Before there were cholas, there were pachucas. These fearless Chicana ladies, in towns such as El Paso (known as Chuco Town), Los Angeles, and Tucson, redefined what it meant to be a woman in 1940s America.
While women at the time were expected to stay home and be good girls, pachucas wore men’s clothes and hung out with their boyfriends. They spoke Caló, challenged gender norms, and were way ahead of their time. They were also stylish. Here are the 10 things these dope pachucas were rocking during the (1930s and) ’40s.
The pachuca look was all about big, bold hair. The style took the rolls and pompadours on-trend at the time (1940s), and exaggerated them. The finishing touch was often a flower or two.
It was uncommon for women to wear pants in the 1940s. Pachucas not only wore pants—they wore full-on zoot suits, masculine cardigans, and lots of black and grey. Their masculine look was seen as inappropriate, since it was a rebellious to what women, and Mexican women, were expected and allowed to wear and be.
Knee-Length Pencil Skirts and Feminine Dresses
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Other pachucas chose to sport a more feminine look. They would pair the wide lapel shirt and zoot suit jacket with a knee-length pencil skirt, or wear beautiful 1940s dresses. With pachucas, the idea was extravagance, boldness, and a more-is-more style. This translated to bolder prints, off-the-shoulder dresses, shorter skirts, and “a lot of jewelry.”
Heavy Makeup, With Bold Liner and Dark Red Lipstick
Pachuca makeup appears to have paved the way for chola beauty. You have the done up, lined eyes, and dark red/burgundy lip. Always timeless, always bold.
Platform shoes were big in the 1940s, and pachucas were in on the trend. They would wear these shoes with pencil skirts and add fishnet stockings.
Huarache sandals was a way for pachucas to add a touch of Mexican style to their outfits. They were worn with oversized pants and socks.
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Saddle shoes, worn with bobby socks, were another option for pachuca shoes. They would be worn with pants or with skirts.
Fishnet stockings were worn by pachucas in the 1940s. The gave outfits that extra edge, and set pachucas apart.
Pachucas wore bobby socks in the 1940s. However, they wore the socks pulled up to the calves, another example of how they put their own spin on clothing and trends.