Men's Guayabera Shirts Guide
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The guayabera is a men's shirt typically distinguished by two vertical rows of closely sewn pleats that run the length of the front and back of the shirt. The shirt is typically worn untucked. Guayaberas are popular in the Caribbean region of Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela, Central America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and throughout Africa. It is also known as a "Wedding Shirt".
The design of a typical guayabera is distinguished by several details:
Though traditionally worn in white and pastels, guayaberas are now available in many solid colors. Black guayaberas, embroidered with colorful flowers and festooned with French cuffs, have for many decades been extremely popular in Mexico and are considered formalwear in some situations. Mexican guayaberas often use complicated embroidery in place of or as a supplement to the traditional alforzas.
A version of the shirt's origins claims that Mexicans originated it in either the state of Veracruz or the Yucatán Peninsula. One theory holds that it was during the era of trade routes through the Caribbean that the Mexican shirts got to Cuba and were taken to the Philippines by the Spaniards, where the evolution of the intricate embroidery started. Alternatively, others speculate that the shirt, which has documented origins in the Philippines prior to the arrival of the Spanish, made its way to Cuba through Mexico via the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade. The origin of the Guayabera shirt remains a mystery. Guayabera may come from a Cuban legend that tells of a poor countryside seamstress sewing large patch-pockets onto her husband's shirts for carrying guava (guayabas) from the field. Guayabera may also have originated from the word yayabero, the singular nickname for those who lived near the Yayabo River in Cuba. Others claim the origin to be from Baní, Dominican Republic, also for the harvesting of guayaba fruit in the region.
In the Dominican Republic it is known as "chacabana".
In the Guyana, Trinidad, and the United States a type of guayabera, some with pleats and pockets or (plain with pockets - similar to a safari shirt) is sometimes called a "shirt-jac".
In Jamaica it is known as a bush jacket.
In the Mexican state of Yucatán, it is also known as camisa de Yucatán.
The Philippines' national costume for men, the Barong Tagalog shirt, has some features which are similar to the guayabera. However, the Barong Tagalog is a much more formal piece of clothing. It lacks pleats or pockets, and is marked by intricate, hand-sewn embroidery in a variety of forms, including geometric or floral patterns. It is not traditionally made of linen, but rather of hand-woven, fine, translucent piña or jusi fiber. Less formal linen and cotton variants of the barong are used in everyday wear, as school or office uniforms for instance. A disputed theory is that the Barong Tagalog was either a local adaptation or a precursor to the guayabera. According to those who claim that the barong is the precursor of the guayabera, the guayabera shirt was originally called the "Filipina" since Manila-Acapulco Galleons brought the shirt to Mexico from the Philippines.
In the Samoan islands the shirt style has been introduced into the masculine formal attire known as the "safari set". American Samoa's version of the shirt often includes tightly-sewn vertical pleats and two or four buttoned pockets.
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