Oxchuc, Chiapas is a Tzeltal town. Traditional clothing is still worn by many people in the town.
Karen Elwell
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Oxchuc is a medium-sized town that is the commercial and administrative center of the large, rural Municipio of Oxchuc. About 70,000 people live in the municipio, the vast majority in widely scattered parajes where farming is the way of life. The heavily traveled road from San Cristobal to Ocosingo passes along the edge of town.

Oxchuc is one of 3 villages (that we know about) in the highlands of Chiapas where women wear long huipils outside their skirts (the others are Cancuc and Chalchihuitán). The 3-web cotton huipil is white with vertical red (or purple) stripes. Over time, the white areas of the huipils have become narrower and the red stripes wider. The huipil we purchased in Oxchuc in Jan. 2006 is now more red than white. The huipils are made from hand-woven cotton. However, we saw bolts of commercial cloth in a small sewing shop in Oxchuc that perfectly imitated the vertical striped patterns of the handmade fabrics. Huipils could be made cheaply and quickly by sewing together strips of this factory made cloth. The seams of Oxchuc huipils are decorated with colorful embroidery, as are the necklines. Embroidered rectangles decorate the garments' central webs on both sides. The hem of the huipil extends to an area between a woman's hips and knees. The huipil is worn over a wrap skirt made from commercially made indigo-dyed cotton cloth, which may come from the treadle loom workshop in Tenejapa Centro. Wide purple and black sashes like those worn in neighboring Tenejapa hold up the skirts. In Tenejapa, we were told that these cotton belts are woven in Chamula. Rebozos are made from colorful commercial cotton fabric and sold in several family-run sewing shops near the market.

Many men, mainly elderly, still wear the traditional costume of a long white shirt with narrow long sleeves. These shirts have several pink horizontal stripes on the sleeves as well as areas of decoration on the fronts of the garments. The shirt is worn with very short white pants and a hand-woven red, cotton sash that has colorful vertical and horizontal stripes. Many males carry net bags to hold personal items. Boys and younger men wear western-style clothing.