Summer is about to make its grand entrance. With rising temperatures comes the need to show off a brand new wardrobe that will keep you looking and feeling cool. The first must have? The traditional guayabera, a lightweight woven shirt that has two delicate rows of fine pleats or alforzas along with wide pockets that come in rows of either two or four. Some may refer to it as your typical “Mexican wedding shirt,” but the guayabera’s true identity is shrouded in mystery.
Guayaberas: A Shirt of Many Myths
One may say that the guayabera first came into fashion over 200 years ago in Cuba, while other historical texts claim its original birthplace is the Philippines. Some even believe that the guayabera was first used by farmers in Cuba who had them tailored to hold numerous items including ripe guavas or guayabas that they would pick and feast upon. According to Cuban legend the shirt was named after these farmers who would grow the fruit, pick them and place them in their pockets for an afternoon snack. The guayabera’s true origins may never be known, but it will always be in demand as most Latin American countries sport a version of the button-down shirt.
The Guayabera Revolution
While the guayabera is often associated with abuelos smoking cigars and playing dominos, the beloved garment has been popularized over the years by men looking for a crisp, tailored look. Literary giant Ernest Hemingway, Cuban rapper Pitbull and even several U.S. presidents have all been photographed wearing their take on this Latin classic. Irela Bagué, a contributor to the Florida-based lifestyle blogs, notes in her blog that guayaberas are the perfect heat-proof shirt for any event. “The garment was first made for farmers and workers who needed comfortable and cool work shirts,” she wrote. “Fast forward to 2016 and you can find all types and designs of guayaberas for just about any occasion from casual to formal.” Don’t believe us? Y.A.Bera Clothing is proof positive that the garment is still relevant today. The clothing company is a designer and retailer of modern day guayaberas blending the traditional elements of the garment with a modern twist. The result is a collection bursting with a variety of styles and colors to suit even the most discerning man.
Rocking the Guayabera
Every Latino owns at least one guayabera-and if you don’t what are you waiting for? But how does one wear this shirt today without looking like you just raided your father’s closet? The key is fusing it with your own personal style. “A guayabera shirt can easily be paired with matching linen pants, lightweight khakis or jeans,” says New York City-based celebrity stylist Colin T. McDonald who has worked for Christian Dior, Ralph Lauren and the Obama White House. “Throw on some sandals and a fedora. You’ll then be ready for that special summer occasion.” Whether you’re opting for a suave retro theme or a casual look the guayabera should always keep you feeling refreshed.