The Story Behind Authentic Guayabera Shirt: A Latin American Legacy
For recent historical purposes, the guayabera shirt is a symbol of men's fashion in Latin America. Thanks to a legacy of nearly five centuries, it is considered a formidable cultural garment for both men and women.
Because of this, when we talk about dressing well, the authentic guayabera shirt is the most popular and valued choice in countries belonging to the Caribbean and Latin America, especially in Cuba, Guatemala, and Mexico. However, have you ever wondered about the exact origin of the Guayabera?
In this brief article, we will explain where the guayabera formally comes from by taking a simple historical journey to the present, and how Ramón Puig is part of the exciting history of the Guayabera. If you want to find out, keep reading!
The Origin of the Guayabera: A Shirt Made by Cubans
The guayabera shirt, as we know it, has had an impressive variety of names. In Mexico, for example, it is called "the Mexican wedding shirt," while in the Dominican Republic, it is known as "Chacabana," "Shirt-jac" in Trinidad and Tobago "Guayabe" as in Haiti. Although the almost official and unanimous name has been "Guayabera" due to the popular belief that the shirt's name comes from the guava fruit.
As mentioned, the guayabera shirt is quite famous and widely used in Latin America. As a result, there are numerous theories about the origins of this garment in countries such as Cuba, Honduras, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and even Spain.
Keep reading! We're going to tell you where this wonderful shirt originated from.
The Beginning of the Legend
The prevailing story states that the formal guayabera has its origins in the Cuban lands, around the 18th century in the province of Sancti Spiritus.
The legend of this story reveals the following legend: In the 18th century, an Andalusian immigrant named José Gonzalez asked his wife, Encarnación, if she could make him a comfortable long sleeve white linen shirt with four pockets. José intended to use the shirt to carry cigars, writing instruments, handkerchiefs, etc., while working in guava cultivation.
Encarnación fulfilled the task, and it was precisely due to the practicality and elegance of the Cuban shirt that it sparked the interest of guava farmers (known as "guayaberos") who started wearing the shirt and filling its pockets with the guavas they cultivated. This popularized its use among agricultural workers in the region.
It is also mentioned that the original name was "yayabera" due to the proximity of the guayabera users to the Yayabo River until the farmers themselves began filling the shirt's pockets with guavas, giving it the name we all know.
As an important note: 19th-century records indicate that the Cuban guayabera was influenced by the uniforms of Spanish and Cuban soldiers of that time, as military uniforms at that time had four pockets distributed along the front of the shirt.
Recent History of the Guayabera
It wasn't until the 20th century that the guayabera solidified its style into the version we know today (a long sleeve white shirt with two pockets on the upper part and two pockets near the hem). It became established throughout the Cuban country and was worn by workers and government officials alike.
However, after the conclusion of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the guayabera lost popularity due to the lack of textile industry production in the Caribbean country.
In this context, in 1943, Ramon Puig opened his first Guayabera store, which, 70 years later, with a stronger market position, continues to sell the same product under the name "La Casa de las Guayaberas" in Miami.
If you wish, you can find out the complete and summarized history of Ramón Puig at the following link.
As an interesting anecdote, Ramón Puig has dressed three former Presidents of the United States (Reagan, Bush, Clinton), as well as famous actors like Andy Garcia, Robert Duvall, Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, and Vin Diesel with his excellent authentic guayabera shirts.
Other Versions of the Guayabera's Origin and Legacy
Remember when we mentioned that the guayabera had many origins? Well, it's time to learn about those versions:
It is said that the famous guayabera originates from the regions of Veracruz (Gulf of Mexico) and Yucatan (southeast Mexico), where Pedro Mercader Guasch is credited as the main manufacturer of the guayabera shirt in the 19th century. He used two upper front pockets with flaps, buttons, and the classic white color. This theory explains that the use of this garment became popular in the region thanks to the affluent Yucatecan class.
Yes, you read that correctly. There are speculations that the garment already existed in the Philippines even before the arrival of the Spanish. The problem lies in the fact that the Filipino version does not have the characteristic pockets of the conventional guayabera but does have the typical vertical cuts.
The Dominican version of this story narrates a legend quite similar to that of José Gonzalez, and it is supported by an important historical fact. It is said that the Dominican liberator Máximo Gómez brought the guayabera from the Dominican Republic when he went to support the Cubans in the Cuban War of Independence in 1868.
Legacy of the Guayabera
Over time, the guayabera has become a cultural heritage shared by multiple Caribbean nations. In all these countries, this Cuban shirt is synonymous with words like "style," "comfort," "elegance," and "freshness." Terms that are not often grouped together.
Its lightweight fabric and warm colors that emulate the blue of the sky and the pure white of the clouds are a symbol of Latin American fashion that has reached certain areas of the United States such as Texas, California, New York, and even Florida, where Ramón Puig's offices are located, selling the best authentic guayabera shirts in various styles.
Guayaberas from the past and present have shaped men's fashion for over four uninterrupted centuries. They will likely continue in the future because, more than just fashion, the guayabera brings the concept of comfort that everyone agrees on.
Modernity often embraces the past, which is why Ramon Puig's idea of fashion has remained faithful to the legacy that guayabera shirts represent for Latin America, the Caribbean, and Cuba. The brand invests in the best materials to optimize the quality of each guayabera that leaves their warehouses.Do you want a piece of this impressive history? Visit our website to see and order our authentic guayabera shirts of the highest quality.