The different fabrics used to make a guayabera

The different fabrics used to make a guayabera

5 min read

At Linen Horse, we don't just want to offer you clothes: we also want to give you all the advice you need to make the right, informed choice.

Why do linen and cotton always come up when it comes to summer dressing? How can linen and cotton be so breathable?

And if I buy a linen or cotton guayabera, how do I choose the right one? How can I keep it for a long time?

By the end of this article, you'll know the answers to all these questions. You'll get the most out of your guayabera purchases, and you'll also be able to advise your loved ones.

You will even have some scientific and historical anecdotes to tell, just to show off a little. By the way, did you know that linen and cotton are some of the oldest fibers to have clothed man?

For the record, guayaberas, also known as "Cuban shirts", are traditional garments worn in many parts of Latin America, particularly Cuba and Mexico. They are often made from different types of fabric, each with its own characteristics.

Let's take a look at some of the fabrics commonly used to make guayabera.

Linen guayabera

Linen is a popular choice for guayaberas due to its lightweight, breathable properties. It's ideal for hot climates, as it allows air to circulate and helps keep skin cool and dry.

How to make linen your style's friend?

Linen is a material that exudes casualness, so let it live and float on you. We advise you to wear relatively loose linen pieces.

This last point is all the more important for two reasons:

  • It allows air to circulate more freely when you're hot,
  • and the fiber's lack of elasticity won't interfere with your movements.

The relaxed look suggested by linen also implies the idea of not being afraid of creases. They'll happen sooner or later, in greater or lesser numbers depending on the fabric, and you'll have to accept them.

Coupled with the fabric's raw look, linen's creases characterize its casualness.

Play with them:

Linen guayabera shirt


Is linen quality important or not?

No mystery: you can't compare a $30 linen guayabera with a $100 linen guayabera. Quite simply, they're not the same product.

A quality linen fabric will be better worked, better treated after weaving, with better-sourced fibers. The same goes for the cut. Linen being a rather anarchic fiber, making a good garment out of it will inevitably require more know-how.

As our expert told you earlier, the folds formed by good linen will be fewer and more beautiful, rounder and less brittle than those of poor-quality linen.

A linen guayabera whose fibers have been extracted and spun with care, as part of a healthy culture, will deform less over time.

Properly grown and spun, linen will also be less rough. With a good dye, its color will be deeper and lose less of its luster with each wash.

If you're on a tight budget, buying an entry-level linen garment won't be too bad. Take care of it and it will do its best. Also consider :

  • second-hand, which is more ecological than a fast-fashion purchase (and allows you to move upmarket),
  • linen/cotton blends, more affordable than a 100% linen piece.

How do you keep your linen guayaberas looking good?

By taking good care of them, just like your cotton guayaberas.

All you have to do is follow our washing expert's instructions for each type of garment. Suits and outerwear should be dry-cleaned or gently hand-washed, knits should be treated gently, and so on. No tumble-drying, of course, as the fibers will break under the heat. Or dry on a hanger.

And if you prefer machine washing and don't like wrinkles, all you have to do is :

  • Shake the guayabera when it comes out of the machine
  • Give it a good ironing once it's almost dry, and don't hesitate to use a spray.
  • Pay particular attention to creases.
  • Leave to cool for a few minutes.
  • Don't spend too long on one spot with the iron, as this will irreversibly damage the fabric.

Want to know more about how to wash a guayabera? Read our article on how to clean a guayabera.

Cotton guayabera

Cotton is another fabric commonly used for guayaberas. It's soft, durable and very comfortable. Cotton is also breathable and absorbent, making it a good choice for summer wear.

Why choose a natural material like cotton?

Unlike synthetically-derived materials such as polyester (made from petroleum), naturally-derived materials are spun from natural fibers.

This is particularly true of cotton and linen, as we saw earlier. Both are plant fibers that can be transformed into yarn and then woven or knitted into a fabric with numerous advantages.

Cotton, a breathable, absorbent fabric

Cotton poplin, for example, is a soft, breathable fabric. This makes it very pleasant to wear every day. It's also easy to care for because it's hard-wearing.

Cotton is also known for its thermoregulatory qualities, meaning it breathes in summer and insulates in winter, making it a fabric that can be worn all year round.

It is also highly resistant and softens with each wash, ensuring a long life. It's also known for its absorbent properties, which keep you drier and reduce the inconvenience of perspiration.

cotton guayabera shirt

A hypoallergenic textile

Made from naturally hypoallergenic raw materials, cotton guayaberas are of considerable interest to people with sensitive, fragile skin. They prevent itching and skin irritation, minimizing the risk of allergies.

Cotton has less impact on the environment

Intensive cotton cultivation involves massive use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers and water.

That's why at Linen Horse we choose organically grown fabrics, whose cultivation is less polluting and ensures that cotton is grown more responsibly, i.e. without the use of toxic chemicals.

The cultivation of linen, on the other hand, is more ecological from the outset, since it requires less water and is more local. For the record, flax is grown mainly in Western Europe, accounting for 80% of global production.

France is the world's leading producer. If you'd like to admire the fields of this pretty blue flower, head for Northern France!

Guayabera in a blend of cotton and linen

Linen is a fiber that blends easily with other fibers. If you've ever come across a wool/linen/silk garment or a guayabera label indicating 50% cotton for 50% linen, here's why.

x% linen, x% cotton

Although it doesn't have the thermoregulating power of linen, cotton is softer, more elastic and therefore less wrinkled than its friend from the fields. A cotton/linen piece will therefore get the best out of both fibers.

It will regulate your body temperature while remaining soft and stable. Of course, the beautiful natural roughness of linen will be less present, but in life, you have to make choices.

A linen/cotton blend will be useful for a short-sleeved guayabera in summer, for example.

The super bonus of silk

Silk is often used to complement an existing blend. Its tensile strength gives it a certain robustness and serves as a link between the other fibers. The fabric as a whole is thus more resistant, while remaining breathable.

In terms of texture, silk is... silky. And therefore soft. It also captures light magnificently.

Now it's your turn to choose the perfect guayabera

You're an expert on the subject. And you've just read over 1000 words, so congratulations.

Now you have all the knowledge you need to make the right choice when buying your guayaberas.

It's worth noting that the choice of fabric can vary according to the style and occasion for which the guayabera is being made. Some models may also feature special embroidery or decorations that add an extra touch to the basic fabric.

Now that you know how to choose your guayabera, don't hesitate to take a look at our different collections and find the guayabera shirt that will complete your wardrobe!

embroidered guayabera shirt

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