Dressing Sharp in Hot Weather: The Guayabera

by Antonio on July 25, 2012 · 62 comments

in Dress & Grooming, Style

The story goes like this.

About three hundred years ago a farmer’s wife took a needle and thread to her husband’s work shirt. She sewed four large pockets onto the front of the shirt, enabling her husband to easily pick and carry guayabas (guavas).

Past this — well, that’s where the arguments start.

The Cubans claim it originated near the Yayabo river in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba.  The Mexicans believe the Yucatans invented the shirt and the Cubans copied it.  Then there are other stories of it originating in Thailand or the Republic of the Philippines, and then making its way to Central America via Chinese slave traders.

I will only say this: The guayabera is a functional and stylish hot weather garment that should be in more men’s wardrobes.

The purpose of this article is to introduce you to this classic men’s shirt — and hopefully help you see it’s something you can wear on those sweltering hot summer days.

What Is a Guayabera?

The guayabera is a traditional Latin American garment.  Most of the guayaberas in the United States originate from factories in and around Miami, Florida, which are often owned by Cuban-Americans.

The basic features that define a guayabera are:

  • Either two or four patch pockets on the shirt front
  • Two vertical rows of either small pleats (actually called tuxes) and/or embroidery
  • Straight hem meant to be worn untucked

Different artisans over the years have taken the liberty to create variations of the garment, such as adjustable buttoning slits at the sides of the shirt, french cuffs, short sleeves, and even no pockets.  For the purposes of this article, I will include them all.

As for color, white and light pastel colors are the most common and traditional, but like any shirt, guayaberas now come in both traditional and brighter colors as young men have asked for more variety.

100% cotton or 100% linen are used to make the highest quality guayaberas. Light weaves are prized in hot, humid climates. A thriving tourist market has led to production of lower-cost, part-synthetic guayaberas that are sold as affordable souvenirs; depending on the weave, they are fine for most men, but if you can, try to find one made from natural material.

Wearing the Guayabera: Casual Style

In the United States, the guayabera is mostly used for a casual shirt, worn without a jacket. The long, even hem is meant to hang over the trouser waist and belt.

There are no real rules on what you can and can’t wear with a guayabera. Jeans or other tough work pants are a nod to its working-class origins. Cotton slacks are typical dress-casual antecedents. Shorts look a little touristy, but it is a popular tourist shirt. You can do that look if you’re comfortable with it.

The kind of guayabera you buy will affect which pants and other garments it goes well with. You can loosely break guayaberas down into three broad categories:

  1. Practical working clothes — These guayaberas are meant for field work or made to look like they’re meant for field work. The color is light to reflect the sun, the vertical embroidery is often pierced to let more air in, and the base fabric is very light and gauzy. The patterns are usually simple and in light-colored thread, or in many cases in the same color as the base material itself.
  2. Festive clothing — This is where we get the “Mexican wedding shirt” style of guayabera, which can be long  or short-sleeved. The vertical bands are typically embroidered in more than one color, and the base color can be anything from white to black, with bright pastels a common compromise between festive color and light reflection.
  3. Tourist clothing — Very brightly-colored guayaberas with loud, contrasting colors are the Latin American version of the Hawaiian shirt. They’re meant for vacationing Americans and are usually made cheaply from synthetic fabrics.

Working guayaberas complement jeans or cotton slacks. Festive guayaberas do as well, but can also be paired with more colorful pants or with dress slacks made from tropical weight wool or linen. Tourist guayaberas can go with anything you wear on vacation — they’re going to look loud and silly no matter what, so go ahead and wear them with shorts.  Need help with how to wear shorts? Here’s an older AoM article on the subject.

The overall theme here is versatility: men have been wearing guayabera-style shirts for centuries. At one point or another they’ve been paired with everything. Be assertive and wear yours with whatever looks good.  Here’s a great example of guayaberas being worn in a more fashion-forward way.

And age?  Doesn’t matter if you’re seven, seventeen, or seventy.  They look great and are incredibly comfortable.   In fact in this interview, master guayabera-maker Rafael Contreras discusses why more US men should embrace this simple and masculine garment.

