http://havanajournal.com/culture/entry/the-rise-of-the-guayabera-in-cutting-edge-fashion/

HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Culture

The rise of the guayabera in cutting edge fashion

Posted August 22, 2007 by publisher in Cuba Culture.
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MANNY HERNANDEZ / FOR THE MIAMI HERALD

BY ENRIQUE FERNANDEZ | Miami Herald

Has the guayabera finally crossed over? It still may be mostly Cuban Americans who wear it, but this year it’s a new demographic.

For the past several summers, men’s fashion pundits have been telling us guayaberas are it. Here in Miami they’ve always been—at least for rather aged gentlemen of indifferent means who divide their lives between idealizing the island and cursing Fidel Castro.

But recently the gentlemen guayabera wearers have not inevitably been aged, and even if they were they appeared prosperous, and when they weren’t they appeared powerful. In other words, the guayabera seems to be regaining its original usage: a power garment to be worn instead of a suit jacket when the weather gets, as it’s been recently, too darn hot.

The real guayabera. Not the short-sleeve poly-blend shirt South Beach youths wear. Irish linen or Egyptian cotton. Always long-sleeved. Preferably custom-made. Embroidered initials. Needless to say, pricey.

Two weekends ago, Andy García opened his new Rum Bar at the Key Biscayne Ritz-Carlton Resort with an invitation-only reception. The actor wore a linen suit, but the crowd was filled with men in guayaberas. Yes, it was a Cuba-themed evening, but the guayaberas were not a costume; for one, they looked too expensive. The men wearing them were the kind who could afford anything.

Miami’s most famous guayabera personality, Ramón Puig, says he ‘‘can barely keep up,’’ with his custom-made business. The veteran clothier, whom GQ magazine called ‘‘the greatest guayabera maker’’ in 2002, is reluctant to give specific sales figures, but says his business has doubled this year.

His custom guayaberas start at $350 and can reach $600—‘‘depending on the quality of the cloth and the size of the client,’’ he says. Off-the-rack linen or cotton long-sleeved garments sell for $80. Puig’s store sells around 80 guayaberas a day, his staff says.

René La Villa, who owns Guayaberas Etc., echoes Puig. ‘‘The business has changed,’’ he says. From a shop on Bird Road selling modestly priced guayaberas, Villa has expanded to branches in Miracle Mile and Hialeah. And he too has gotten into the upscale custom-made trade, hiring an in-house tailor.

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Puig does custom-made (he stocks cheaper ready-made) women’s guayaberas beginning at $400 and guayabera dresses at $600. Guayaberas Etc. carries off-the-rack guayaberas for women, but their custom-made business is strictly guayabera dresses, $475-500.

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READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE

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Member Comments

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On August 23, 2007, abh wrote:

Hilarious.  I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than $40/$50.  Clearly my tastes are not very refined.

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On August 23, 2007, Cuban American wrote:

I agree with you there, all my guayaberas have been under $50.

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On August 23, 2007, abh wrote:

See, this is finally the unifying type of article I’ve been looking for.  haha

But seriously (sort of) is it true what they say in the article that guayaberas were originally used as “a power garment to be worn instead of a suit jacket when the weather gets…too darn hot”?

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On August 23, 2007, publisher wrote:

What is it about guayaberas? I have a few myself but they don’t really blend in too well up here in Massachusetts.

Anyway, I couldn’t resist and just registered GuayberaDresses.com . Any women out there that own/wear guayabera dresses?

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On August 23, 2007, Cuban American wrote:

abh,

yes the guayabera shirts were used as a very elegant piece of clothing that took the place of a suit on a hot tropical summer day.  Back in the 50’s and such the guayabera was a popular replacement for suits.

I am glad that the shirts could bring us all together haha

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On August 24, 2007, abh wrote:

I can feel the love wink thanks for the info, I will try to incorporate this new piece of information into my wardrobe.

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On September 03, 2008, Albin Ortiz wrote:

Guyaveras or Chacavanas
Are the most elegant piece of garment a men cna have in tropical climates where wearing a suit to the office might not cut it.
In today’s business casual environment Guayaveras keep the office elegant…at least this is the Case here in Santiago, Dominican Republic.

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On September 03, 2008, abh wrote:

Nice, a year with no comments and we’re back on guayaberas.  I try to wear at least one a week.  It’s perfect cause it’s got a casual feel but, as you say an elegance that can’t be matched.  I also have noticed that there are more and more shirts at dept stores that look almost like guayaberas or guayabera rip offs.  Kinda funny.

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On September 03, 2008, abh wrote:

Oh, but I should say, I only wear the “short-sleeve poly-blend shirt South Beach youths wear”.

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On October 06, 2008, jorge L wrote:

I always wear the poly/cotton on long sleeve. mycubanstore mlp0811 or something like that.

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On January 10, 2009, myra evangelista wrote:

hello mr.rene la villa!how are you? i hope that you are in good health as well as your family. i’m MYRA D. EVANFELISTA from the philippines. do you remember me? i’m your granddaughter here in the philippines. do you remember my dad? he is ernie evangelista. He used to be your employee before. Im looking forward to have a communications with you. i’ve been looking for you for a long time. please contact me. my email add is .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). PLEASE email me. THANK YOU. Take care and GOD BLESS!

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On January 11, 2009, abh wrote:

kinda funny i guess