Traditional Peruvian clothing for both men and women is often woven from wool which is readily available and comfortable in the Peruvian mountain climate. Geometric figures and vibrant colors are featured on clothing items. Read our guide for more fa
Parts of the traditional outfit, both in men and in women are designed with a recognition factor involved. With a woman, you need only look at the straps of her hat to see where she is from. With a man, check the design of his challo or knitted hat to find a clue as to what region or village he is from.
Geometric patterns and bright colors are found throughout the woman’s ensemble. Start off with a lliclla, a small blanket, woven with designs and usually red. This is worn around the women’s shoulders. Next is a larger blanket, the monteras, in which children or other items are wrapped and tied onto the woman’s back. Skirts or polleras are also worn and are in colorful tones. These may be worn one over the other and in festival times a woman may wear up to fifteen at a time. This is topped off with the hat with the strings that tie it, called k’operina, beaded according to the woman’s village tradition.
The man’s hat is a sombrero to shade the man from the sun. This is worn over the challo, the knit hat that identifies the village or region the man is from. This knit hat is woven from wool and is actually knitted by the man’s father with the idea that the male will keep and wear it forever. Colorful and woven blankets or ponchos are also part of the traditional male clothing. These are not everyday attire for the most part any longer, and are used mainly for festival and celebrations. Of course, pants are made form wool and are of a solid color, this being a deviation from the geometric patterns.
One item that both men and women wear is the sandal. These shoes are the drabbest part of the outfit. They are made from old truck tires for the soles. The reason everyone wears these is that they are made so cheaply.
Today, the traditional type of Peruvian clothing is still worn in many parts of Peru. With Peru being located in the Andes and a high altitude, the wool clothing is almost an essential, with much of it still being hand woven. Spanish traditions are also being introduced into everyday clothing, but most of this is around large metro areas such as Quito. Even then, traditional Peruvian clothing will be broken out for the festival days. Vibrant colors and geometric patterns once more abound, and a favorite past time for those who are not native to Peru must be trying to figure out where everyone came from by the clothing he or she is wearing.