The Chola subculture emerged as a Mexican-American identity statement in a racially charged atmosphere, in the 60s and 70s.
The term “cholo” was introduced by the European colonizers to refer to the mixed indigenous populations of Central and South America. It was a degrading mode to point at offspring of a couple consisting of a black person and an indigenous person. This is why calling someone a “cholo” or “Chola” can result offensive.
However, from the 1960s, the Mexican-American youngsters of the US belonging to the Chicano Power movement flipped and used this historically denigrating term for the empowerment of their identity.
The cholo and chola style would have a “gangster” hue, expressing attitude and uniqueness.
Let’s take a look at it in detail in this article.
Table of Contents
The Chola Look
The Chola look represents facets like rebellion, pride, distinctiveness, loyalty, and even aggressiveness and anger.
Using the word “chola” for describing or defining a look is fine, but you should be careful when you use the word on a person. This is because this word has still a degradative connotation that originated back in the 16th century.
The Chola look had been originally introduced by Chicana women. Chicanas are the women that have their roots in Mexico, but their birthplace is the US. The look is most often seen in parts of Southern California.
The focus point of the Chola makeup is the eyes and the lips, and the most remarkable feature on the face are the characteristic eyebrows and makeup choice.
A. The Chola Dress Up
The Chola look is usually defined by a puffed-up hair, bangs, lipstick combined with a contrasting lip liner, baggy jeans, oversized flannels that are completely buttoned or just buttoned at the top, and gold chains.
B. Clothing & Accessories
The Chola style has inspired the look that several artists or celebrities sport in public appearances and shows.
The clothing is characterized by:
- Flannels that are completely buttoned up, or only buttoned at the top.
- Button plaid or checkered shirts with the top buttoned.
- T-shirts that feature religious prints or a tattoo design.
- White or black, deep bustiers.
- Tight jeans or pants.
- Sports shoes of popular brands.
The accessories include:
- Military style belts.
- Nose piercings
- Gold chains
- Hoop type silver or gold earrings.
C. Makeup Choice
The makeup is focused on the lips and the eyes, so before starting make sure you have a good quality eyeliner and light and dark colored shiny lipstick and lip liner. Avoid matte tones. The most prominent features will be the very thin and arched eyebrows and the shiny and puckered lips.
Also, keep these points in mind:
1. The foundation should be pale and flawless. So hide all the scars of your face skin with generous amounts of foundation, concealer, and concealing cream.
Apply the foundation on the face skin and jawline with the help of your fingertips or a makeup sponge. Then use loose powder to settle it.
This is the first step to makeup, and you will have to be too attentive to it if you want a perfect outcome.
2. For the cheek-apples apply a blush that gives them a rosy effect. Use a blush or bronzer below the cheekbones, and use a highlighter across the bones before blending the makeup.
To sport an exaggerated look, apply a larger amount of blush than normal.
3. The eyes should have a dramatic and defined look. Apply a neutral eye shadow from the lash line till the brow bone, and highlight the under eye with a light color that darkens as you move to the eyelid crease.
Ensure that it is extended as long as possible from the eye corner. Use a dark, liquid eyeliner or eye pencil to color the upper and lower eyelids and mark the shape of the eyes.
Use mascara to darken and define your eyelashes to the maximum. If necessary, do two coatings. You can also draw a teardrop with the help of eyeliner or eye pencil.
4. Do not forget to define the distinctive eyebrows. They are considered as the heart of the chola makeup.
If you do not shave your eyebrows, pluck them in advance so that they form a thin and pronounced arch, and use a dark eyebrow pencil to define their shape even more.
5. The lips are the second most distinctive feature of the Chola makeup. Plump up your lips with a lipstick that gives them a shiny tone and use a lip liner with a contrasting color.
The lip liner is usually dark brown or burgundy red, and it should be extended beyond the corners of the lip to create sharp points. The lip color is light pink, light, brown or neutral.
6. Chop your hair to get bangs or let it loose in uncombed curls. You can get them by shaking your hair while it is wet. You can fix this texture with hair gel.
The hair can also be moussed down or tied in a ponytail that falls straight down the back
Chola Eyebrows – The Focus Point
The Chola eyebrows belong to the Chola makeup and dressing style, which is said to be a part and represent a Hispanic and Latin American gangster culture.
The makeup first appeared in the 20th century, in the east of Los Angeles. The Chola women had thin, distinctive, fiery, and prominently arched eyebrows that were tattooed or marked by pencil.
These tattooed or drawn (also called sharpies) eyebrows are the “Chola eyebrows.”
