Q:

What does "vestuario tipico de Puerto Rico" mean?

A:

Typical dress in Puerto Rico, known as "vestuario tipico," represents a rich and varied cultural history. That cultural history includes the indigenous "Taino" culture as well as later Spanish, Caribbean and African influences.

In terms of contemporary dress, the most distinctive piece of clothing is the "guayabera," a shirt worn by men. It is a tailored, but loose, shirt with patch pockets. It is usually worn over an undershirt and outside of trousers. Traditionally, it is made of cotton or linen. The guayabera shirt is popular throughout Latin America, according to Jane McGrath on HowStuffWorks.

In modern times, Puerto Ricans commonly wear Western clothing, although guayaberas remain common. Cultural norms in Puerto Rico limit Western dress to some extent. Churches and many restaurants prohibit the wearing of excessively casual attire.

Puerto Rican dress represents its rich cultural history. The indigenous people, the Taino, wore very little clothing. Children and men went naked, while married women wore cotton skirts called "naguas," with longer lengths of the skirts indicating higher social status. Decorative elements included body painting as well as jewelry made out of bones, stones, feathers and corals.

The traditional dress of Puerto Rico, according to the Lovely Planet website, is referred to as a blend of "Jibaro," the Taino culture of the mountain people, and "Bomba," the culture of African slaves brought over in the 17th century. A prominent feature of the Jibaro culture is a straw hat for men and a flower bonnet for women. Men wear a white shirt and pants with colored sash and a colored kerchief. Jibaro women wear multi-colored long skirts and low-cut white blouses. Traditional Bomba dress includes turbans and long white skirts and short blouses.

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