Traditional Jamaica Clothing - Symbolizing Our Heritage

by Crystal Holness
Published September 4, 2016traditional jamaican clothing

Traditional Jamaican Clothing Styles are Part of Our Heritage

One of the many ways in which the rich, cultural heritage of the island of Jamaica is expressed is through the traditional styles of clothing, some of which are still worn today.

The colourful apparel of the Jamaican people is the result of the combined influence of the various cultures that have left their mark on the island over the past several centuries. Many believe that these fashions possess a breezy, carefree vibrancy which closely matches the spirit and attitude of the island's people.

What is the National Dress for Jamaica?

The recognized national dress for Jamaica is a women's ensemble known as a quadrille. It is worn during a dance performance of the same name.

The dress consists of a calico, tiered, bandana skirt made from lightweight cotton, a blouse with short , ruffled sleeves, and a head tie which is made from the same calico fabric as the skirt.

Typical colours for this plaid-like calico are either maroon and white or red and white. Males will wear shirts of this same fabric with white pants when performing this folk dance. While this attire is only worn today for performances, it is made to resemble that which was typically worn in 18th century Jamaica, as a sort of tribute to the island's history.

What are Traditional Daily Attire for Women and Men?

Clothing styles for women and men have been traditionally made from light, woven fabrics which are hand-made by locals. Although nowadays, a wider variety of materials are used in clothing manufacture, many of which are imported from other countries.

Typically men wear either long or short pants, along paired with a short-sleeved shirt, and women wear a long-flowing dress, or long skirt and blouse, coupled with a headscarf to contain their hair. The chosen colours of these garments are usually vivid and bold, and they are meant to represent the colourful and lively land and spirit of the island.

Is Modesty Important in Jamaican Fashion?

Yes it has been traditionally, and continues to be today. Jamaica was once a colony of Great Britain, which is well-known for its modest manner of dressing, a habit that was adopted by Jamaicans.

It is customary to dress in a way that reveals less skin, rather than more. Shorts, swimsuits and such are acceptable for the beach, but in town, most people wear long pants or skirts that cover their legs, and shirts with sleeves. Many buildings even have dress codes enforcing these values.

What Else has Influenced Jamaican Clothing Styles?

The Rastafarian culture has certainly had a big influence on many aspects of Jamaican culture, clothing being just one of them.

Also made from natural fibres such as cotton, and linen, Rasta fashion tends to feature the colours green, red, and gold which are from the flag of Ethiopia, home of King Haile Selassie, the founder of the faith.

Knitted hats called tams are another popular item in the Rasta-inspired wardrobe, these were originally worn to contain a headful of dreadlocks, the traditional hairstyle amongst followers of this religion and others as well.

See Also: Jamaican Dress & Jamaican costumes.

Editor's Note Join our virtual Jamaican community. Please click here to share your thoughts.

P.S Read related articles here.

Comments for Traditional Jamaica Clothing - Symbolizing Our Heritage

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Feb 21, 2018
I am Jamaican
by: Anonymous

The traditional national costume that represents jamaica is called the bandana. The quadrille mentioned in the article is a traditional folk form of dance. Jamaica's fashion is highly influenced by what is in style from first world countries especially United States. On a typical day Jamaicans tend to dress according to status or class. Some are comfortable showing lots of skin, some in between and some will dress modestly.
On national occasions Jamaicans will wear any clothing with the colours of the flag or bandana.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to article_submission.

Recommended For You ...

P.S. Didn't find exactly what you were looking for? Still need help?

Click Here to try our dependable and effective Site Search tool, It works!

Or, simply click here to ask me the questionI'll do my best to get back to you within 24 hours!

And, Before You Go!

Here (below) are some sweet deals on great Jamaican products at Amazon that you might have otherwise missed., by the way, is the internet's most reputable retailer and usually showcases only the best products from their inventory.

As an ardent customer and affiliate I earn a small commission from your purchase, at no extra cost to you. So thanks in advance.

Note: If link does not show, please click here to be redirected to our page at

Great Articles You Might Have Missed

data-matched-content-rows-num="2" data-matched-content-columns-num="3"

Please help me get the message out by sharing this article with your friends on social media (links below). Thnx ;-)

Ready To Vacation?
Please Book With Us...

wellesley gayle - booking link

Was the information helpful to you?
Here is a great way to support our effort.

All you need to do is book your vacation via the reputable search box below.

It can be for travel to Jamaica or anywhere else on earth.

They combine the best deals from across all major booking sites and shows you only the very best!

Not quite ready to book?  Start by searching (below) to get some amazing ideas now.

You are also welcome to join my special friends list and receive exclusive updates (like this), tips, trivia and stories from lovers of Jamaica! Just enter...

Also connect with on Social Media: 
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

Thank You!

Top Of Page
Wellesley Gayle

What's New? Click Here And See


Trending Now

My Gift To You!


Site Sponsors


Our Preferred Sponsors  & Friends (below)

(Our Sponsorship Policy)

Photographers in Jamaica
Wedding Photographers
Jamaican Souvenirs
Best Jamaican Souvenirs Cars For Sale In Jamaica
Cars For Sale


Click Here to Visit Our Sponsors' Page

Top Articles

What's New?

Below is a list of the very latest articles I posted on the site.

Recent Articles

  1. How Much Money to Bring to Jamaica?

    Mar 24, 18 12:52 AM

    Answered by Tracie Shortridge, Associate Writer Vacationing anywhere in the world, especially if visiting for the first time, always begs the question,

    Read More

  2. Beware - 1 Surprising Way To Lose Your Jamaican Property - Without Even Realizing

    Mar 22, 18 11:40 PM

    Did you know you can lose your land - even if you are paying your taxes? So you have been living overseas for a while but your real intention is to return

    Read More

  3. How Does Jamaica Benefit from Tourism?

    Mar 20, 18 11:51 PM

    Answered by Tracie Shortridge, Associate Writer The all-year long sunshine, warm white sand beaches, rich flora, beautiful fauna and the spirit of the

    Read More

  4. Where is Jamaica? Glad You Asked

    Mar 19, 18 11:16 PM

    Exactly where is Jamaica? Let me help to navigate you.

    Read More

New!  I've created a Welcome Audio. Just click the Play button below to listen.

Please subscribe here to get my latest updates.