10 julio, 2024

Typical Yucatan costumes: description and characteristics

The Yucatan typical costumes They are an important part of traditional Mexican clothing and were born as a result of the native and European mix that occurred in the peninsula. Yucatan is a Mexican state located in the southeast area. Together with the states of Quintana Roo and Campeche, it forms the Yucatan peninsula.

It is an area originally inhabited by the Mayan civilization, dating from the year 2000 BC. C. After years of expeditions, in 1542 the city of Mérida, today the capital of Yucatán, was founded. The initial population was 109 Spaniards, who, separated from their wives, began the process of miscegenation with the women of the area.

Colonial society was divided by castes. At the top of the hierarchy were the Spanish born in Europe. Secondly, those children of Spaniards born in America. In third place were the mestizos, who were born from the mixture of Spaniards and indigenous people. And lagging behind to fourth place were the native peoples.

For centuries, the mestizo people were rejected by Yucatecan society, but the reissue of the Constitution in 1820 was the first step to erase the dividing lines between the peoples. From then on, mestizo culture and customs began to represent an important part of the Yucatan that we know today.

The clothing of the mestizos is perhaps the most significant cultural heritage of this town for the identity of the state of Yucatan. The traditional costume of the Yucatecan mestizo is one of the most recognized in Mexico and its cultural value has transcended to artistic representations of all kinds.


Typical Yucatecan costumes, a mestizo tradition

By gaining visibility and representation, the mestizos perfected their gala dress, today part of the traditional dress. These suits were used at weddings and important events.

Just like its wearers, the typical Yucatan costume represents the indigenous and Spanish tradition in its shapes and colors.

The mestiza costume

The typical costume of the Yucatecan woman is known as a terno, since it consists of three white pieces embroidered with cross stitch with floral designs: a doublet, a hipil and a fustán.


It is the garment that goes over, is worn on the shoulders and reaches below the bust; It has a square neckline that exposes the neck and the upper part of the chest. Its cut is almost square and its short sleeves reveal most of the arm.


This garment goes under the doublet and over the fustian. It is attached to the doublet from the neck and reaches mid-leg. Its cut is similar to that of a dress and it is the largest garment in the entire compound.


It is the garment of the lower area. It adjusts from the waist and reaches the feet. It is mostly covered by the hipil and only its embroidery stands out.


This set is made of white silk and its colorful cross-stitch brocades date from pre-Hispanic times, which at that time were made on a loom.

In a manuscript by Fray Diego de Landa in the mid-16th century, these garments are described, used by the Mayan women of the peninsula.


The embroidery design (xokbil-chuy by its Mayan name) changed over the years. After colonization, Catholic nuns introduced new styles of embroidery and floral designs in the European style that are still used to this day.

Accessories and footwear

For a long time the suit was of daily use, but after the acceptance of the mestizos in the Yucatecan society, their clothing was adorned with gold and silver jewelry; In this way, the suit would become a garment suitable for galas and dances.

The women wear rosaries around their necks and gold necklaces with beads and medallions. They are accompanied with gold earrings and precious stones. The hair is collected and decorated with a ribbon and a headdress of flowers.

The footwear of the mestizo woman must always be white. It is a closed shoe with a lock and has a straight heel, practical for dance days. The material of these shoes is usually leather, patent leather or a fabric lining.

The mestizo suit

Before the Conquest, the Mayan peoples who inhabited the peninsula used to wear most of their bodies uncovered. It was not until the introduction of wool and silk by the Spanish that their dress changed drastically.

gala outfit

Men were forced to wear shirts and other European clothing items, but due to the climate of the area, a light color was chosen. Now, the half-breed outfit is an iconic white ensemble.

It consists of a white long-sleeved cotton shirt, straight-cut white pants with pockets in front and behind. Higher-class mestizos usually fasten their shirts with gold buttons. As a complement, a red scarf is also hung from one of the side bags.

hippie hat

An indispensable part of the attire is the hat, called jipijapa or palmilla for the material it is made of. The preparation of its materials dates from pre-Hispanic times, since basketry is a fundamental part of the Mayan culture, the technique of interweaving with natural elements (plants and fibers).

The jipijapa is a hat with a brim manufactured using this technique. It was created in 1872 and became very popular; its preparation became the main source of work for the inhabitants of the eastern region of the Yucatan peninsula. At present it is used decorated with a black ribbon.


The mestizo male footwear par excellence are the garish ones, espadrilles made of leather or felt. They are thick, as they are made up of four or five layers of leather and the finish of their sole with heel plugs emits a squeal when dancing, hence their name.

Two loops cross over the instep and fasten behind the ankle. This shoe is made by saddlers in the area, its color can be white or brown and it has decorative embroidery. Because it is a fresh and accessible option, the chillona is an essential element for Yucatecan clothing.


In addition to the typical dress used by the mestizos, a characteristic garment of the Yucatan peninsula is the guayabera. Originally Cuban, the cotton shirt, light colors and wide pockets, arrived in Mexico in the late 1800s, brought from the island by a Spanish navigator.

For a long time it was considered a garment for the upper social classes, but over the years it became popular among the population. The guayabera is today a distinctive symbol of Yucatan, as it has been redesigned by the clothing manufacturers of the area.

Themes of interest

Typical Yucatan dances.

Traditions and customs of Yucatan.

Yucatan culture.


Government of the State of Yucatán (sf) The Mestizos of Yucatán. Yucatan – State Government. Recovered from Yucatan.gob.mx
Government of the State of Yucatán (nd) Typical Costume. Yucatan – State Government. Recovered from Yucatan.gob.mx
Government of Merida (nd) Typical Costume. Merida City Hall. Recovered from Merida.gob.mx
Ricárdez, C. (2014) Know the identity of the Yucatecan regional costume. Millennium News. Recovered from Sipse.com
Yucatan Today (sf) Typical Garments Worn By Mestizos. Yucatan Today | Traditions. Recovered from Yucatantoday.com
Yucatán Travel (2016) The Guayabera: A Traditional Yucatecan Iconic Clothing. Yucatan Travel Blog. Recovered from Yucatantravel.com

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