While no common name exists for all types of traditional Jamaican clothing, the traditional dress worn by Jamaican women is known as a quadrille dress, and much of Jamaica’s traditional clothing is made from a fabric known as calico. A type of shirt traditionally worn by Jamaican men is called a bush jacket.
The quadrille dress is a traditional folk costume for women in both Jamaica and Haiti. It is commonly worn today by women performing the traditional quadrille dance. Another name for this dress is the bandana skirt, and it is made of the same calico fabric as other types of traditional Jamaican clothing. This design of the fabric is much like plaid, and the colors it predominantly features are white with red or maroon. Another name for this design is madras. The fabric is actually made of cotton and is designed to be lightweight, cool and flowing.
In quadrille dance shows, the quadrille dress can also be replaced by a bandana skirt coupled with a white peasant blouse. A head scarf tied in a similar fashion as a turban may also be worn.
While men who are performing may wear traditional clothing made of calico or quadrille fabric, these costumes were never worn practically. Most of the clothing traditionally worn by men was borrowed from European cultures and resemble various types of traditional men’s suits.
Another type of traditional Jamaican clothing for men is known as the bush jacket or guayabera. This piece of clothing, however, was also worn by men throughout Latin America, the Caribbean and parts of the Asian Pacific and Africa. Today, the bush jacket is commonly called a Mexican wedding shirt. The front of the shirt buttons up the center and on each side are fine, tiny pleats that run from the front to the back. The shirt also has two to four patch pockets sewn in vertical rows on both sides of the front. The pockets are often adorned with shirt buttons and stylized stitching.
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