What is a guayabera (pronounced “gway-ah-bear-ah”)? Characterized by its embroidered panels and four front pockets... Mexican wedding shirt, Mexican shirt, Cuban wedding shirt, Cuban shirt, barber shop shirt, Havana shirt, or cigar shirt? Whatever you know them as, the origin of the garment is heavily disputed.
A "spin" on the shirt's origins states that Mexicans emulated the trend from Cuban tourists who visited Mexico. However, it was during the trade routes through the Caribbean that the Mexican shirts got to Cuba and were taken to the Philippines by the Spanish and the evolution of the intricate embroidery started. In 2010 it even became the Official Shirt of Cuba.1
Below is 19th century Cuban poet, Juan Cristobal Napoles Fajardo (AKA, El Cucalambé) 1829 – 1862, poem written about guayabera's. The poet's meaning is much deeper and much more pure than just being “cool.” The peom praises the shirt as a symbol of Cuba – and mentions heroic men who shed blood in battle over independence from Spain.
Oh Guayabera! Shirt
of happy buttons,
four pockets, coolness,
of brave cane and breeze.
You went warrior like mambisa (member of the Army of Liberation)
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.
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,
fresh wave of the Yayabo. (River where the espirituanos lived and harvested guayaba fruit.)
Enjoy this video of guayabera shirt maker to the "stars": Ramon Puig the king of the guayaberas.
Visit Kitsch-y-Cool Vintage to see the above items in person!
800+ sq ft Located inside Sleepy Poet Antique Mall 4450 South Blvd, Charlotte NC, 704-529-6369. Open 7 days a week!
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