Beautiful Mexican dresses and blouses are not only for women. In Puerto Vallarta, you’ll find these garments for men, too. Hand embroidered with flowers, birds, iguanas, creatures of nature and mysticism, this is traditional clothing worn by indigenous people throughout Mexico, Central and South America. Regionally this art is referred to as huipil (pronounced wee-pill). Some blouses are very simple, assembled with two pieces of fabric, joined together with decorative stitching, ribbons or lace. You’ll find more elaborate pieces made with yokes, and sleeves. Originally made on a back strap loom, designs were woven into the fabric before it was actually pieced together. The preferred material is cotton or light poplin.
Huipil is everyday attire in Puerto Vallarta for Huichol people who live and work here. Sizes can be found to fit the tiniest infant to a wide range for adults. Huipil are not meant to be form fitting or flattering to the frame. They are intentionally loose fitting and cut to no particular shape; their comfort cannot be denied. Necklines, which can be square, oval, round or a simple slit to enable the wearer to slip over their head.
Symbolism in the embroidery of huipil conveys history, identity of region and culture and often personal details about the artist or person who chooses to wear a given piece of clothing. Motifs can represent agriculture, the natural and the mythical world, community, family, whimsy. Feathers, beads, ribbons and lace are incorporated in the threading, and often worn for burials, baptisms, weddings and other ceremonies. Certain features might indicate rank and stature of a woman in the community. Some saints have their own designated patterns and are expressed as such.
As with many artisans in Mexico, the creation of huipil is often a family affair, girls learning the craft from mothers and grandmothers. A tremendous amount of work can go into one blouse and may be the sole source of income for a household. Remember this when purchasing. The value is likely far more than you’ll be charged. We have always paid full asking price for a garment with huipil embroidery, out of respect to the many hours spent on its creation.
We recommend buying from ladies on the beach in Puerto Vallarta, who lug heavy loads in the heat and are committed to finding the perfect fit for a customer. There are also small shops throughout Puerto Vallarta, as well as kiosks and carts where huipil can be purchased.
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