Clothing in Puerto Rican Culture

Clothing in Puerto Rican Culture
Clothing in Puerto Rican Culture
In Puerto Rico's beautiful but sometimes hot weather, you'll want to stay cool as you visit the island's wonderful attractions. In doing so, you'll understand why white is traditional and how island clothing evolved as it did.
White and Light

Puerto Ricans did not invent white clothing, but light, white clothing is the coolest type. Rich plantation owners and poor plantation workers alike, as well as their wives, all dressed in white.

Guayabera Image courtesy of
Guayabera Image courtesy of

In the past, only wealthy men wore white "ice-cream" suits, but now everyone wears guayaberas, and you will find these distinctive garments in the wardrobe of every man in Puerto Rico.

Guayaberas Everywhere

Comfortable, lightweight and traditional in design, this shirt is recognizable even from a distance. It is dressy enough for Mass or courting but casual enough for everyday wear.

Festive Dresses for Women

Women's flouncy, colorful skirts with white, loose-fitting "peasant" bodices and elastic tops allowed them to cover their shoulders at Mass but bare them at parties or festivals.


When you visit, you'll see white clothing and guayabera shirts all the time, but visit while one of the many towns celebrates its saint's day, and you will enjoy the full array of colorful dress.

Robert Vega has more than three decades in Telecom project and operations management. Vega's current focus is on strategic business solutions and trends in telecommunications, proposal and RFP development, and translation/localization of technical, user documentation, and voice prompt scripts into American English, Canadian French, and Latin American Spanish.