August 20

What are guayaberas and where did they originate?


The Guayabera shirts are unique; they were created in Cuba in the mid-1800s.

Distinctive features of a Guayabera Shirt:

- Rows of pleats in front and back
- Four Front pockets
- Decorative buttons
- Side Slit
- Untucked
- Loose Fit

Where does the style come from?

Nobody knows for sure, but guayaberas probably evolved from the Spanish army uniform worn in Cuba in the 1800's. Another story associated with this unique Cuban garment is one of a husband asking his wife to create a shirt to carry guavas (guayabas), hence the term Guayabera.

Spanish Uniform in Cuba

1800's Spanish Army Uniform Bill Combs collection.

Guayabera Shirt

Tony Mendoza's artist interpretation of the Guayabera

It is known the guayabera shirt became a symbol of Cuba in the beginning. The guayabera was also one of the favorite shirts worn by Manuel Garcia, a sort of Cuban Robin Hood that roamed the Cuban countryside during those years.

Traditional guayaberas

Traditional Guayabera shirts have four pockets, are made of linen, and have long sleeves. This was a shirt worn for special events and celebrations.

Ernest Hemingway with a retro Cuban shirt (Guayabera)

Ernest Hemingway with a retro Cuban shirt (Guayabera)

The guayaberas were traditionally made of linen; however, nowadays, it is also manufactured on cotton blend and other fabrics. Linen is a thousand-year-old natural fabric.

The evolution of the guayabera.

Guayaberas have evolved throughout the years, and they are now available in different styles, colors, and fabrics.

Men's Guayabera in Burgundy

Men's Guayabera in Burgundy

The modern version of the guayabera shirt or guayabera-inspired shirts can be untucked with or without pockets, with the guayabera pleats or embroidery down the front.

Pronunciation and spelling for guayaberas.

The word guayabera can be difficult to pronounce in English. As a result, many people commonly search for guayaberra, guayabers, guayavera, guayavera shirt,  or guyyaberra guayabera.

It's simply a consequence of the mispronunciation of this Spanish word. What is the correct spelling? The Correct spelling is Guayabera.

The Best Guayabera shirts.

The term best guayabera is very susceptible to individual perceptions of beauty, fabric type, style, and form.

Nowadays, the guayabera shirts come in different fabrics, each of them with its own characteristics and look.

  • Linen 
    Pros: Traditional, dry-clean only & breathable.
    Cons: High maintenance & wrinkles easy.
  • Cotton polyester blends
    Pros: Machine washable, lightweight & wrinkle resistant.
    Cons: Could be see-through on light colors.
  • Cotton
    Pros: Machine washable, familiar fabric to many customers.
    Cons: Wrinkles easy, maybe hot.
  • Other Fabrics: You may find Guayaberas in polyester and other fabrics such as silk, although they are not common.

Guayaberas as business uniforms or corporate events.

Corporate Guayabera Cruise

Guayabera shirts at a corporate cruise.

Embroidered Guayabera for Mexican Restaurant uniform

Guayabera Shirt with resturant logo.

Guayaberas are great at corporate events as the shirts can be embroidered with the company logo, and they are perfect if your group or company is thinking on an event in Miami or any other tropical destination.

Guayaberas in popular culture.

Guayaberas are different! You can't ignore them; you either like the style for what it is, or you don't. If you wear one of these shirts, people will notice it, it's a memorable shirt.

Guayaberas in popular culture.

Guayaberas are different! You must pay attention to them; you either like the style for what it is, or you don't. If you wear one of these shirts, people will notice it; it's a memorable shirt.

How do we know the Guayabera is from Cuba?

Juan Cristobal Napoles Fajardo

Juan Christobal Napoles Fajardo

Juan Cristobal Napoles Fajardo (El cucalambe) 1829 - 1861

Juan Cristobal Napoles Fajardo was a Cuban poet born in 1829. This poem below is one of the oldest references to the shirt. Written by Juan Cristobal Napoles Fajardo (El cucalambe) 1829 - 1861.

