Things About Cholos In The 90s You Might Not Know

cholos in the 90s

Step back into the gritty streets of 90s Los Angeles, where a unique subculture, known as Cholos, emerged as a bold expression of Mexican American identity. The Cholos and Cholas adorned a distinct aesthetic and style, often associated with gang and street culture. 

Baggy pants, cat eyeliners, gold-plated hoop earrings, bandanas, and gelled baby hair are significant details of the Cholas aesthetic. They adopted certain behaviors, slang, and demeanors as part of the culture. Tattoos and graffiti also played major roles in their expression of identity. 

This specific fashion distinguished people as lower socioeconomic class and rebels. Besides portraying their identity, the subculture promoted belonging within the community. It wasn’t just about fashion; it was a toughness passed down through generations, a rebellion echoing the Chicano movement.

Cholos Aesthetic Includes

While fashion and makeup were not all of the Chola culture, they were a huge part. Cholos in the 90s had specific fashion choices that became symbols of their identity and community. 

Let’s explore the makeup, dress, hair, and cultural roots that shaped this iconic subculture.

1. Chola Makeup Trends In The 90s

Chola Makeup

In the 90s, Chola makeup was all about tough girl aesthetics. It was fierce, glamorous, and dramatic. A full face of foundation, sculpted cheeks, dramatic eyeliner, red/orange blush, and black-lined lips with burgundy or brown lipstick completed the look. 

Skinny eyebrows were also a fashion trend in the 90s. Girls used to make their brows super thin or sometimes remove half of them to pencil them into the desired shape. That’s why you often see not-so-naturally arched and long eyebrows in this makeup trend.  

The iconic two teardrops, tattooed or drawn with precision, symbolized Chola’s strength and resilience. Extensively manicured nails also added to the timeless appeal and solid vibe of Chola makeup trends. 

2. Chola Dressing

Chola Dressing trends in 90s

Cholos attire was a mix of timeless elements and the then-current trends. Their statement wardrobe included oversized baggy jeans, dickies, flannels, tees, tank tops, and plaid shirts (with only the top buttoned). Nike Cortez became a staple for footwear in the Cholo fashion. 

Cholas also wore flannels, shorts, baggy jeans, tank tops, t-shirts, and overalls. These strong-spirited, badass ladies were also fond of dark sunglasses and bandanas. Most of the wardrobes in Cholo subculture consisted of red, black, brown, blue, and white. 

Suspenders and tattoos on arms, knuckles, and neck added an extra layer of defiance, a visual proclamation of their identity.

3. Chola Hairstyles


Chola’s hairstyles, just like the makeup look, were very iconic and significant. Most of these hairstyles are part of pop culture today. 

Women wore slicked-back hair, bangs, half ponytails, smooth curls, tight braids, and bandanas to get the bold and baddie look but in a feminine style. High backcombing and center parting were also some styles that showed a fearless and unapologetic attitude.

4. Chola Jewelry

Chola Jewelry trends in 90s

The jewelry trend among the Cholos in the 90s was based upon the love for gold and blingy. Gold-plated earrings, nameplate necklaces, statement bracelets, and rings made up the major portion of Chola’s fashion. 

Cholos Culture – History & Origin

The Cholos subculture emerged in the 1960s in Southern California. It has deep roots in the Mexican American gang subculture. As it permeated society, it transcended beyond fashion, making impactful strides in music, politics, and resistance. 

This subculture, though often associated with gangs and violence, emerged as a poignant expression of cultural pride, providing the platform for the Latino community to resist marginalization. It became a resounding anthem echoing their Latin roots and community pride. The 1990s witnessed a surge of Cholo and Chola aesthetics, resonating with the Chicano movement. 

Many fashion companies take advantage of the craze of Cholos culture and include iconic stylistic elements in their products or designs. However, Mr. Printup or Spanto, the founder of Born X Raised in Hypebeast, said, “This is a culture with values and traditions, not a style or fashion trend. We actually lived this shit. This is a part of our lives.”

Cholos Subculture Into Pop Culture

Several celebrities from the cinema and music industry have adopted Cholos aesthetics. Many carry it with pride, while some make fun of the Chola makeup or dressing styles.

If you revisit the old 90s music videos, you will find many rappers wearing chola-style bandanas and khakis in their songs. It is because the style goes well with their persona.

  • Snoop Dogg wearing baggy pants and oversized shirts in “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?”.
  • Similar imagery may be seen in Ice Cube’s “It Was a Good Day.”
  • Dr. Dre’s “Still D.R.E” shares a similar tone.

In 2023, Disney+ produced a movie, “Flamin Hot,” based on the actual tale of a person who disrupts the food market with Flamin Hot Cheetos. There are contrasting opinions about its factual history. But, still, it truly represents Chicano culture. You will find accurate gangsta language and tone, pencil-thin eyebrows, and dark lip color with well-defined liners. 

Final Words

Cholos in the 90s was insanely famous because of its rebellious vibe and representation of marginalized communities. This subculture grew from the cat eyes and tattooed arms and became a powerful form of self-expression and resistance. 

It has left an undeniable mark, influencing not just the streets but the mainstream, from edgy makeup to bold jewelry; every element of this aesthetic spoke volumes about identity and defiance, creating a legacy that continues to resonate today. 

Also Read: There are brilliant tricks to convert eyeshadow into eyeliner. If you don’t have your favorite eyeliner shade with you, don’t worry; this guide will help you how to use eyeshadow as eyeliner.

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