The Guayabera as Business and Formal Wear

It’s not widely known in the United States (at least outside of Florida), but several Latin American and Caribbean island nations have adopted the guayabera, formally or informally, as a form of national business wear.

Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Cuba (where it is the official dress garment as of 2010)  all recognize the guayabera as a form of “national dress.” Their political leaders often wear them at public events.  Just type in Summit of the Americas and you’ll see dozens of Latin American leaders wearing guayaberas alongside counterparts wearing full suits and ties.

Obama: “I’m hot in this jacket! Where can I get a guayabera?”

Outside of beach weddings, it’s unlikely that most North Americans will need to wear the guayabera in a formal or business setting.  However, if you’re interested in doing so, the standard formal style is:

  • Long-sleeves — short sleeves are casual
  • Plain white or cream/off-white base color — darker or brighter colors are very casual and worn more by young men
  • Low-contrast (often same-color) embroidery — flashy embroidery does make the guayabera more casual, although this is the one area you can be a bit more flamboyant in a formal setting to add a dash of personal style
  • Typically two pockets rather than four for a dressier look — no pockets and it is technically no longer a guayabera
  • Tailored fit — loose-fitted guayaberas are more casual

Like all things pertaining to style, there will be the occasional exception, but leave them to men who wear guayaberas regularly and need a little variety in their lives. Most of us will look better sticking to the conservative white long-sleeved style in business settings where we would normally wear a suit.

A few cultures have their own specific expectations for dress guayaberas. Zimbabwe, for example, adopted the guayabera from Cuban teachers and missionaries, and it is now typical to wear a white short-sleeved guayabera with black slacks at weddings, and a black short-sleeved guayabera at funerals.

Buying a Quality Guayabera

So what makes a high-quality guayabera?

More than anything, the material. Guayaberas are hot-weather clothing. (You can’t really get away with wearing them outside of summer in places like the United States or Western Europe.)

For comfort’s sake, that means either 100% cotton or 100% linen, or something very much like it. A small percentage of synthetic fiber can help with mildew resistance, but anything more than 5% or so of the blend is a cost-saving measure rather than a sign of good construction. Synthetics don’t breathe well and become sticky quickly in humid weather, so stick to natural fibers.

A few South Asian countries make guayabera-style shirts from plant fibers like bamboo, ramie, or hemp. While sometimes heavier than cotton, they do typically hold up well in humid weather, and are very resistant to mildew and the bad-smelling bacteria that colonize human sweat.

Other considerations beyond the material to look for include:

  • Pleats (tuxes) on the front — a quality guayabera will have 12 or more (see picture above). Larger & less pleats are an indicator that the guayabera is made for the tourist market. Nothing wrong with this — just make sure if you’re paying a steep price for a handmade garment you get your money’s worth!
  • Quality embroidery and stitching with no loose threads — look at the details. Is the stitching tight?  Is it the same on both sides?
  • Sturdy buttons — mother of pearl is always better than plastic — although this is an inexpensive upgrade you can do yourself. After all, I just taught you how to sew on a button!
  • Fit — tailored if possible; tapered at the very least.  Guayaberas are made to be worn a bit looser; however, most men in good shape can have their guayaberas brought in on the sides.  Also, make sure the guayabera is long enough.  Cheap manufacturers will try to skimp on fabric — you want at least 3-5 inches (depends on your height — taller, more).

The latter point is important in keeping the guayabera from flapping like a sail in the wind. You want it to hang off the body for comfort, but not very far. Slim men will need more of a taper than stocky men, and can look quite absurd without it.

Travelers to Miami, Cuba, or Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula can have a guayabera custom-made if they have a few days to spare. Exchange rates favor United States or European travelers heavily, so it’s possible to get high-quality, custom-fitted clothing for pennies on the dollar. Non-Spanish (or Portuguese in the case of Brazil) speakers can expect to pay the usual “tourist tax” mark-up from most merchants, but you still tend to end up paying less than you would buying off-the-rack in the United States or online.

