How to make a mariachi costume

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How to make a mariachi costume
Mariachi bands perform at weddings and other celebrations. (Getty Creative)

A mariachi band is a traditional street music ensemble found in the Mexican culture. A modern mariachi group includes violins, guitars, trumpets, a guitarron and a vihuela. Members of a mariachi wear a standard costume known as the "charro," which is the word for a Mexican cowboy. A mariachi costume is normally made from wool, but you can modify it according to your needs.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Make yourself look like a traditional mariachi by wearing a white cotton shirt with a red poncho or a black wool blanket placed over your shoulder. Pair this with long muslin trousers (straight-cut), a red sash, a simple pair of sandals, and a large straw sombrero with a hat band and chin strap attached to it.

  2. 2

    Choose a black pair of trousers or black skirt, a simple white dress shirt and black shoes for a more pared-down, casual look. You will also need a colored necktie and a sombrero.

  3. 3

    Make an entrance in a three-piece suit with white embroidery up the legs. (You can use iron-on appliques on an old suit if you prefer not to buy something new.) Add a dressy white shirt and boots, a large red necktie, a sombrero and a wide belt.

  4. 4

    Locate your clothes and accessories by visiting stores that specialize in Mexican and Western attire. You can also buy your items online from web stores like the Mariachi Connection Inc., La Casa Del Mariachi or Viva Mariachi (see Resources below).

  5. 5

    Rent or buy a musical instrument such as a guitar, violin, guitarron or trumpet to complete your costume.

  6. 6

    Order your clothes at least 3 months prior to the event. This will give you enough time to receive your clothing and to make any necessary exchanges.

Tips and warnings

  • The charro trouser should be snug and fitted to the legs. They will appear to be a little too long at the ankles because there will be excess material there. These pants do not typically have any back pockets.
  • You can add silver or gold adornments along the seams of your trousers and sleeves and jacket buckle if you are choosing the more elaborate "traje de charro" look.

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