How to Dress in Brazil

This is for how to blend in a big Brazilian city, make an impact or simply have an effective wardrobe while fitting in. This is for when to wear (or when not to wear) chinelas or just how little can you wear to go to the beach.


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    Be happy! Clothing should always be alegre (happy) in Brazil. You may arrive and be surprised to see grandmothers dressing boldly. It is important for Brazilians to embrace a bold, personal style regardless of their shape or age.
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    Have a polished wardrobe. Brazilian are perfectionists: your clothes should always be cleaned and well ironed. Brazilians always dress up, even if they have to catch the plane. Even t-shirts should be clean and ironed in order to look new. Never dress down.
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    Have fun with patterns and colors. Bright colours and bold patterns are a good start towards building your brazilian wardrobe. Avoid dull and neutral colours as much as possible.
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    Emphasize your natural features. Unisex garments are not very popular in Brazil. In northern cities, it is rare to see women wearing trousers. Dresses or shorts paired with a stylish top are the usual attire.
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    Make it fit. Clothing should be well fitted, not baggy or loose. You should feel comfortable in your clothes, not as though you are being swallowed in fabric.
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    Keep fresh. Wear ventilated clothing, and shower whenever possible. Brazilians take pride in smelling good.
    • Remember to clean your teeth (after each meal) and floss once a day. Spinach stucked in between your teeth will make you look silly.
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    Layer. You have to dress smart in Brazil. Check your destination’s weather prior to packing your luggage. Brazil has seasons: winters can be cold, while summers can be hot and very humid. Beware, some areas are dry and dusty.
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    Accessorize. Use a great bag, put on some bold jewellery, and have fun with your sunglasses! Accessories don’t need to be expensive, but they should make a statement about you. In some regions, wearing jewellery made from local natural materials such as seeds and wood, especially if well-made, will get you noticed and it will be taken as a sign of appreciation of the local culture.
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    Dress up and don’t dress down. Dressing down will not help you blend in. Looking sharp shows respect to your host in social occasions. All events are opportunities to dress up, have fun, and dress accordingly. Feel free to ask for advice in case of doubt: you are better off safe than sorry.
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    Value the importance of good shoes. Your shoes should always be very clean. Flip-flops (chinelas) are appropriate in certain circumstances only. In Rio, they can be worn most of the time. In other cities, avoid flip flops unless you are heading to the beach. It will be obvious that you are a tourist.
    • Women should carry a pair of colorful sandals with fun details such as bows or flowers in their luggage, while men should invest in a good quality pair of leather sandals.
    • Toenails and fingernails must be scrupulously clean. It is normal for women to paint their nails, and men often manicure too.
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    Dress casual in Rio, play eclectic and quirky in São Paulo, and dress classy in the interior country.
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    Don’t go topless at the beach if you are a woman.
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    Prefer a bikini to a one-piece swimming. You’re in Brazil, you have to accept and love your body! Take a sarong or white shirt to cover up if you are shy.
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    Dress up for any festivals in your area.
    • Be aware that different religious festivals will require different colours, white being a common one.
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    Don’t wear outdoors gear in urban areas. Unless you are in the middle of the forest or bird-watching, don’t dress like you were going out on a safari tour.
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    Clean, well cut jeans are a good choice for casual wear. They should not be baggy or made out of heavy material (you will get sweaty). Wearing heels with tight jeans is considered elegant in Brazil.

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Categories: Fashion Styles | South America