The traje de mestiza was in fact the "Maria Clara",
trimmed into a shapely modernity. The camisa became a clinging
bodice, with the sleeves puched up and cut short to be an
abbreviated leg-o-mutton. The saya deflated to a slim column
that burst out at the hem into a flare or train.
The paņuelo persisted with its hauteur and it was
matched in opulence by a recreated tapis, usually displaying
dazzling patterns in dexterous beadwork.
The traje de mestiza was jazzed up, in tune with the
Jazz Age! The skirt took the spotlight, elongating at the back
to form a saya de cola, the long train which was either pointed,
oval, or square. Or it slithered and swept the floor in a cut
For dancing the valse and the rigodon de honor, the
train was raised with a hem loop inserted to a finger, while
a stringed fan was attached to the waist. Thus the porta abanico
rustled against the saya.
And the elegance of the traje de mestiza could not be
achieved without the right understructures. There were the salawal
or drawers, topped by the camison or chemise. Over these were the
corpino, which covered the bosom, and a petticoat called enagua.
In the postwar years, mention of the traje de mestiza would
conjure a vision of splendor that was reigned, in the glitter and
glamour, at every Carnival. It was an image that would live on
with few subtle changes, until the mid-century.