When I visited Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula two years ago I was blown away by the beautiful beaches and the ancient ruins, but what made a truly lasting impression were the incredible dresses worn by so many of the local women. These simple white cotton garments, adorned with bright floral embroidery on the bodice and hem, are called huipils. I bought two, but it took all of my self control not to buy twenty of them!
“Huipil” is a catchall term for a loose-fitting rectangular shaped dress or tunic traditionally worn by the indigenous women of Mexico and Central America. They can be long or short, simple or ornate, wide or slim. Whatever their shape and style, huipils are stunningly well-crafted and effortlessly chic! The dead-simple silhouette flatters everyone and drapes perfectly without any finicky shaping.
Ever since my trip I have wanted to try my hand at my own version of this classic dress. Robert Kaufman’s Cotton Linen Chambray in a beautiful deep indigo seemed like a perfectly unique jumping off point. It has the sturdiness of denim, but the grace of a genuine huipil. Combining traditions, I stitched the embroidery in a simple sampler style, choosing a spectrum of DMC Pearl Cotton in blues highlighted by a shock of bright yellow.
In a nod to the versatility of the traditional huipil, this little jumper can be worn by a younger child as a dress and then transition into a tunic for an older child, like Coco, who is 7. And put it on all year round, in the summer on its own and in the cooler months over a long sleeved tee shirt. It’s really no wonder these dresses have been around for so long!