Oh, Guayabera!

Shirt of happy buttons, four pockets, coolness, of brave cane and breeze. You went warrior like "mambisa" with more than one bloody button during the heroic uprising, and for that, the flag is something of a guayabera that dresses the gallant of the wind.

Espirituana invader, You began your invasion, and between Júcaro and Morón, they called you La Trochana. It wanted you, Camagüeyana, the noble and brave Camagüey, until the end, since the Cape of San Antonio a Maisí,   Cuba isn’t dressed without you,  a fresh wave of the Yayabo.

In the above poem, the author makes references to the Cuban uprising against Spain and the fact that it was used to attack the Spanish fornications known as "trochas".it 

This poem also talks about crucial battles of the War of Independence and, at the end, mentions the Yayabo River, which is the place from which is believed the shirt came. It's thought the shirt was called "yayabera" initially. Juan Cristobal makes explicit reference to the guayabera and its unique characteristics, such as the 4 pockets, its fresh style, and what he calls "happy buttons."

Anglican Collar Guayabera

Anglican Collar Guayabera

Clerical Guayabera shirts

Guayaberas are also available as a priest or clerical shirts; these shirts will include the traditional tab collar found on priest shirts and the world-famous guayabera style. This consists of the four front pockets, the pleated lines and all other details so unique to the guayabera. You can find these clerical guayaberas in both long and short sleeve versions.

The guayabera shirts are more popular than ever today. From beach weddings to Havana night party celebrations these shirts are here to stay.


Fashion, guayaberas, menstyle

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  1. Thank you so much for presenting the information , it was a very interesting read.

    I am a big fan of the Guayabera and have had my fare share of purchases from your company.
    I have visited Cuba only once and had always been a dream of mine to be there . I hope that some day our countries will as they were .



    1. Hello Casper, Thanks for reading my blog. I also hope the future will be better for the relationship of both countries.

  2. Most importantly, someday I hope Cuba is a free, democratic republic again.

  3. I have been purchasing the Clerical Shirts for a while now from My Cuban Store.
    They are very convenient and comfortable and classy.

  4. My name is Victor Antonio Gonzalez and my family hails from Humacao, Puerto Rico. I have worn Guayaberas as far back as I remember! they are elegant and come in different styles. Of course, you Sir are they expert but I have seen long sleeve shirts with cuff links! They make you look aristocratic. At the moment I have gain some weight and fear that they would not look good on me because the belly would make the size bigger than it should be. But these are elegant shirts no matter what the occasion! in addition, they never go out of style! In closing, no matter who you are or where you come from, get one and you'll always look good! I currently live in Manhattan (New York City) and prior to the pandemic when I walked into a cigar lounge with a Guayabera, all eyes were on you!!!! So go out a get one or maybe in different styles! You'll be glad you did. Hasta Luego, Senior Alexis Martin

  5. Alexis, this is your old friend from Tampa, Chris Harwell. Remember, I used to fly down and visit with you. My wife loves your wonderful shirts and is ready to start buying them for herself. She’s a typical person who grew up in Florida during the 60s and 70s: she got way too much sun! She’d like to place a nice order for some long sleeve shirts but asked; do you make any with a sun USB rating? She’s been looking at catalogs from places all over the country that sell USB 50+ rated shirts but I told her that your shirts would be far more stylish. She’d like to place a nice order with you and I know would love your shirts. I was also so happy to see the Hawaiian styles back. As you know, I probably have a dozen or so of your original Hawaiian styles and do love them! Please let me know about the USP sun rating on fabrics and do let me hear back from you. Standing by and thank you. Your friend from Tampa, Chris Harwell. Cell number 813-244-1144

  6. Love it. Wish they would make them heavier to wear in the winter for dates, holidays, viewings and going to church.


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