Several cultures flourished in Central and South America from about 300 C.E. in the modern-day nations of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.
Though the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas were separated in time and in geography, their clothing closely resembled each other. In general, children were naked, and men wore loincloths, adding tunics, or shirts, and cloaks in colder weather.
Cloaks are among the most common garment in human clothing history; cultures across time and the globe have used cloaks to keep warm. Blanket-like cloaks were worn by both men and women of the Mayan, Aztec, and Inca empires.
Men in the Mayan, Aztec, and Inca empires all wore loincloths, the most basic form of male clothing in many ancient cultures. Loincloths were made out of strips of fabric wound around the waist and between the legs, leaving flaps hanging in the front and back.
Tunics were sometimes worn by the men of Mayan, Aztec, and Inca cultures. Made of a woven rectangle of cotton, wool, or plant fiber fabric with a hole in the center for the head, tunics resembled loose, sleeveless pullover shirts that hung from the shoulders to within a few inches above or below the knee.
Early Central and South Americans cared for their hair by washing, combing, and styling it. Atop their carefully styled hair, Mayan, Aztec, and Inca men and women wore hats and headdresses of many different styles.
The early civilizations of Central and South America paid careful attention to their personal cleanliness and created many different ornaments to beautify the body. Decoration among all Central and South American groups indicated social rank.
Ancient peoples in the Americas practiced head flattening as a mark of social status. Head flattening is the practice of shaping the skull by binding an infant's head.
People in Central and South America went barefoot most of the time. The warm climate did not require clothing for warmth.
Usuta, the unique footwear of the Incas, were a type of sandal worn by both men and women. The soles of usuta covered the bottom of the foot but ended at the balls of the foot.