CHARRO ATTIRE
By: CHARRO USA (prensa@charrousa.com)
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CHARRO SUIT ( El Traje Charro )
So characteristic 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. 
 

Fanny 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 of 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.
 

These 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. 

Changes 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: 
 

• Working Attire
• Mid-Elegance
• Elegance
• Grand Elegance
• Black Tie
Independently of these categories charro suits can be made of:
 
 
• Textile only
• Chamois leather only
• Textile with chamois adornments
• Chamois with chamois adornments
The botonaduras – 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.
 

The charro suit consists of the following elements: 
 

Sombrero
• Shirt
• Short Jacket
• Ribbon Tie
• Sash
• Belt
• Trousers
• Ankle Boots
• Chaps
• Spurs
The last 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. 

An 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. 

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