Remember that the eyebrows should be the focus of the Chola makeup.
The Chola eyebrows can be tattooed, drawn, or they can be shaped out of your natural eyebrows.
A. Chola Drawn Eyebrows
For temporary Chola eyebrows, you can cover your natural brows with a foundation to make them invisible and then draw thin and much-arched eyebrows that give out a surprised or angry look.
B. Chola Eyebrows Sharpies
Eyebrow sharpies are those that have been the draw after completely removing the natural ones using a sharpie marker. To get cholera eyebrow sharpies, shave your brows and draw a very thin line on the area using a soft black eyebrow pencil.
The look will last for a few days after which it will have to be drawn again. They create a bold and severe appearance.
These kind of eyebrows were very common in Hispanic and Latin America, and the trend continues to exist in some parts of the world.
On the other hand, many people find them unnatural and unappealing. If you do not want to shave your eyebrows, just apply concealer on them to make them look shaved.
If you wish to avoid the step of shaving your eyebrows, you can follow these steps to hide your natural brows:
- Wash your face with a mild face-wash and pat it dry with a towel.
- Rub your brows downwards with the help of glue stick.
- Apply concealer on the brows until they are no longer visible and then coat it with concealing cream.
- Draw the Chola eyebrows with their typical shape using a dark brown or black eyebrow pencil. Make very thin and arched lines. Start drawing them from the inner edge and continue upward bending the pencil to achieve a diagonal shape.
- Practice a few times before going ahead with the look in public.
C. Chola Tattooed Eyebrows
The Chola tattooed eyebrows can be an option when you want them to last many years during which they will require minimum maintenance by regular touch-ups.
Be sure that you want the look before going for because the eyebrows are made with semi-permanent makeup.
A semi-permanent tattoo will be made in the place of the eyebrows with the typical chola eyebrow shape. Before getting these tattoos, you will have to shave your eyebrow or remove them permanently.
Therefore, be certain of your decision. It is recommended that you try less permanent options before this one and think about the cost, possible side effects, and aftercare. If you are going ahead with it, let it be in a reliable tattoo studio or parlor.
The Cholo Look
Not only had the women of the Chicano movement had a unique and representative way of styling themselves. Their male counterparts, or cholos, were also very particular in this aspect.
Cholos have a distinctive styling that characterizes them and expresses their defiant and fiery nature in the present times too.
An original cholo is defined as a Hispanic gangster from southern California, south Florida, south Texas, New Mexico or Colorado.
Being a cholo is not simple, but pulling off the cholo style might be worth a try if you wish to.
Follow these tips to achieve it:
1. Tee Shirts
Invest in plain tee shirts, stripped polo’s, and plaid sleeved button shirts. Make sure the shirts are not fit or tight. In fact, choose a big size.
Go for black, dark blue and green, grey, brown, beige, and white colors and designs of Catholic imagery, Aztec imagery, lowriders, or any other representative characteristic of the cholo sub-culture.
2. Shirt And Jackets
The shirts are flannel or plaid checkered with buttons. You can wear a flannel shirt over a plain tee shirt and button it completely or just at the top. The shirt should be fresh and crisp always. You can opt for plaid flannel jackets and ponchos in winter.
Buy loose-fitting pants but not excessively loose. Let them be a size or two larger than normal to achieve a baggy look. The chosen color should be black, blue, grey, brown, or khaki. You can accessorize them with a black military belt. Keep your plants ironed and creased up.
It should be sportive and of a highly recognized brand. The size should fit you perfectly in a way that you could run comfortably while wearing them. Get varieties of colors to match with your clothes. The socks should either be worn at knee length or not seen at all.
Whatever the haircut is, keep it clean. You can also wear a bandana, a beanie, or a snapback by the rest of your outfit. Trim your beard into a defined mustache and soul patch.
They include knee-high white socks, military belts, bandanas, snapbacks, black beanies, black sunglasses, a rosary, and a plain silver or gold chain. Combine any one or two of these accessories with the clothes. Do not let it look excessive or overdone.
Cholos have tattoos that can represent religion, their name, or that of a beloved one. They are usually done on the hand, arms, torso, stomach, back, or biceps. A lot of cholos and cholas also get a teardrop tattooed near the eye or on the hand.
8. Keep Fresh
To get the right look, make sure you always wear a clean and crisp outfit, maintain good hygiene, and present yourself in a neat way.
The cholo and chola style have many followers and have inspired the wardrobe of many people (including celebrities).
However, we should remember that the dress up is a form of expression of a much richer and more profound concept than just a person’s appearance. It represents a subculture whose history is complicated and deserving of respect.