The clothing worn
in the West Indies is very comfortable yet the designs are very
elaborate. As the weather is quite hot most people wear light clothing.
There are different typed of clothing for different styles. The people
of West Indies almost always dress traditionally.
what type of clothing all clothes in the Caribbean are colourful. The
clothes will hardly ever just be one colour especially white. The West
Indian people wear lots of colours as it is part of their culture to do
so, they are not afraid of something bold or bright, but yet at the same
time are very conservative.
The most traditional type of clothing worn in the
Caribbean are clothes made out of calico
cloth. Clothes made out of calico are
usually striped or plaid. The main types of clothing made from calico
cloth are skirts and dresses. Women in the West Indies don’t settle for
jeans or shorts but are more seen with dresses and skirts. On the heads,
women traditionally wear a headscarf to keep their hair in place. These
two feminine items are the main thing you will se Caribbean women
wearing. Men go for simple clothing like shirts and jeans. However,
these shirts and jeans would have their native country’s traditional
The next main style that West Indian people choose
from is the Rastafarian style. All Rastafarian clothes are the colours
green, red, and gold which are the colours of the Ethiopian flag. It is
modelled from the Ethiopian flag because many West Indians traced their
roots back and found that they were originally from Ethiopia. A lot of
west Indians were encouraged to do this by the emperor of Ethiopia. The
tam is considered one of the most precious Rastafarian clothing items;
the tam is used as a hat for dreadlocks. Rastafarian clothing has to be
made out of natural fibres. In the summer you can also catch Caribbean
people wearing normal shorts, sandals, hats, and shirts.
the gangsters or street hustlers are called shottas. The shottas style
is very expensive and many Jamaican can not afford to dress like them.
Shottas would usually wear tight fitting, designer jeans. They would
wear jackets modelled on the hip-hop style. They also wear a lot of “bling”.
The top item of bling worn is the necklace. Their signature piece,
though are the tinted and highly priced sunglasses. Many celebrities
(particularly hip-hop music artists) opt for the shotta style.
consists of a large amount of poor people. A child who belongs to a poor
family always wears his/hers older brother or sister’s clothes. Now some
children are quite proud to wear their sibling’s old clothes but others
do not enjoy having to wear the wrong size.
In the West
Indies there is also quite a significant Indian culture that contributes
to the fashion as well. There is an Indian influence because many years
ago Indians settled into the west Indies and became very successful.
Caribbean women wear the shalwar, sari, and lehenga. The shalwar is a
long shirt with short or long sleeves put together with long pants. This
comes in many different designs and colours.
is similar to the shalwar except that instead of long pants there is a
skirt. This too comes in many different patterns and colours. The West
Indian women also wear a lot of jewellery such as bangles, sirbandi, and
anklets. These special clothes are usually worn during celebrations such
as Diwali where the clothing symbolizes light. During the Phagwah
celebration the women will wear shalwars and lehengas. The sari’s that
the women wear are made out of silk and are decorated with beautiful
designs and colours. The sari is most often worn by women during
religious ceremonies, and other functions. When a Guyanese girl is
getting married she wears a special type of sari which is touched up
with gold and silver trimmings.
Guyanese men go to temples or any other religious functions they would
wear a Kurta. This is a long and loose shirt that reaches knee-level.
The Kurta is quite plain. The pants to match the shirt only come in the
colour white. An accessory that men commonly wear is the kishti. This is
a white hat that has the Hindi words “OM”, which means the ultimate
there is a very traditional shirt that most men wear called the Guyabera.
This shirt came about as a poor woman was stitching large pockets all
over her husband’s shirt so that he could carry guavas. The original
Guyabera contains four upper pockets and two lower pockets. Then there
are two vertical rows of alforzas (pleats) which run over the front
pockets and the back of the shirt. The top of the pockets contains a
button as does the bottom of the alforzas. On the bottom of the shirt
there is a three inch slit decorated with a small button. Because the
shirt is straight – bottomed it can not be tucked into trousers. The
cuffs of the shirt are either one buttoned or French- cuffed. The white
Guyabera worn with a black bowtie is considered equivalent to the tuxedo
in terms of formality. The traditional Guyabera is always white but
nowadays it is available in many different colours and shades, as well
as a short-sleeved version. Now there also Guyabera-style dresses for
traditional Cuban Guyabera is plain white with little or no decoration.
In Jamaica the Guyabera is most often worn to office (by men) and is
sometimes referred to as a “bush jacket,” In Trinidad & Tobago it is
called a “shirt-jac,”
Indian style is trying to be matched all around the world but you can
only find the true design in West Indies. The admirable thing about West
Indian fashion is that it hasn’t lost its olden day culture. The fact
there is so much variety in colours, and designs is the reason why West
Indian clothing is great!