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Inside Peru Home - Culture of Peru - Traditional Peruvian Clothing

Traditional Peruvian Clothing

Clothing in Peru is richly steeped in tradition. Even in modern times, traditional customs are woven into the fabric of today's Peruvian clothing. Here are some fascinating facts on Peruvian traditional clothing.




Features of Traditional Peruvian Clothing

Most traditional clothing has geometric patterns and vibrant colors. Dresses, skirts, tunics, blankets, and ponchos are the main clothes that are still traditional.

On this page:
For over a thousand years, men and women both have used these designs.

Traditional Materials and Styles

The wool of the Alpaca, which is native to Peru, is still used today in keeping with tradition on making Peruvian clothing. 

Along with Peruvian traditions, traditional Spanish and other modern day influences are now being mixed in.

Traditional Peruvian clothing generally reflects what village a man or woman comes from.

Distinctive Traditional Clothing of the Peruvian Woman

Traditional Women's Hats of Peru

A woman is recognized in many instances by her hat style, which reflects the culture of her region or village.

traditional Peruvian clothing
Head and Shoulders Portrait of a Smiling Uros Indian Woman, Lake Titcaca, Peru
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For some, white beads adorn the Sanq'apa straps - straps that secure the hats and are woven very delicately and carefully. These hats are called Monteras.

Traditional Shoulder Cloths in Peru Native Dress

Another item of traditional Peruvian dress that may identify a woman's village is a Lliclla. This is a shoulder cloth that is hand woven, rectangular, and is fastened in the front. A pin that is hand decorated, or a Tupu, secures it. In modern times, a safety pin is now being used.



Along with the shoulder cloth is a K'eperina or a rectangular carrying cloth that is bigger. It is used to carry goods and kids secured inside on a person's back. Then it is tied in the front.

traditional Peruvian clothing
Local Indian Women with Domestic Llamas near Cusco

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Another rectangular cloth, Unkuna, is smaller can carry a snack or some food like coca, corn, or fruit.

Traditional Peruvian Skirts in Peru Native Dress

Traditional skirts worn by many of the Andean women are called Polleras. They are colorful and are made from Bayeta or wool cloth and are hand woven.

A lot of times skirts are layered and three or four maybe worn at one time. At festival times up to fifteen could be tied around a woman's waist. 

Handmade and colorful Puyto is used for the trim of the skirts. Another name for Polleras is Melkkhay.

Traditional Peruvian Dress for Women - Jackets, Sweaters, Sandals

In the Ausangate region a Juyuna, or wool jacket, is decorated with white buttons and has front panels. They are usually worn inside out and have elaborate decorations.

The jacket is worn under their shoulder cloths. Also, a sweater that is synthetic and tight fitting in shades of green, yellow, and pink is worn under the jacket.

traditional Peruvian clothing
Local Indian Women with Domestic Llamas, Sacsayhuaman, Cusco
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Ajotas are sandals for the feet and are made from truck tires that are recycled. Both men and women both wear these as they are so cheap to make.


Distinctive Traditional Clothing of the Peruvian Man

In Peruvian men's clothing, the main traditional item is the poncho. Ponchos are hand woven.

The Peruvian Man's Poncho

Just like a woman and her hat, a man's poncho resembles his village. Most poncho's are red and each will have its own pattern to show the man's district identity.

Some villages still wear ponchos every day. But, for men, this traditional item of clothing is now more commonly used for weddings, festivals, village meetings, and more.

The Peruvian Man's Hat

Traditional Peruvian Clothing
traditional peruvian clothing
Men's hats are usually Sombreros (literally, shade-makers) and are worn over a chullo. The Chullos are hats with ear flaps and are knitted and handmade and can be worn without a sombrero. The Chullo is a distinctive feature in Peruvian photos of the high Andes.

A father will hand knit and give a Chullo traditionally to his child.

There also are Centillo, or hat bands that are hand decorated on the Sombrero.

Traditional Clothing in Today's Peru

Yes, clothing in Peru is steeped in rich traditions. Even in modern times, traditional customs are woven into the fabric of today.

Enjoy seeing the men, women, and children still wearing their colorful and distinctive traditional Peruvian clothing on your trip to Peru!


traditional Peruvian clothing
Uros (Urus) Woman Grinding Corn, Islas Flotantes, Reed Islands, Lake Titicaca, Peru
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By David Schneider, Copyright© 2010-2014