican
Federation of Charreria. The choice of each one depends on the purpose
for which it is used:
of these categories charro suits can be made of:
– which are usually made of silver – can be fixed to either of these suits
whether on the outer seam of the trouser legs or the jacket or both but
they are not an indispensable element. Many charros prefer not to have
botonaduras on their working trousers for example because they can be a
hindrance during the execution of charreada tasks.
Chamois leather only
Textile with chamois adornments
Chamois with chamois adornments
charro suit consists of the following elements:
two are not essential elements of the charro suit yet warrant their inclusion
on the list due to their indispensability in the charro’s working day.
important issue among charros is that of adornments; what type and quantity
ought to be worn on the charro suit? Unfortunately today it is common to
see outfits with excessive use of adornments or, even worse, with inauthentic
adornments that have nothing to do with the charro tradition or with Mexico.
These serve to project a false image to the world. Without doubt simple,
authentic adornments are the best and most elegant whereas the excessive
use of decorative elements is unaesthetic and shows bad taste. It is imperative
that the individual charro be concerned with preserving and projecting
to the outside world the true essence of charro attire.