Pleat Bargain

This city’s fashion landscape is founded on bright colors, wild patterns, and revealing cuts that would be borderline illegal anyplace else in the U.S. But the humble guayabera might just make the biggest and most versatile statement. See a sunburned, middle-aged white guy walking down Lincoln Road wearing the four-pocket, pleated, button-up shirt with shorts and brown loafers, and you can be sure that (a) he’s a tourist and (b) he likely just stepped out of the Tommy Bahama store. But a guayabera on a Cuban dude in Little Havana sends a very different message: that he’s comfortably cool in the tropical heat, for starters, but also that he’s a man of tradition (guayaberas are believed to have originated in Cuba in the late 19th century), and that he is probably also a bad-ass. Love them or hate them, guayaberas are part of the fabric of Miami. So HistoryMiami (101 W. Flagler St., Miami) is honoring the ubiquitous garment with an exhibit tracing its history and significance. “The Guayabera: A Shirt’s Story” collects photographs and historical examples of the different phases in the shirt’s evolution, from the guajiro peasant shirts of the late 1800s to the modern-day cliché worn by at least one character on every TV show set in Miami.
Saturdays, Sundays, 12-5 p.m.; Tuesdays-Thursdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Starts: June 30. Continues through Jan. 13, 2012
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Ciara LaVelle is New Times' former arts and culture editor. She earned her BS in journalism at Boston University and moved to Florida in 2004. She joined New Times' staff in 2011.
Contact: Ciara LaVelle

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