Clothing and Attire in the Caribbean

Lightweight fabrics are a hit when it comes to Caribbean clothing and attire

Photo credit: © Ramunas Bruzas |

the Caribbean Clothing

Although the warm weather and carefree attitude are some of the most attractive features for visitors traveling to the Caribbean, many people have trouble trying to anticipate the clothing they will require once in paradise.

Whether you select functional travel attire for touring or elegant apparel for evenings on the town, be sure to pack clothing of lightweight fabric and natural fibers such as silks, light cottons, and linens for your Caribbean visit. Easy-wear, lightweight fabrics serve the dual purpose of allowing for the ubiquitous sea breezes and providing comfort for lounging.

With the exception of a few more arid islands, such as Aruba, the majority of the Caribbean is subject to the typical tropical shower from time to time, which can come and go quickly and unexpectedly--so don't forget to bring light rain gear and all-weather clothing for those occasional showers.

Many Caribbean communities still retain conventions from their days as European colonies and this is reflected in clothing etiquette. Generally speaking, beachwear is considered inappropriate attire in shops and on town streets and should only be worn on the beach. If traveling for business, you'll be dressed appropriately in a tropical weight suit. Some upscale restaurants may require a dress for female patrons and coat and tie for men.  Many of the same clothing mores you are used to at home apply in the Caribbean.

You can pack a light suite case of clothes for your Caribbean trip by using the following easy-to-remember tips:

  1. Bring enough pairs of socks underwear for each day, plus two or three extras for emergency situations and extra hot days.  
  2. Pack two to three pairs of light-weight pants such as khakis.  Jeans are an option, but will not be as comfortable or cool as you explore the islands. 
  3. Pack a t-shirt for each day of your trip, and perhaps one extra to throw over your bathing suit as you're heading down to the pool or beach.
  4. Pack two pairs of light weight shorts for those extra-hot days.
  5. Pack two swimsuits, for variety and comfort.
  6. Pack a sweater or jacket for chilly nights and over-air conditioned restaurants.
  7. Pack one or two nice dresses or suit jackets and slacks for those fancy nights on the town and high-end restaurants.
  8. Don't forget your accessories: inexpensive jewelery that you won't miss if lost or stolen, sunglasses, one pair of comfortable walking shoes, a pair of sandals, and a pair of dress shoes.

As far as clothing goes, these items should be all you need to bring on the average Caribbean vacation.  Of course, every trip is different, so just to use common sense when packing your clothes.  Check the weather reports, plan your clothing for any special events you're attending, take into account the length of time you will be traveling, and pack your clothes accordingly.  Most importantly, you want to pack clothes that you will be comfortable and confident in - and that will look great in the pictures taken on the islands that you are sure to be looking at for years to come.


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