For men who don’t regularly travel to Latin America or South Asia, there are a few tailors selling custom guayaberas online. Expect to pay much the same prices that you would for a custom-made dress shirt, and for the same reasons.

It’s best to start with a plain white or off-white guayabera and build your collection from there. The hotter your climate, the more reasons you’ll find to wear them, but even men in temperate climes will find use for the guayabera’s versatile style.

Watch this video to have me talk you through the post:

I would like to thank Rafael Contreras, owner of D’Accord American Made Guayaberas for consulting with me on this article. 

Written By:
Antonio Centeno of Real Men Real Style
Grab My Free 47 Page Style eBook

{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Steven July 25, 2012 at 10:41 pm

I’ve got a couple and I like them both. They are very comfortable and cool and are a small reflection of my culture.

Unfortunately, I rarely wear mine because my wife hates them. She says I look like a cholo when I wear them. I guess I have to take the good with the bad!

2 Joseph Sanchez July 25, 2012 at 10:43 pm

http://www.pennersinc.com/guayaberas-short-long-sizes-s-8x-talls.html

Great site for a Store in San Antonio. I get all my Guayaberas there.

3 dave July 25, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Another plus that I have learned from some older gentleman who spent the majority of their lives in the tropics; a gueyabera shirt allows a gentleman to comfortably dress nicely while discreetly remaining well armed.

4 JRThom July 25, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Three a month ago, after my parents returned from vacation, I realized that I needed a few of these shirts. My dad had always worn them when I was growing up and he stopped a while after coming to America. On vacation he bought a few and it brought back memories. Hopefully I’ll be able to pick up a couple while on vacation next year.

5 Richard July 25, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Thanks for the read. I live in Southern Louisiana and I am always on the lookout for clothing that looks good but is comfortable in our extremely hot, humid and breeze-less summers.

6 Jeffrey Armando Vasquez July 25, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Great post, but you fail to mention that you can actually accessorize the Guayabera with a bow tie. Check out how I wore mine here: http://www.1000daysofbowties.com/2012/04/day-116.html

7 Scott July 25, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Where is the blue short sleeve Guayabera pictured in the article from? Would love to pick one of those up.

8 Calvin July 25, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Looks almost exactly like something that’s worn in the Philippines. I think it’s called a barong, close enough if it’s not. The barongs I saw were cut the same but had little of the adornment, pockets or pleats.

9 Antonio Centeno July 25, 2012 at 11:59 pm

@Steven – Sounds like you need to show her this article:)

@Joseph – I have never been there – where does he make them and what’s the guayabera culture in San Antone?

@Dave – you’re going to love an article we have planned for fall – it deals with concealed….

JRThom – I love the culture/memory aspect as well.

@Richard – You are welcome.

@Jeffrey – I love the look – congrats on your project there!

10 william July 26, 2012 at 1:18 am

holy balls, your timing is impeccable.
i just moved to Mexico, and have been trying to figure out how to dress formally here, noticing the style of dress tends to be quite different due to the oppressive heat. my suit is near drenched in sweat before i finish putting the thing on. i noticed shirts like this, but the cheesy tourist ones are more readily available, this information has been a godsend. you guys rock. thank you!

11 Casey July 26, 2012 at 2:12 am

Speaking of hot weather fashion, I have a dilemma. I live in the Southwest where it gets extremely hot, I ride a bike instead of driving a car, and I’m sick of the usual t-shirts and shorts look. It being so hot makes it difficult to wear anything else, but I’m sick of looking like an overgrown little kid. Any suggestions?

12 Tony July 26, 2012 at 3:34 am

@dave: Thanks for the tip. I am always looking for clothing that I can wear whilst packing heat. Too bad not everyone carries a cannon because the world would be a much nicer place.

13 Greg M July 26, 2012 at 3:52 am

Superb. I live in Japan, which is not only hot and sticky, but we are also facing electricity shortages so A/C is a premium. My summer wardrobe consists of white shirts, chinos and a panama hat. Classic, but I’d like to spice it up a bit. This will definately give me something to go on!

