By clothing-bag, 31/01/2023

Handmade clothes and Sunday costumes: Thus the Ticos dressed in 1821 |The nation

Costa Ricans from different parts of the country loaded with products arrive at the Plaza de Carthage.Some arrive on foot, others in mules, but all carry articles of different types in their hands.

It is a sunny morning on Saturday, 1821 and, as usual, the day begins with the market, a very famous activity during the weekends of the time.

The first to look out are the Ticos who carry things to sell or exchange.As soon as they arrive, they are placed next to each other and take out everything they carry.They accommodate it well, so that "customers" can see it better.

In the improvised sections there are all kinds of articles: fruits, vegetables, grains and even pots.

However, among that conglomerate of positions, there is one that attracts attention more than others.This is a thico that offers imported fabrics, something that is not very common on the Costa Rica of the early nineteenth century.

This section is not missing who approaches, because out of curiosity many want to feel the fabrics offered by the merchant.They want to know the difference with the popular blankets, raw material with which most of the garments used by Costa Ricans of that time are made.

They are striking and of better quality, however, only a few can acquire them.

In 1821 Costa Rica was very poor, the resources were limited and in homes there were only what was necessary to live.Clothing was no exception.

“In general, here the independence process was very bland, compared to other countries.Especially as what has to do with costumes, for many reasons: for the little population at that time and because people really had no money and, which might manifest more interest in European costumes, was very little ”says designer Rob Chamaeeo, global director of The Aeger agency.

At that time the trends did not matter, whatever fashion magazines said, much less seasonal colors.At that time no one thought about having the brand accessories that he saw in a store (because there were not even jewelry businesses in Costa Rica) or making a change of look.

In that year (as well as in the previous and later years) what mattered was for women to have their shirt and skirt;while men their shirt and shorts to be able to perform their daily work.

“As was so scarce, the amount of money we had and the population there was, we did not have so much wealth in the locker room, in fact, there was almost nothing.1821's clothes reflected colonialism, ”details the expert.

En el ropero del tico

In 1821 the catwalks and models were simply something totally unknown to the population.

While in the European continent there could already be outstanding designers who imposed the fashion of the time, in Costa Rica they were the same Ticos who designed the clothes they used.

In fact, one of the main offices that the women of the time had was sewing.And it was not a job that was done with a sewing machine, it was a job they did by hand.

"At that time the Ticos had to be creative to do their own things, they were extremely recursive," says Chamaeleo, who is also director of the fashion career at the Creative University.

Anyway, even if they struggled, clothes always ended up being very simple and practically the same.

“We had a lot of Catholic influence, clearly, and influences that came from Spain and France.But at the same time it was not so rich as to say that we had the lace full of stones, because we did not have such an opulence in the costumes, as the Costa Ricans did want to have at that time, ”details the fashion expert.

For example, women used a simple skirt that went from the waist to the ankles, approximately;While the blouse was a type of shirt with a high neck, with long and simple sleeves that was used outside the enagua.

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All the costumes were of little striking colors, because there were no fabrics options.Nor was there talk of corsets or crinolins (structure that is used below the enagu.

“There was still no idea of crinoline, because everything was quite practical.However, as in the mid -1800s, these structures were introduced, which were made of whale or even metal bone, ”explains the designer.

As the blouses were high neck, women had trim to decorate it.

And if women's clothing was simple, that of men was even more.In their case they wore shorts and a shirt that was also used outside the pants.

In addition, they wore practically white.

“That has a lot to do with several factors, first because men did not want to overshadow women.They also used long sleeve because we have to consider that many people worked in the sun, so they were for protection, although other parts (from clothing) come from Catholicism and from the conservative, ”adds Chamaeleo.

[Costa Rica in 1821: The simple life of the ‘equal’]

Men's outfit accompanied him regularly with hats (mainly men).This was a cup hat not very high that the peasants even used to work.

On the other hand, both in the case of men and women, the fabric that was most used was the blanket that was derived from indigenous components.Gauze and cotton were also used, which are organic and economic fabrics that could occur more easily in Costa Rica.

The buttons were made of wood or ivory, which were lined in the fabrics to combine with the shirts.

As for the shoes, these were also very simple, there were no heels or buckles.On the contrary, much of the time were used sandals.

Pequeños lujos

People with more economic resources, meanwhile, could send to bring clothing trunks to Europe.They were a minority, but there were cases.

His closet was more varied and his outfits did look different.Women, for example, could afford to wear a corset or wear more colorful garments.Mainly with influences of French and non -Spanish clothing (as one might think).

“The clothes were very adorned, with lace and with other types of ornaments.They used silks, taffetas and some lace or trim, even certain cuts that were brought to decorate the garments that came from Europe ”, details.

Men's pants were sometimes in certain colors, but they were not very lit either.

The fashion expert details that, at that time, people with more economic resources could also be recognized because their costumes were changed more than once a day.

