What Do People Wear In Brazil?

credit: Yay

Brazil – the name is synonymous with “vibrant,” reminiscent of Latin American rhythms, Rio Carnival, Copacabana beaches, and caipirinhas. Of course, that’s not all Brazil has to offer, but it’s part of the personality of this exciting country, and it shows in their clothing. So, what do they wear in Brazil?   

Brazil has many different aspects, from the traditional to ultramodern, from the rural countryside to buzzing coastal cities, and all impact how people dress. If you’re planning a visit and want to dress like a local, read on about how Brazilian men and women flaunt fashion and style!

Also read: What Plugs Are Used In Brazil?

What Do People Wear In Brazil?

We’ll take some descriptive “snapshots” of how women dress in the various regions, then look at their male counterparts, check out traditional wear, and how people dress (or don’t) for the beach and carnivals.

What Do Brazilian Women Wear In The Cities?

In general, Brazilian women tend to go for the casual look, so you’ll find jeans and t-shirts very popular amongst younger women, flowing skirts and tops, or short skirts with pantyhose for the slightly more conservative. In the cities, the fashion is a bit edgier.

São Paulo is the New York of Brazil, and the women like to dress their look with accessories. Being in the south, it can get chilly in the evenings, so a blazer or leather jacket is useful. As the financial capital, colors are a little subdued, but miniskirts and fun t-shirts are still very much part of a woman’s wardrobe.

As you go further south, to cities like Curitiba and Florianópolis, the climate is distinctly cooler, and the fabrics used are heavier and less colorful. The women tend to dress a little more conservatively, and even during the day, jerseys or light jackets may be needed to protect against the chill.

But in Rio and the cities of Recife, Fortaleza, or João Pessoa, it’s the casual beach outfit, with shorts, loose t-shirts, and sandals that are most popular. You’ll seldom see long pants worn during the day, with miniskirts and lightweight blouses the choices, and jackets are reserved for clubbing restaurants at night.  

Do Brazilian Women Dress Differently In Rural Areas?

Brazil is larger than the lower 48 United States, so it’s impossible to generalize women’s fashion in the entire country.

We’ll look a little later at the traditional dress, but one thing that can be said is that the women outside the big cities also tend to dress casually and to suit the climate. They also are quite brave in terms of color, so there’s nothing dull in their choice of skirts, tops, and accessories.

Jeans and t-shirts are still very much the norm throughout Brazil, even outside the cities, but fashion in the rural areas tends to be a little more conservative.   

How Do Brazilian Men Dress In The Cities?

It’s true to say that Brazilian men are generally pretty fashion-conscious and take pride in their appearance. In São Paulo, like their female counterparts, men dress a little more formally than in the resort cities, so you will see many businessmen wearing suits and ties during the day. Three-piece suits are the choice of the more affluent or those aspiring to that level, and bright-colored ties are not part of the well-dressed businessman’s wardrobe.

If not required to dress so formally, jeans with short-sleeved shirts or t-shirts and a light jacket for the evenings are the accepted dress here and in other cities in the south, where it is much cooler. In summer on Florianópolis beaches, though, a pair of shorts and a T-shirt are still the best choice.

In Rio and northeast Brazil, with its warm beaches, it’s board shorts or light linen shorts, with a short-sleeved shirt or t-shirt, and “chinelos” (flip-flops), standard daywear of Cariocas, those born and raised in Rio. At night, a pair of dark jeans, a T-shirt, and sneakers will get you into any club or restaurant.

How Do Men Dress In Rural Brazil?

The country folk in Brazil, particularly the men, tend to wear simple, hard-wearing clothes, so you will see most of them in jeans and inexpensive cotton shirts. However, as many men in rural areas are employed on the land, either as gauchos or agricultural workers, you will see them wearing traditional clothing.

Is There A Traditional Dress in Brazil?

Traditional Brazilian clothing is influenced by immigrants from all over the world. In the southern region of Brazil, there is the influence of German, Russian, and Italian immigrants, while in the north, the English, African, and Portuguese who settled here have left their mark.

Some examples of this diversity can be seen in the southern plains of Brazil, where the cowboys, known as gauchos, wear baggy trousers called bombachas, with ponchos, wide straw hats and leather boots.

The Bahia region in northeast Brazil is influenced by African culture, with women wearing traditional African clothing, including a long skirt, colorful shawl, and beaded necklaces.

How Do You Dress Like A Local In Brazil?

If you’re a tourist in Brazil, you can make yourself a target or follow the local dress code and do your best to look like a local and blend in. By choosing the proper clothing, you’ll not only fit in with the resident population but also feel a lot more comfortable.

The climate in the north of Brazil is much like that of Florida, typically warm and humid, at least for spring, summer, and fall. If you’re planning on spending time in Rio, you won’t need much more than jeans, shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops for day wear.

If you’re keen to do some clubbing or eating out, include a jacket to wear with jeans and a short-sleeved shirt or two. You might even choose to buy some casual clothes locally – the prices are very competitive, and the quality of Brazilian clothing is generally very high. 

Winter nights, particularly south of São Paulo, can be reasonably chilly, so a jacket or a couple of light sweaters are recommended if you are easily affected by the cold. If you plan to go inland to the mountains in Petrópolis, it’s even more necessary to pack some warm clothes as temperatures in the highlands are cool throughout the year.

Most bars and restaurants in the major tourist centers are happy to welcome customers in shorts and flip-flops, even at night. What isn’t acceptable, though, is to wear your beach attire, such as bikinis and trunks, without covering up, so slip on a pair of shorts and a T-shirt when you leave the beach.

What Do Brazilians Wear At The Beach?

Brazilians generally are proud of their physiques and happy to show off their bodies on the beach. So, the women wear tiny bikinis, and the men wear sungas, which are even smaller than speedos. However, nudity is not permitted on almost all beaches, and even going topless is illegal for women.

What Footwear Do The Brazilians Wear?

 If you plan to do a lot of walking, comfortable sneakers would be useful, but make sure they’re broken in and don’t look brand new. Dress shoes are only required if you’re planning to do some clubbing or dancing.

Talking about footwear, if you really want to look like a local, get yourself a pair of Havaianas, the Brazilian-made flip-flop that is a standard in every local’s shoe closet. Wearing your expensive American-branded sneakers will target you as a tourist, but not a new pair of Havaianas.  

A last word of advice – don’t wear the color purple or t-shirts with political or sexual wording on them. Brazilians may find the t-shirts offensive, and they also mark the wearer as a visitor and not a local. Conversely, purple won’t offend, but in Brazil, it’s generally regarded as a sign of mourning or grief.