14 Jeffrey Armando Vasquez July 26, 2012 at 6:20 am

@Antonio – Thanks for the encouraging words!

Gents, I’ve used this site in the past to order Guayaberas not only for myself but for my sons as well. They’re currently having a nice ‘take 35% off’ sale. Check them out!
http://www.cubavera.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-cubavera-Site/default/Default-Start

15 pushbuttonkitty July 26, 2012 at 9:46 am

when they’re made well and worn right, i think men look excessively attractive in them, especially when paired with a hat.

16 Samuel Warren July 26, 2012 at 9:50 am

As always Antonio, your style advice is right on the money. I’ll have to look for one of these to see how I like it.

17 Carlos July 26, 2012 at 10:27 am

Until the last few years I have always owned a few guayabera. My father always wore them when it was hot and truth be told they were some of the best warm/hot weather shirts I ever owned. Of course my father is Mexican and swears they originated in Mexico, but even he would have admitted that it didn’t matter because they are “damn good shirts and every man should own a few,” his words. I have been wanting to purchase new ones for several years now, but they are impossible to find where I live. I will be looking at any links posted to find where I can get them.

18 Antonio Centeno July 26, 2012 at 11:13 am

Thanks for all the great comments – FYI the images should link to vendors I trust and I worked with 2nd generation guayabera maker Raphael Contreras on this article – he own http://www.daccordinc.com/ and you can call for help if you’re buying your first one and need help picking a style.

@William – Great to hear!

@Casey – Look in the AOM archives – we covered hot weather dressing there sir.

@Tony – agreed.

@Greg – What do the Japanese wear?

@Jeffrey – you deserve it!

@PBK – Good point.

@Samuel – Thank you!

19 Richard Williams July 26, 2012 at 11:55 am

To each his own, but not for me. Looks like something a hospital orderly would wear. I’ll stick with 100% cotton designed for Southern gentlemen for my summer wear.
;o)
http://www.southernproper.com/gentlemen.html

20 Abel July 26, 2012 at 12:13 pm

I love guayaberas, here in México, it’s the choice for weddings in the beach or very hot places. I read in a previous comment that someone’s wife hated them because he looked like a “cholo”. Well, my advise is to search for a guayabera which has a slimmer fit (they don´t need to be wrapped around your torso) and maybe not so long. Go only for white or light blue, in pure cotton or linen. Wear them with khaki-light tan, or light gray dress pants or even a good pair of jeans (avoid too relaxed cuts). If it’s sharp enough for presidents, you should look as good as them.
Also, they aren´t supposed to be worn under any kind of jacket, or suit, if you need to wear a jacket stay with a dress shirt.

21 Phillip July 26, 2012 at 12:22 pm

This is one piece of regional clothing that might not look good on everyone.

Same goes for the Dashiki.

22 Matt July 26, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Not a huge fan of those things… I’ve got a couple but just cant wear them. I guess they make me look like a Colombian drug lord… but unfortunately not the classy kind.

23 William Crosby Prentice July 26, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Dave commented on the utility of the Guayabera when carrying concealed weapons. Note that there are several places that design shirts such as this for exactly that purpose, one being the line created by 5.11 (see http://www.511tactical.com/All-Products/Shirts/Concealed-Carry.html). I would argue that a gentleman always takes responsibility, within the law of course, for his own personal safety and that of those with him, so this is a valid matter for a man to consider.

24 Camille July 26, 2012 at 4:08 pm

I’m originally from Trinidad and this is common wear there. But these models make it look sexy. Great pics.

25 David. July 26, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Looks like the safari suit jackets which were worn in colonial times in Africa, particularly the British colonies… and still in some African countries, though never in long sleeve – much too hot for that!

26 Todd July 27, 2012 at 12:23 am

Nothing like a quality bush jacket. They keep you looking smart and sharp even in the hottest locales.