In general, the women of the time wore their hair tied with a bar, although at some times they left him loose, mainly in special activities (which were very few).

In addition, the wealthiest women could occasionally see a comb, mainly on special occasions;as well as gloves that were made of calf leather, which was lighter.

“Everything was very humble, so by 1821 there were not so many innovations.But later, after independence, with a little more wealth, there were techniques to make hair stay up.For example, a type of curlers were used, which wet them in champagne or in a type of sugar to be hard.Then, the form was maintained.

“Clearly, today, an expert is not going to tell you that this was the healthiest way to have the hair, but at that time it was as they did, they really did everything possible.People were recursive and I think that is very, very important to rescue the Tico, because they really looked for how to do things, ”he says.

As for underwear there was not much science.Women used a type of robe under the shirt and skirt.

Ocasiones especiales

The activity par excellence of the time was the Mass, which was carried out every Sunday with a large influx of citizens.

For that activity, people brought out the best they had in their closet.

“People tried to have as much as they could to be able.But always within its own economic limitations, ”says Chamaeleo.

The women carried their crucifix, if they were married, or reliquaries, if they were single.In addition, the wealthiest wore a veil that were made with finer fabrics.

Also, in this religious activity you could see more people wearing a cup hat.

[Spelling errors, cotton fabric paper and other curiosities of the Independence Act]

Since life was so limited and you could not access high -cost clothing, there were those who achieved patterns of magazines that came from France, Spain and Portugal, and tried to emulate them.

This is a trend that occurs more frequently around 1841, where small changes in clothing begin to be seen.

"People grabbed these patterns and tried to replicate it.They saw a person with money and made the greatest effort for clothes to resemble that of that person, within their limitations, ”he explains.

¿Y el traje típico?

Although for years schools, schools and folk groups in general have used the famous typical peasants for the national holidays, the truth is that these are far from the clothes that were really used during the colony and when Costa Rica became independent.

The blouses that are currently used and that are generally white with ‘shots’ and discovered shoulders, did not exist.While the long enagua that almost always includes three different colors and that covers from the waist to the feet were not even close to being used in those years.

“At that time, the idea of the typical suit did not exist as a typical suit.That is, if there were certain referrals of indigenous clothing with certain decorations that were put in the locker room, but the typical suit as we see today, for example, did not exist because of the amount of color it has, the pigments that it has.That is, that, in 1821, in a poor Costa Rica and barely leaving an independence, there was no.

“The typical peasant suit, for example, was totally white.Now we see the little ones wearing jeans and white shirt and that is given, but a little later.That is, it was an evolution, even remember that the typical costume of Costa Rica can even be observed, in a similar way, in Guatemala, in Panama and in Nicaragua, because there are several versions of this same suit in different countries, ”says Chamaeleo.

In addition, at that time, men did not even use the famous chonete.

According to the fashion expert, one of the reasons why the typical costume has gone through an evolution since 1821, falls for years by the Josefinos, the Carthaginians, the Alajuelenses and the Heredianos were very different in their way of dressing.

“They looked like mini colonies inside the colony.So, basically, there was a distribution of changing rooms, even in each of the current provinces.For example, an important fact is that the people of Carthage and Heredia were more elegant, ”says the designer.

In the case of Costa Rica, the idea of this costume began to take relevance after coffee positioned itself in the country and allowed it to grow economically.In other words, it began to be used when fashion was more important among citizens, because there was more money to dress better and came to the country more foreigners of whom other avant -garde trends could be observed.

In addition, Chamaeleo is emphatic that the typical suit, as is currently known, is a derivation of Spanish and French fashion mixtures with the Costa Rican.

Constante cambio

Although currently new trends, colors and options are seen for all tastes, two centuries ago in Costa Rica citizens did not have that opportunity to choose between one or the other.

On the contrary, rather they adapted to what there was and reflected the humility in which Costa Ricans lived.

“In the end, fashion is a way of studying society, because each person's economic power shows us.That is, it is different to evaluate a house, which is a collective effort in time, to value what people use day by day and that is basically the personification of what we are as a society.

“And in the clothes that abandonment of the Spanish crown was seen a lot, but I believe that in the end it is like everything: when one is really going through the most difficult moments it is when it seeks what to do and how to emerge.Costa Rica had to do this in 1821, we had to do everything possible as human beings to get ahead.And that was also reflected in the locker room, ”adds Chamaeleo.

They passed only two decades after independence so that coffee, as Chamaeleo mentioned, gave the Ticos that opportunity to start dressing better.Although for some an irrelevant issue could sound, the economic growth that Costa Rica began to experience made citizens had a genuine interest in improving their image.

In addition, in that commercial awakening, Europe's trends began to be more frequent.From there, other fabrics such as organzes and also more colors began to be noticed, as well as shoes with heels and decorated, shoes with buckles and more import imports.

It is at that point in history, practically, it is where it can be said that fashion culture in Costa Rica began.