The clothing worn by Mexicans can range from modern to traditional to items worn only on special occasions. Some styles blend both old and new, while others are the same as those that have been worn by Mexicans throughout the ages. On one special holiday, Day of the Dead, Mexicans do not wear mourning clothes, as one might expect. Rather, the rule for that day is the more colourful, the better.
The Aztec and Mayan cultures both played a part in Mexican clothing styles. During the times of those civilisations, the Maxtlatl, which was basically a breechcloth worn under a cape or cloak called a tilma was worn by Mexican men. The women wore a skirt called a huipil, much like the one they still wear. As the Spanish and other European cultures expanded into Mexico, clothing styles changed to reflect their influence. However, even with the changes, Mexicans kept and still keep some of the traditions and styles which were initially theirs.
Urban Mexicans wear clothing that is as modern as anything you would see in the United States. Teenagers and children wear jeans, T-shirts and sneakers, while adults wear contemporary fashions. As you move into the surrounding countryside, you see traditional clothing more frequently. Traditional Mexican clothing is usually in earth tones. The most prominent colours are browns, tans and rust . Traditional Mexican clothing is made from cotton, bark and agave, as it was before the Spaniards invaded, as well as wool and silk.
A typical outfit for a woman consists of a flared skirt that comes either to the calves or almost to the ankles. She wears a huipil, which resembles a sleeveless tunic, a type of cape that is closed at the shoulder, called a quechquemitl and a garment resembling a shawl which is called a rebozo. Mexican wedding dresses are usually one of three styles. One style dress consists of a fitted bodice with a slightly flared skirt. It is often worn with a single layer mantilla veil. Other Mexican women may choose to wear a slim-fitting sleeveless dress with a bolero jacket, while others often choose the Flamenco style which is close fitting with many layers of ruffles.
The clothing Mexican men wear is closer to that of European garments. Both the trousers and the shirt are generally European in style and material. It is possible that the only native piece of clothing a Mexican man will wear is his serape or large blanket cape and perhaps a pair of Mexican boots. A man's wedding suit will either consist of a pair of loose cotton drawstring trousers and a guayabera shirt or a traditional matador-style outfit, complete with tight trousers and bolero jacket. The man will frequently choose the matador outfit if the woman chooses the wedding dress that has a bolero jacket.
One important Mexican holiday is the Day of the Dead. On this holiday, which is celebrated on November 1 and 2, Mexicans honour their dead by visiting their graves and decorating them with flowers and other ornaments. They often spend the night in the graveyard during this time. These are not days of mourning, rather they are days of celebration, and the clothing reflects that. Costumes are colourful and women frequently decorate their dresses and skirts with shells.