Keeping workers cool in the tropics since the ’50s, the Cuban collar shirt’s a modern summer essential.
Moss - off white crochet cuban shirt


Words: A. Stoyanova and C. Saramowicz


The Cubanstyle shirt, originally called guayabera, dates back to the 18th century, though sources can’t agree on its origins. Some trace to Cuba, others to Mexico or Thailand, but all are exotic, warm, summery locations. Regardless of its exact place of birth, the guayabera has existed for over two centuries, with different iterations created by various brands including us putting their own spin on one or more of the guayabera’s key features.  



Moss - cuban shirts

Where do Cuban collar shirts come from?

Cuban shirts were worn in many private and public settings. In Cuba, the style was often seen on soldiers and later by government officials, becoming increasingly popular with citizens too. In Mexico, the shirt was also worn for governmental activities but was most popular during wedding celebrations too.  

Today, the long-sleeved guayabera is still worn as a form of national dress code by state officials in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. However, traces of the guayabera are now mainly found in shirt collars, namely the Cuban collar shirt.  


Moss - linen Cuban shirts

What are the features of a Cuban collar shirt?

There are several features that characterise the Cuban shirt, the most recognisable being the traditional four patch pockets on the front. Legend has it that these were created for carrying guayabas (Spanish for guavas), where its name could also have derived from. Another feature is the two stripes of embroidery placed vertically on the front.  

As its origins suggest, the shirt is best suited for warm locations, so it’s usually made from lightweight fabrics such as cotton and linen and finished with a straight hem for a casual, untucked look. 

When it comes to the collar, the first designs had a mandarin collar (an unfolded collar standing up). For warm climates this version wasn’t the most optimal option, so it evolved to what we call now the Cuban (or camp) collar – a double-notched, flat laying collar.  

Are Guayaberas worn today?

Although the traditional two-pocket, vertically embroidered guayabera shirt are still seen today, the most famous remains are the Cuban collared shirts. Rocked by Elvis Presley, James Bond, Spiderman and The Talented Mr. Ripley alike, this style is versatile, easy to wear and your perfect summer companion.


Moss - cuban collared shirts

How to style a Cuban collar shirt

Due to the looser fit and dropped collar, Cuban collar shirts are traditionally styled in a more casual fashion. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t be worn for relaxed destination weddings – paired with a linen suit and suede loafers, you’ll exude carefree Cuban style. Try a pure white Cuban collar shirt with a warm toned suit like the copper linen for a bit of contrast. 

For a paired-back leisurely look, however, choose one in a solid summery colour like sage or taupe and combine with a pair of pleated shorts for a bit of structure. In the heart of summer, pure linen or linen blends are your best bet, offering breathability and lightness. Our linen blends are slightly looser and have more drape, while the linens are still light but offer a bit more structure. 

If you want to take it up a notch, go for a printed Cuban collar shirt. These are great for occasions where you want to make a statement or want to play around with colour. Our take features a striking landscape print and is crafted from a loose, drapey fabric which has a super soft handfeel, making it ideal for balmy summer evenings. Pair with navy shorts and neutral loafers to offset the deep blue tones. 

For a bit of texture, knitted Cuban collar shirts will add a shot of interest to your look. Our crochet shirt is crafted from sustainable cotton and features an intricate pattern that looks great with a neutral bottom. Wear it open on its own, with a vest underneath or button it up when the sun goes down.