Pachuca and Chola style has been part of the Chicanx experience since the 1940s. It’s a big part of Mexican American identity, a source of pride, a tool of resistance, and a much-copied aesthetic. An important part of culture and history is to preserve it so that future generations can access it and learn from it. Accordingly, we put together a roundup of Pachuca/Chola style, from the 1940s to the 1990s that still inspires us today.
1940s Pachuca Style
The Pachuca of the 1940s was hip from head to toe. She had the oversized slacks, broad-shouldered jacket, big hair, dark lipstick, and huarache sandals with socks, which was a common way to dress the look.
As with the Chola look decades later, the Pachucas took menswear from the Chicanos and made it their own. Many women were seen rocking oversized cardigans, baggy slacks, and oxfords.
The Dark Lip
If you thought the dark lip started with the ’90s, ’80s, or even ’70s Cholas, you are wrong. Pachucas were rocking dark lipstick way back in the ’40s and ’50s.
Pachucas and Cholas took current trend, and weaved them into their own established looks. Take for instance the sky-high bouffants of the 1960s.
Vintage Chola Beauty
The Pachuca/Chola beauty aesthetic has always been about exaggeration. A very thin, dramatic brow; statement hair; sweeping eyeliner (and usually a dark lip).
This handy illustration chronicles the evolution of chola hair, from the late 1960s, to probably the mid 1980s. The hairstyle went from sleek and straight, to more and more voluminous over the years.
Makeup worn Chola Style
Cholas were tough AF — still are — but being pretty also mattered to them with hair and makeup always set to perfection. This photo is probably from the late 1970s, or early ’80s.
Flannels have long been part of the Chola dress code, and if you want to kick it old school, you rock a fedora. This 1970s photo shows the fedora trend of the time, which borrows from the Pachuco trend of the 1940s.
Black and White Makeup was a thing
During the ’70s, and early ’80s, Chola makeup featured a white halo effect on the eyes. Any other eyeshadow, in a grey or brown, was swept in the crease in an obvious way (almost like a second eyeliner). The eyeliner itself was dark, and the brows almost non existent. It created a really dramatic, striking look.
Big Ass ’80s Hair
When huge, Aqua-Net-ted hair came into style in the ’80s, chola beauty evolved with it. Hair became huge, feathered, and gravity-defying.
Chola bands, a.k.a jelly bands, were rubber bracelets worn by cholas in the ’70s and ’80s. They were woven together to create all kinds of intricate hand webs.
90s Chola Style
Oversized T-shirts, Dickie’s pants, Converse sneakers, and gold jewelry were all part of the ’90s Chola look. Check the height on those bangs — also a factor in the overall aesthetic.
Pagers and Half Ponytails
If you weren’t rocking big, tall bangs in the ’90s, you were rocking the chola half ponytail. Often, hair was gelled or moussed, and hairsprayed into crunchy curls. The look also involved the ’90s trend of overalls, pagers, hoops, baby tees, and Timberland/Lugz boots.