Traditional outfits from Chile - Image: Cati Kaoe

Traditional outfits from Chile - Image: Cati Kaoe


The land of copper is located in South America stretching over 4,300 km north to south from the great Andes to the Lake district in the Pacific ring of fire. The Republic of Chile, which is among the longest north-south countries in the world, occupies 756,950 square kilometres (292,260 sq mi) of land area. The country is situated in the sensitive volcanic zone having very diverse climate and unique biodiversity. Chile has many rivers and streams generally short in length and with low torrential flow. Generally, Chile is considered as a multiethnic country populated with 15 million people and most of the population lives in the urban areas. Apart from few indigenous languages, the majority of Chileans speak Spanish having a distinctive accent.

Traditional dress of Chile has the historic inception with the beginning of the textile fabric such as animal skin and hair. Photo: Fernando Mandujano
Traditional dress of Chile has the historic inception with the beginning of the textile fabric such as animal skin and hair. Photo: Fernando Mandujano

Chile is not only recognized in the lovely planet for its beautiful combination of characteristic geographical landscapes but also for its peculiar cultural heritage, which is the outcome of the demographical amalgamation of the European settlers with the natives. Although most of the Chileans have adopted the Roman Catholic and Judaism but some indigenous beliefs still exist in the country.

A pretty Chilean dancer in traditional outfit. Photo: Camila Belmar Puchy
A pretty Chilean dancer in traditional outfit. Photo: Camila Belmar Puchy

Traditional dress of Chile is so cultural and artistic which has the historic inception with the beginning of the textile fabric such as animal skin and hair. With the passage of time, the clothing was evolved in the region and other textiles like cotton and yarn were also flourished. After the arrival of Spanish and Portuguese people, modern clothing technology was introduced and the trends were changed.

Dancers in Easter Island of Chile in traditional outfits - Image  by Arian Zwegers
Dancers in Easter Island of Chile in traditional outfits – Image by Arian Zwegers

Today, the Chileans wear their traditional costumes very rarely. The mountainous and Mapuche people of the central Chile have continued their custom to wear the traditional attires to some extent. The traditional woolen made chamanto is the most popular garment which is similar to a poncho with few distinctions. Its entire contour is finished with ribbon edging. The difference between a chamanto and other ponchos is their reversibility, as both sides; one light, one dark are fully finished. Traditionally, the dark side of the poncho is used during the day, while its light side is mostly worn at night.  The mantle and woven belts are also common in the traditional men’s costumes in Chile.

Chamanto - Chile - Image  by palegoldenrod
Chamanto – Chile – Image by palegoldenrod

The traditional dress of the Chilean women is normally the pollera skirt which is usually made with long colorful fabric gathered at the waist along with numerous underskirt garments. They also wear blouse with ruffles and big jewelry on their chests.

Chilean girls with their traditional hats. Image by francisco_osorio
Chilean girls with their traditional hats. Image by francisco_osorio

The traditional outfits of the Chileans living in the southern territories are similar to gauchos of Argentina. These dresses are normally worn by huasos and huasas (the cowboys and cowgirls). The accessories of the outfit might include knee-high leather boots embellished with silver spurs, riding trousers, a tailored shirt tied with the waist, hanging sash, colorful poncho along with big flat-topped hat.

Traditional outfits from Chile - Image: Cati Kaoe
Traditional outfits from Chile – Image: Cati Kaoe

White blouse with ruffled collar and fitted black skirts having a long slit to the hip along with waistband are worn by huasas. Flat and black hats are also their favorite headdress.

Cueca performers in traditional outfits - Image by mabel flores
Cueca performers in traditional outfits – Image by mabel flores

Nowadays in Chile, the Cueca dancers can be normally seen wearing the traditional and flowery costumes accompanying with their huaso’s hats, black shirts, riding pants and boots. The traditional horsemen’s hat “chupalla” which is made of straw is very common in the villages and it is also often used when dancing the cueca and during Chilean rodeos (national sport of Chile).

The traditional outfits of the Chileans living in the southern territories are similar to gauchos of Argentina. Photo by Ostrosky Photos
The traditional outfits of the Chileans living in the southern territories are similar to gauchos of Argentina. Photo by Ostrosky Photos

Today, the traditional dress of Chile which is normally made with vicuña wool or alpaca or llama wool is exhibited in the country’s festive and national events.

Chilean rodeos - Image by Ricardo Luengo
Chilean rodeos – Image by Ricardo Luengo

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