Q:

What is the traditional dress of Venezuela like?

A:

The traditional clothing of Venezuela involves simple styles with elaborate decoration. Women wear long, colorfully decorated skirts and an off-the-shoulder blouse. Men traditionally wear white, beige or ecru colored linen or cotton "liqui liqui," which is the national dress for men in both Venezuela and Colombia.

The "liqui liqui" (pronounced lee-kee lee-kee) is typically made of linen or cotton, although wool or gabardine can also be used. The men's outfit generally consists of full length trousers and a jacket with long sleeves and a rounded collar fastened with a chain link called a "junta." Women's fashion typically includes long dresses with full flowing skirts, often in floral designs and patterns. Sleeves of dresses and blouses are worn off the shoulder on one or both sides. Ruffles are featured on women's traditional blouses, and they often wear flowers in their hair.

Venezuela's traditional costumes were heavily influenced by Spanish fashions during Spain's occupation. When the country gained independence in 1830, the people began to gravitate toward French influences. Venezuelans often wear Western fashions and are commonly informal in their dress, although formal costumes can be considered more revealing than in other countries. The climate is hot and humid all year, which makes light, airy fabrics preferable for clothing.

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