27 LoneStarRussian July 27, 2012 at 3:00 am

Great article. I recently had to wear a Guayabera to a pre wedding party. It was a snazy look my wife and I both liked it. I had to wear a white cotton tshirt under to keep it looking nice (it was an upscale party) and didn’t want people to get a not so good wet tshirt free show. My advice ( that I got from the mother of the bride) is if you have to wear a tshirt under make sure it is a v-neck. That way you can show off some of that man rug on your chest. (not too much though keep it tasteful)

28 Ruth July 27, 2012 at 4:25 am

I was in a local thrift store five years ago and found a royal blue one. The fact that it was made of 100 percent cotton and had four pockets made me stop and look at it, and the fact that it was a large enough size to fit me comfortably made me decide to buy it. It has stayed soft through many wearings, washings and mendings! It is one of my favorite shirts and the one I grab in the summer to wear over an undershirt if I have to go somewhere. By the way, I’m an almost 60 year old woman who loves her Guayabara!

29 Mike July 27, 2012 at 1:48 pm

The guayabera was invited in 1709 by José Pérez Rodríguez, a Spaniard, in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba.

30 john July 27, 2012 at 4:25 pm

About forty years ago I lived for a time in the Republic of Panama, a lovely place if you could take the heat and humidity.

I was introduced to the guayavera while living there and had a fair selection of them. They were the most practical and comfortable summer wear I’ve ever worn, and I’ve always wondered why the style never migrated north.

31 Gus T July 28, 2012 at 9:22 pm

I live in Savannah and have a good collection in my closet. They are great in the heat and humidity and do fit a lot of occasions.

32 Tony July 28, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Many years ago my wife threw away three beautiful guayaberas that I brought back from Puerto Rico, although she has tolerated many of my nicer “island” shirts. But payback was sweet as I recently started to bring back cool shirts from business trips. I finally have guayaberas again but my wife still dislikes them. However, she has fallen in love with the colorful Indonesian batik shirts that are the business norm in Jakarta every Friday.

33 Alexis July 29, 2012 at 12:58 pm

This is the only store selling guayaberas with a full year guarantee. Mycubanstore.com

34 David July 29, 2012 at 3:32 pm

I personally don’t like this style, but I agree it is a good way to stay cool. However, there are better alternatives

35 Sam Gagliardi July 30, 2012 at 12:19 pm

I’m actually going to look into trying one of these after seeing this! I’m not sure about the more transparent styles, but the top darker blue shirt actually looks pretty smart!

36 Rafael Contreras July 30, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Enjoyed reading comments as much as the interview with Antonio Centeno.
There was another case of a first time wearer of a guayabera that I forgot to metion to Antonio. It was the instance when a few years ago my wife’s uncle gifted a Spanish duke one of our premium linen guayaberas and he told me the duke was thrilled and impressed with the meticulous workmanship. He had never seen or worn a better guayabera in his life. I say if our guayabera is good enough for this duke of Spanish royalty anhd it’s good enough for “our Duke Wayne…it does not get any better than this.Best to all at The Art of Manliness

37 Nicholas July 30, 2012 at 8:07 pm

I love wearing my guayaberas, ever since my times in Mexico and hanging with Mexicans.
I wear it here in Canada on hot days, mainly for informal or semi-formal wear (short-sleeved).
Never tried wearing the long-sleeved version in formal settings, but will try it this week in the courts where I am a Spanish interpreter. I should be justified since it matches my culture :)

38 Craig Lyons July 31, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Thanks for an interesting post. Attending college in Hawaii, I have been forced by circumstance to look at warm-weather alternatives to the one-man sweat lodge a t-shirt is liable to become on a busy Honolulu day; though I’m rather firmly in Hawaiian Shirt territory even back home in SoCal, I’ll take a closer look at some of these next time I’m at a store that carries them.

39 Rod Penner August 4, 2012 at 12:05 am

I had never considered wearing a guayabera until reading this article. Picked up a couple at Penner’s (no relation) in San Antonio. Excellent service and selection and the linen shirts look great – my wife loves them!

