What Is Traditional Puerto Rican Clothing?

Traditional Puerto Rican clothing is predominantly Spanish in style, having layers and heavy materials, such as wool. The guayabera shirt, also called the Mexican wedding shirt, is a traditional piece of clothing still commonly worn in modern times. It’s a loose, button-up men’s shirt with several front pockets.

Puerto Ricans adopted the European clothing style when the Spanish came during the 15th century. It was necessary for the natives to wear the Spanish dress as the Christian religion was introduced to them. Wool clothing, which men still wear in contemporary times, is typical traditional Puerto Rican clothing. The natives also commonly used cotton for clothing material to handle the sweltering weather.

Men usually wore long-sleeved, button-up shirts in the 19th century due to the tough working conditions in sugarcane fields, as the buttoned shirts protected them from the sharp sugarcane leaves.

In the 21st century, most Puerto Ricans wear dress styles from the United States. However, the dancers in traditional performances still wear traditional attire, such as long, ruffled dresses with white or bright colors. For the traditional performance called bomba, female dancers don a full skirt and petticoat, whereas the male dancers sport shirts, white pants and Panama hats.