Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1862 N. Mexican vaquero
Subjectvaquero cowboy
Culture: northern Mexican
Setting: cattle drives, northern Mexico / western United States mid-18th-early 19thc

Context (Event Photos, Period Sources)

* National Cowboys of Color Museum and Hall of Fame
"The Vaquero  A good half century before the Western beef-cattle industry blossomed in Texas, a singular breed of professional horsemen calling themselves 'vaqueros' had already set the style, evolved the equipment and techniques, and even developed much of the vocabulary that would become the stamp of the American cowboy."

* Rosa 1995 p111-112
​"Texans, it seemed, continued to cause and attract trouble.  The Eagle of 20 and 27 August described the murder of a Texan by two Mexicans following a gambling dispute.  Friends of the deceased pursued the pair and both were shot and killed 'in an attempt to resist an arrest, that at least is what they call it in these parts'.  It was only one of several incidents that occurred in Wichita that summer and fall.  On 13 November 1873, the Eagle pinpointed the basic prejudices of the races when it reported that 'a dozen Mexican greasers, camped upon the other side of the river, last night attacked Constable Prentiss and beat him with their revolvers most inhumanly.  Sheriff [William] Smith is out with a posse this morning and we have no doubt of their arrest and punishment.  Some of the people of this city have been laboring under the impression that there was an ordinance in force prohibiting the carrying of firearms within the city.  From the number of revolvers flourishing upon our streets in the last two weeks, we conclude that it was only an impression.'
    "Ellsworth experienced similar problems.  On 7 March 1868, the Junction City Union reported that one 'Chaves', described as a 'Mexican bummer' formerly of Kansas City, and accompanied by other Mexicans, entered a saloon and announced that 'Americans did not like Mexicans'.  Drawing his pistol he opened fire, shooting a man in the arm.  Despite the shock of his wound, the man drew his own pistol and shot Chaves dead.  The unpopularity of the Mexicans was voiced by the Leavenworth Daily Commercial of 7 July 1872, when it noted that society at Ellsworth was 'of the roughest kind, boiled down.  The Greasers are rougher, and the soiled doers [prostitutes] are roughest.'  The writer described a 'genuine greaser' lounging in a saloon, who was 'dressed in a buckskin suit, Mexican spurs, Navy revolvers, bowie knife, and long hair.  Across was a Texan similarly dressed.'


* National Cowboys of Color Museum and Hall of Fame
"Leather clothing and equipment protected vaqueros of Baja California and northern Mexico from thorny cactus and brush.  The 'taps' (tapaderas) hanging down over the stirrups protected the feet and prevented them from slipping through the stirrups. 
    "Vaqueros made excellent leather and horsehair ropes, which they threw with great skill.  Vaqueros generally could be found with a rope, a tall wide sombrero, and depending on local conditions, high leather boots and leggings or sandals.  Vaqueros might wear a short, trim charro jacket or use a poncho."






* Rosa 1995 p112 (describing vaqueros in Texas)
"Most of the Mexicans ... preferred the knife to the pistol, and proved to be very dextrous [sic] in its use."