Caribbean Style and Elegance: The Guayabera

guayabera

On July 1st Cuba celebrates the Dia de La Guayabera…  here in Puerto Rico, we think any day is worth celebrating the iconic guayabera!  Guayaberas are a traditional men’s shirt that can be worn both casually or in more formal settings.  It is popular throughout Mexico, Cental America, and the Caribbean.  It is also known as a Mexican Wedding Shirt, or a Cubavera; but here in Puerto Rico we know it as the iconic Guayabera.

The Guayabera is known for its casually elegant style.  It is a symbol of masculine elegance in the Latin American culture; a cultural icon; and is one of the only pieces of men’s clothing that carries such meaning. No one shirt is the same and each one has a lot of personality as seen through all of the embroidery and handwork.

These shirts are made traditionally from linen or a cotton.  They traditionally can be found with the following details:

  • 4 Patch pockets at chest and waist height
  • Two rows of pleating that are very close together or some type of vertical embroidery design
  • The tops of the pocket have a matching shirt button
  • Straight hem on the bottom with slits on the side
  • White or light colors (although other bolder colors have recently become popular).

The history of the guayabera is generally unknown and in dispute.  My favorite story I’ve heard is that it was created in Cuba by the wife of a farmer who sewed on extra patch pockets so that her husband could store all of the Guavas he gathered (guayaba in Spanish).  There is evidence of the shirt design dating back to the 18th century and it was certainly spread throughout the world via international trade routes, but whether it began in Mexico, Cuba, or Puerto Rico is up for grabs.  It can be found in many countries to date and often go be a different name….

  • Zimbabwe: Brought by Cuban teachers, it has become the standard wear for the hot African weather, and is known as a safari shirt.
  • Jamaica: know as a Bush Jacket
  • Trinidad and Guyana: a shirt-jac
  • Dominican Republic: a chacabana
  • Mexico: Mexican Wedding Shirt

Either way, it is a Caribbean tradition, particularly of Puerto Rico and Cuba.  It is completely acceptable to wear it as formal wear – a white guayabera with black or tan trousers makes for a stunning look and it is a great alternative to a suit and tie in warm weather climates.  It can also easily be paired with jeans.  In Miami, it is considered ‘official city attire’.

Also, these shirts are perfect for the wedding party of a Destination Wedding in the Caribbean or as a gift for the men in your lives.  An authentic souvenir of the Caribbean!  If you are looking to purchase one, you can Click Here.  If your convention or group is coming to Puerto Rico and you would like to outfit the men in guayaberas, you can get more information here.

 

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Captain Tim
Captain Tim

Captain Tim is the founder of Caribbean Trading Company in Puerto Rico. Many years ago Captain Tim was a normal everyday guy who decided to do what so many people only dream about. He moved to the Caribbean. Traveling throughout the islands, he has the joy of sharing this lifestyle and its flavors with the world.

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