Mariachis wear a suit called el traje de charro. Historically though, el traje de charro has evolved over many generations.
Prior to the 1930’s, Mariachi in Pasadena and mariachi in general wore white robes and sandals for social town gatherings. Although, mariachi music has always been recognized as a Mexican genre it was regarded as music for peasants. Due to the Mexican revolution and the creation of the radio, mariachis quickly became a national icons as their music was played through the radio and gained acceptance in Mexico’s folklore.
In the late 1930’s Mariachi in Pasadena were featured on television shows with artists such as Jorge Negrete, Pedro Infante, etc. The white robs and sandals became unpopular among critics, and the producers called for the suits to be upgraded for approval ratings. The upgraded version we know now today was influenced by the charreria outfits. In the charreada events, which is similar to a American rodeo, land owners displayed their wealth with more expensive decorations on their suits. Eventually, musicians adopted the charro look. To this day each member in a mariachi group is referred to as a charro.
The great traje de charro of today is the elegant representation of the highest ranking in Mexico’s culture and beauty. The typical black suit with silver decorations is known as the traje de gala. The word gala refers to a social occasion with special entertainments or performances. There is certain pride that goes in wearing el traje de charro. For instance, It is commonly considered disrespectful for mariachis to take off their jackets or moñosduring performances/breaks. They represent Mexico to the highest standards and should be reflected in the way they dress, behave, and perform.