The ancient Maya wove beautiful fabrics using cotton, hemp, and other fibers. Fibers were dyed and then woven into brilliant designs. Patterns included geometric, floral, animal, and human designs.
Using these beautiful and colorful fabrics, the Maya made clothes to drape, not to fit. The Maya loved to wear one loose garment on top of another.
Women wore loose blouses, and long skirts that wrapped around them. They might add a colorful woven belt or sash, and then added more fabric garments such as a hip wrap, which was a long scarf wrapped around their hips and tied to the side or back. In the winter, they would add a warm shawl or cloak.
Men might wear loin clothes over which they wore a wrap around skirt or kilt. They might carry a woven bag. Many men wore colorful cloth turbans on their heads. In the winter, they too wore a poncho type cloak.
The Maya used embroidery to add even more color to their clothing. The poor did not have much time to spend on personal grooming, so they took good care of their clothes. On festival days, they wore their finery. But when they got home, they put their good clothes carefully away. Clothes had to last. The rich were more careless, but the clothing styles were similar. All the Maya loved color. And all the Maya wore loose clothing.
Sandals were made out of deer skin. They were decorated with pompoms and bits of other hides.
The Mayas wore a great deal of jewelry - earrings, nose rings, lip rings, necklaces, pins and more. The poor wore jewelry made of bone and sticks and painted clay. The rich wore jewelry of gold, silver, copper, turtle shell, and gemstones.
The nobles wore hats, the higher the better. Each was as high as a noble could handle. Some were only a few feet high. Some were taller than they were!
Only nobles could use feathers. Some used feathers in their hair. Feathers were also used to add height to hats. If a commoner used feathers, they could be killed.
Clothes were more than comfort and color. They were used as a form of communication. You could identify someone's family, social status, and community by their clothing.