How Do People Dress in the Caribbean?

Updated April 17, 2017

In the modern age, clothing worn in the Caribbean is as diverse as the people who make their homes there. Warm, tropical weather and ethnic influences shape the Caribbean wardrobe.

The Caribbean Region

The Caribbean is a region of the world that consists of the Caribbean Sea and its surrounding islands. This area is south of the Gulf of Mexico and the Florida coast.

Traditional Caribbean Dress

Early clothing borrowed heavily from French Creole styles. Island women wore brightly coloured skirts and elaborately folded head wraps--both sexes were also seen in "madras," a type of plaid-like print in vibrant colours.

Dressing for the Weather

The Caribbean is very warm, so light fabrics such as linen and cotton are quite common. If long trousers are worn, they are often crafted from these airy materials. Light colours are preferred, as very dark hues can be a magnet for heat from the sun.

Caribbean Fashion Week

Much like New York or Paris, the Caribbean region has its own fashion week, where designers show off their latest collections. Resh Couture, Jessica Ogden and Nefertari are just a few of the designers who sent funky, urban-chic designs down the runways. Caribbean Fashion Week will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2010 in Kingston, Jamaica.

Packing for Caribbean Travel

Caribbean travellers are urged to pack lightly and sensibly, paying mind to activities and the weather. Some island nations are more conservative than others, so beachwear should not be worn in shops or businesses--save the swimsuits and sarongs for the beach.

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About the Author

Amanda Viviani is an experienced writer who is pursuing freelance work. She does freelance writing for local businesses, eHow and Her short fiction has recently been published in the "Edgewood Review" and "Toasted Cheese." Viviani holds a Bachelor of Science degree in English and creative writing from Edgewood College in Madison, Wis.