When it comes to Cuba travel, I'm sure you have a ton of questions. One of them is what to wear when traveling to Cuba?
This infographic will give you a guide to wear the most authentic Cuban shirt there is, the guayabera shirt! I hope you enjoy the information we provide on this page.
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More on Men's Guayaberas
With so many choices, picking the perfect Guayabera for your Cuba travel can be tricky. Though it may seem difficult, I can help.
With a lifetime of wearing, making and customizing Guayaberas for all occasions including wholesale, corporate events and uniforms, I can offer you helpful tips on how to make the best choice for your needs.
I’ll help you find the right man’s Guayabera based on your specific needs here. With a little help, you’ll find the perfect Guayabera, with the right fit, in the color and fabric you prefer and have it on its way to you momentarily with just a few simple clicks.
If you want to learn more, I’ll also answer the most common questions below.
When & Where Should I Wear a Guayabera?
- Anytime! Especially when traveling to Cuba, Mexico, Central America and Pacific countries. Basically all tropical counties.
- While in Miami.
- At a beach or Destination Wedding.
- At Business events in Latin America where you want to get your foot in the door.
- On your Cuba travel or your next vacation or cruise, choose from a wide variety, sportier beach or formal celebratory Guayaberas.
- In lieu of a suit, in most Latin countries, like Cuba, Mexico and Panama, a formal linen guayabera is considered formal attire.
- As a gift to a coworker or business leader, a traditional Linen long-sleeve Guayabera shirt will make a professional impression.
How do you pronounce Guayabera?.
100% of customers agree! Choosing the fabric is as important as selecting the Guayabera's style.
Linen is an ancient luxurious high-end fabric. It is one of the first fabrics people made into string and threaded to clothing fabric.
As a rule of thumb, fresh fabrics in light colors are ideal for tropical climates. That is the primary reason linen is so popular for Guayaberas. Linen is noteworthy for its thermal properties, moisture absorbency and comfort. It breathes easily, allowing breeze to blow through.
It is great for shirts that are worn in hot climates, beach weddings and tropical evenings. However, it requires utmost care. Dry Cleaning is required to care for linen. Linen garments should not be placed in a drying machine: they wrinkle easily and require ironing. Linen Wikipedia
Choose your linen Guayaberas here:
Like linen, cotton is a natural fabric and when blended with polyester it creates a strong durable and easy to care for garment. In fact, most of the clothing we wear is made of cotton, polyester or a blend of both fabrics. We also carry Guayaberas made from cotton blends that vary from 60% - 65% polyester and 35% - 40% cotton.
Select from our easy-care cotton blend Guayaberas here:
4 Pockets! Why?
The Guayabera’s most noticeable feature is the four-pocket design found on the front. This utilitarian feature is one of its most identifiable characteristics.
The pleats help keep your hands free and carry all kinds of things. Traditionally, field workers carried guavas, cigars and fruit.
Pleats, Pockets, Flag like design on the back, side slids, button decorations are the characteristic features that makes the Guayabera.
But wait, it's not that simple!
The guayabera design must be looked at as a ‘whole package’ kind of deal, now that they have become a designer and popular fashion statement.
It can no longer be said that if there are not 4 pockets and pleats, you are not wearing a Guayabera. Four pockets and front pleats are a must only for those interested in the most conventional and traditional Guayaberas!
My invitation attire says Guayabera, which one is right?
How formal is your event?
If you are invited to a formal reception or party requesting ‘Guayabera’ attire, that means 4 pockets, pleats, side slits, straight hem and back pleats.
Otherwise, modern attire has a wide array of Guayaberas, including two pockets, no pockets, stripes in place of the front pleats and more decorative prints.
If you prefer shirts without the 4 pockets, try these shirts:
How did the Guayabera get its pleats?
The front pleats are one of the unique design features of the Guayabera. As for functionally, pleats strengthen the pockets so the pockets can carry more weight. Fashionably, they give the shirt a stylish shape and help in the form of its overall fit.
If you look at the Guayabera’s design the row of pleats traditionally symbolize the Cuban flag, with the triangle, star and row of lines.
What’s better, short or long sleeves?
The Guayabera comes in two forms, short or long sleeves. The most elegant is considered the long sleeve version made of linen. It is the traditional Cuban shirt worn since the 1800’s.
The short-sleeve man’s Guayabera is definitely a great option for informal occasions, especially if the shirt is to be worn for cruises, vacations, Havana night parties or any outdoor event that isn’t professional or upscale.
Why is there a slit on the side?
This shirt was born during the Spanish American war. Legend has it the slit on the side was used to make it easy to pull out your machete when fighting against the Spanish army, Cuban mambises (freedom fighters) were known for their “cargas al Machete” (Machete Charges: charging at soldiers with machetes), a style of war perfected in the Cuban countryside during the war.
Nowadays you don’t have to carry a machete to appreciate the slit on the side! It’s functionality is mainly to provide a looser and breezier fit. It’s more fashionable now, since you can loosen up the button-slit versions to have more room around the belly after big meals.
The slit also allows you to choose how you style it for yourself. Do you prefer tighter fits or the event a call for loosening up?
Cufflinks and bowties needed?
Since Guayaberas are already considered formal attire in many countries the use of bowties and cufflinks a way to add sophistication with an elevated personal and elegant touch.
Some Guayaberas come with special cuff holes to allow cufflinks and the French cuff Guayabera style features double cuffs for an added touch of the grandeur and elegance.
Luis Lobo, known one of the most prominent Cuban industrialists, was almost always wearing his Guayabera with a bowtie. If you are interested in learning more of his history, I recommend you read this book: The Sugar King of Havana: The Rise and Fall of Julio Lobo, Cuba's Last Tycoon.
That’s not all…
The Guayabera is more than a men’s shirt. It has a unique story…. The Guayabera shirt has been in Cuba since the 1800’s. The shirt has a 4-pocket design, with two rows of pleats on the front and two to three rows of pleats on the back.
The romanticized tale of it’s creation is that is was made for a farmer by his wife when he complained of not having enough hands when working in the hot fields while carrying guavas and coffee.
So, What’s the Real Story?
The Guayabera is most likely to be a variation of the Spanish army shirt, known as Radillo, which was the uniform used during the Spanish-American War. To learn more of that shirt’s history click this image below
Why does this matter?
The Guayabera has very deep history that expands beyond Cuba. The shirt has been adopted by almost all countries in Latin America, and beyond across the Pacific, as a symbol with a common heritage. It’s a traditional and customary shirt that opens doors that shows the wearer respects Cuban culture.
Foreigners wearing the guayabera while visiting these countries demonstrate respect for the culture and traditions.
Here’s the Bottom Line!
- If you are looking for easy to wear men’s Guayaberas, your first Guayabera, a low-cost shirt for a Cuban or Havana night party or a shirt that is a gift (for a boyfriend, dad, or grandpa)choose from these easy care cotton-blends like these here!
- If you want to dress to impress, and are looking for an authentic, upscale, good-looking Guayabera for a destination wedding, business meeting or formal attire, choose from these 100% linen styles found here.