40 Kevin August 4, 2012 at 1:51 am

Cool! I learn a lot today about guayabera. Though I had never worn one – maybe because it is not popular in this part of the world – I will love to wear them.

41 Christian August 5, 2012 at 11:44 pm

As a Cuban-American who’s lived the majority of his life in Miami and San Antonio, I’d like to thank you for featuring the Guayabera. It’s always nice to see Latin-American styles celebrated.

42 Emily August 7, 2012 at 3:56 pm

“Two vertical rows of either small pleats (actually called tuxes) and/or embroidery”

FYI, they’re called pin tucks. Tucks, not tux. :)

43 Carlito August 8, 2012 at 11:37 am

Oh yes, Guayaberas in Latin America are a must in hot weather if one attends to a party or a wedding.
Nobel laureate Gabriel García Marquez wore one at his prize acceptance ceremony.

44 Santiago August 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Great article! I’m 36 years old and I begged my parents to get me my first Guayabera when I was in the 1st grade; the only one that they could find in my size was peach colored. Needless to say, I’ve been sporting them practically my entire life. When I got to college, I even got my fraternity brothers hooked on them. We’d break them out in the middle of the week and started calling it “Guayabera-Wednesday.” When I got married, sure enough…my white Guayabera, khaki cargo shorts and my chanklas on the beach. These shirts are classics; just like good classic hat, if you wear them with confidence, you can wear them for any occasion. I’ll probably be buried in one.

45 Ransom Gilbert August 16, 2012 at 11:20 am

I just bought my first one from the internet. White with short sleeves. It is classy and comfortable. Got the White Linen so it is casual but still looks sharp.

46 Rafael Contreras September 27, 2012 at 7:53 am

I smiled when the guayabera was
suggested as a conceal carry garment. You don’t know how many detectives from our local police forces
in Miami and South Miami love to wear my guayaberas in their daily
work.They are comfortable in style and completely and safely concealed.And of course the everu day conceal carry guys also wear their guayaberas to carry concealed in style.

47 Eddie October 8, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Sorry, but the guayabera is CUBAN all the way, baby!

48 Steve October 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Just posted the article on my FB with a comment about these “Cuban shirts” being one of my favorite things about living in Florida… and was immediately jumped about the article’s title calling it “Mexican”… How’d I get myself in the middle of this fire-fight?? (Great article, great garment!)

49 Pwag November 1, 2012 at 8:30 pm

I like the look at these, but am having issues with the fact that they look like bowling shirts fat guys gravitate to in order to avoid tucking in their shirts.

I do a lot of hot weather fishing and carry a handgun and this looks like I may have to deal with my prejudices and adopt one of these for utilitarian purposes.

50 B L Salsbury November 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Where can I go to order these to fit my short heavy (5′-8″–220 lbs.) frame ..I leave in Naples Fl . ……and I have been looking for them …..thank you

51 Debra Torres November 23, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Hi Antonio: I came across this post after finding the image on Pinterest. I designed the darker “denim” blue guayabera in short sleeves. And I also carry D’Accord guayaberas on my website at http://www.debratorres.com. I love the post you did and hope it helps shed light on the beauty and versatility of the guayabera. It may be a little ethnic for some, but trust me, nothing beats a nice guayabera for looking sophisticated in the summer heat…thank you for sharing the story.

52 Samuel November 24, 2012 at 9:51 pm

If you do find yourself in the tropics, try wearing a pith helmet. I’m not being facetious, I’m entirely serious. Not only does it look cool (lends to a “gentleman explorer” look, when added to other safari garb), but they’re (surprisingly) practical and quite comfortable.
I wore one when I visited French Guyana: it was lightweight; protected me marvellously from the sun; had good ventilation; and retains water like a super-sponge, so that I could soak it in to keep my head extra cool, without the water dripping all over my shoulders.

I understand that they’re quite popular amongst populaces of South-East Asia, particularly Vietnam.

53 Andrew November 25, 2012 at 2:32 am

Ms. Torres, no offense to you, but the prices for your shirts are absolutely astronomical! Wow! You can get these same shirts at a men’s big and tall store for 1/5 the price.

