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Gauchos of the Río de la Plata adopted many elements of pre-Columbian culture, including clothing. The original peoples of South America developed the chiripá (a word of probable Quechua origin), a rectangular cloth worn like a diaper. After passing the cloth between his legs, a man secured it around his waist with a stout belt (tirador). The seamless garment provided great comfort while riding. Underneath the chiripá, gauchos sometimes wore white, lace-fringed leggings called calzoncillos blancos. During the late nineteenth century, the traditional chiripá gave way to imported bombachas, bloused (usually black) pants taken in at the ankle.

See alsoGaucho .


Madaline Wallis Nichols, The Gaucho (1968), p. 13.

Richard W. Slatta, Gauchos and the Vanishing Frontier (1983), p. 73.

Additional Bibliography

Assunção, Fernando O. Historia del gaucho: El gaucho, ser y quehacer. Buenos Aires: Editorial Claridad, 1999.

Gari, Abel. Del chiripá al pantalón y algo más—. Ayacucho: Museo Histórico Regional Ayacucho, 1999.

Slatta, Richard W. Comparing Cowboys and Frontiers. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1997.

Stedile Zattera, Véra. Pilchas do gaúcho: Vestuário tradicional, arreios e avios de mate. Porto Alegre: Pallotti, 1998.

                                             Richard W. Slatta