• Hanging out in La Paz, you’re bound to notice a certain kind of woman who looks, well, a little like this. Who are these women and how can you cop some of their distinctive style? From the streets of La Paz, we bring you “How to Dress Like a Cholita.”

  • Lesson #1: Shawls are your best friend; not only do they keep you warm, their sumptuous fringe gives you some serious swag as you go about your daily errands.

  • See? The more fringe, the better.

  • Lesson #2: Bowler hats should be worn at least three sizes too small and perched on top of your head, a good two inches away from your forehead. Bonus history lesson: As legend has it, the bowler hat arrived in the Andes when a gang of Europeans working on the Bolivian railroad ordered a shipment of the fashionable chapeaus from London. Due to some clerical fluke, when the hats arrived, they were many sizes too small. Deemed un-wearable by the railroad brigade, the mini-bowlers were passed out to the native women, who tipped them at a jaunty angle and went about their business.

  • Lesson #3: Mantas should be worn around the shoulders and pinned together in the front, as demonstrated here by the lovely Isabelle Valedin.

  • Lesson #4: As far as accessories go, there’s nothing like a giant chow to make a statement.

    (Okay, this one may not exactly be definitive cholita dogma, but it’s still pretty badass).

As Seen On
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