54 Debra Torres November 25, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Hi Andrew,
I am not offended. But I can ensure you that my branded shirts don’t compare to something that retails for 1/5 the price. My shirts are designer quality made to order in NYC and are priced comparable to a product made in such a way. I totally understand price sensitivity and that’s why I also carry guayabera shirts on my website starting at $45. There is a big difference in fabric used and stitching quality, to say the least. But price is an issue sometimes, so we try to meet the needs of that customer as well.

55 Tora December 3, 2012 at 1:24 am

If any of AoM readers travels to Guadalajara (Mexico’s 2nd largest city), you could get a custom made, high-quality Guayabera (they also sell pre-made high quality guayaberas) in this adress:
8 de Julio #156 Col. Centro.
phone: 36-58-57-69.

56 Kamron January 10, 2013 at 9:11 am

Guayaberas rock! We call them Bush Jackets here in Jamaica (as in outdoors and not G. “Dubya” Bush). We wear them for work (I’m an Environmental Health Officer), Doctors, Pharmacists, Medical Technologists, Radiographers, Male Nurses and pretty much any other occupation in the Health Field here wear them.

Trust me, a well tailored bush jacket with some wicked neat straight flat front pants and a stylish pair of shoes makes you look like you mean business. All mine are short sleeved. They come in quite handy with the extra pockets, I work on the road a lot and do a tonne of walking so thats when the extra pockets make sense since a satchel can be a bit cumbersome at times.

57 Charles April 4, 2013 at 8:26 pm

I love the look and have been fortunate enough to find PLENTY in Miami at a very reasonable price. I wear them when the weather in south FL reaches 80 and above. Excellent for casual/dressy wear when paired with linen slacks !

58 A.M. April 13, 2013 at 11:34 am

Thank you Antonio for mentioning the Philippines in the Guayabera equation. As Calvin correctly stated it is called the Barong in this part of the world. It must have crossed the oceans I posit from the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade. There are some articles that state that the Guayabera was once called the Filipina in Mexico. It is really hard for sure to say where it originated. In the Philippines, it was traditionally tucked out because the Spanish colonial authorities wanted to make sure that the natives bore no concealed weapons. The Barong Tagalog is long sleeved and the Polo Barong is short sleeved. Interestingly, the last 10 years have seen the use of the Latin American design for Guayaberas. Thus businessmen in Manila use either Polo Barongs or Guayaberas. If the Philippine origins are true, the Guayabera was exported and re-imported back into the Philippines.

59 Chris Montoya July 6, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Antonio – One question – do you wear an undershirt with the Guayabera? What’s the guideline.

60 Alfred D. Beard October 29, 2013 at 12:39 am

I have a navy blue “Filipino wedding shirt” that was given to me years ago. When the Oklahoma heat hits 115°, I can’t imagine life without that shirt and a pair of white slacks.

61 Alejandro April 16, 2014 at 11:49 am

It is unaccurate to say that Latin American presidents always use guayaberas as a “national dress”.

They have adopted them as the “official” casual attire for very specific cases described below but for most of the time they do use suits (and very fine designer ones except for the hobo they have for president at Uruguay). Latin american presidents use guayaberas only at outdoor events in hot weather, that’s it. And it is important to note that if the president is using a guayabera no-one in his staff is allowed to use a suit (therefore looking more formal than the president), they all have to use guayaberas as well.

62 Horace April 17, 2014 at 5:04 am

In Guyana, they are called shirt-jacks. In 1969 or earlier, Prime Minister, Forbes Burnham, made them the official dress of Guyana to replace the shirt and tie or suit and tie. I used to waer them in Guyana and even the two high schools, I attended Central High and Saint Stanislaus College changed the boys’ uniform from khaki pants, blue shirt and tie to blue shirt jack. At Saints it was the grey pants and grey shirt jack. I have had some tailor made and enjoyed wearing them. I still enjoy wearing my shirt tucked in my pants.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post:

Site Meter