Mexico Fashion

Tzotzil Mayan Fashion from San Juan Chamula, Chiapas

If you have ever visited Chiapas, specifically the areas around Tuxtla and San Cristobal de las Casas, you have seen the indigenous uniform of the women from San Juan Chamula.  It often involves a little satin top with embroidered and ribbon details, and finished off with a girdle-like woven cotton belt.  The Mexican blouses come in a plethora of vibrant colors, and also they come in your standard black and white.

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Tzotzil women in San Juan Chamula (photo credit unknown)

According to one of my favorite books, A Textile Guide to the Highlands of Chiapas, these Tzotzil Mayan women didn´t always dress in this way.  Their dress has evolved as result of the various influences in the region – most recently in the 90´s with the arrival of the Evangelicals.  The Evangelicals started handing out cardigan sweaters (why?) and the Chamulan women moved on from their traditional huipil, to a satin blouse worn with the little cardigan.  And this is how they continue to dress today.

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Getting belted into a San Juan Chamula blouse

I have personally been in love with these blouses since the first time I saw them.  Something about the little cap sleeve and the satin and the tiny details remind me of the satin dresses from Louis Vuitton in 2003 that created major shopper mania in the Vuitton stores.  (I know, I worked there then….)
I love the ribbon detail, the embroidery, and of course, the shiny satin, especially in the bright colors.  The buttons glow with a mother of pearl finish.  The tops are pretty blousy because they are meant to be belted, but if you tuck them in, they also look great.
The armholes are generally cut a bit small, but they leave a place in the seam where it’s possible to make a small slit and open the sleeve for those with bigger arms.
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