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 Facts of Brazil: Cross Cultural

World Cup Brazil 2014


Municipal Market Downtown Sao Paulo





 Brazil Travelnet

Mercado Municipal - Sao Paulo


Cross cultural is an interesting topic when it comes to Brazil. Brazilians are a “race” apart. They love to touch. It is common for Brazilians to touch your arm while talking to you or tap your back when saying goodbye. We can’t help it!

Knowing that Europeans and Americans in particular have a hard time even hugging old friends, it is very strange to see Brazilians hugging and kissing with the frequency they do.

Women will kiss other women and men on the cheek. One, two or three kisses, it varies from place to place. Men will kiss the women on the cheek and pat the men on the back.

Cross Cultural: Clothing

Brazilians are very comfortable with their bodies. Our theory is that since Brazil is a tropical country, it is quite difficult cover head to toe and be relaxed or even adequate. Therefore, Brazilians started to dress comfortably ages ago and became at ease with themselves and others. But that’s just our theory.

Regardless of the fabric and of how much is covered, they are very fashion conscious. We read somewhere that Brazilian women of all sizes and ages dress two to three sizes smaller. Not true. Brazilians like to dress well. They do wear light clothes and show skin, but all of this is fashion oriented.

Besides, children in public and private schools wear uniforms to school, that usually consists of shorts knee length and sweats. No girl is allowed to wear tiny miniskirts to school. Bottom line, Brazilians are not about showing it all at all times. There is some common sense in their dress code.

That said, let’s get to the basics.

Ladies First

Brazilian women like clothes. What are we saying?! ALL WOMEN like clothes. However, it is not about going shopping only. It is about buying what is right, looking good, liking what you see in the mirror.

Since it is either warm or hot for most of the year and in most of the country, they are going to show more skin than women from the Northern Hemisphere.

There are some rules. For instance, they don’t wear dresses with tennis shoes. And those long floral dresses are non-existent. They wear flip-flops (Havaianas®, a famous Brazilian brand and the most comfortable of all), but never to a restaurant, unless you are at the beach. Never to work, never to a party or to a nightclub.

At the beach or adventure destinations capris, jeans, shorts, dresses, tops, blouses and skirts are all very used and part of everyday dress. A nice pair of sandals - for the beach destinations - and hiking boots for the adventure ones should be on your list too.

If you are going to large cities like Sao Paulo, Rio, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Florianopolis and the like, do pack more conservative clothes. You never know when you are going to a posh place or be invited to someone’s house.

Do not take expensive jewelry with you. It is not safe neither in Brazil nor anywhere else in the world. Especially if you do not know the country or the places you are going to visit.

Ladies' Beachwear

Let’s bust the Brazilian bikini myth. Brazilians do not wear thongs only. It is not like the thong is the only way to go. You can find all kind of Brazilian bikinis. Of course you see thongs, but you also see dozens of other models that cater to every single taste. Would grandmothers wear thongs? Not likely. Would pregnant women wear thongs? Improbable.

Rest assured that there are many young Brazilians that have never used a thong in their lives. And this has nothing to do with their sizes, but with their tastes. Brazilian Girl in Bikini

The beachwear in Brazil is the best in the world. Brazil is to beach fashion what Milan and Paris are to all of the other fashion. You may find lots of beautiful stuff, including one-piece bathing suits, especially in the coastal towns or the big cities.

Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo have international fashion shows.  The Brazilian top beachwear brands are shown by top models as such as Brazilians Gisele Bundchen and Caroline Ribeiro, and British Naomi Campbell. Brazil exports beachwear to many countries. Brazilian bikinis are very popular everywhere. It is a great gift for the girls back home.

Then the Gentlemen

There are two things that will give away a visitor immediately: wear sandals with socks and the Hawaiian shirts, so popular in the United States. Brazilians never, ever wear socks with sandals. And they will give you a strange look if you do. 

Actually, fashion consultants in the United States advise men not to wear them either, although it is still accepted there. But not in Brazil. If you are on vacation, shorts, T-shirts and jeans will do. Go causal; there is no way to go wrong.

If cities like Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, Belo Horizonte and Curitiba are in your itinerary, pack some conservative clothes. Up scale restaurants and entertainment places require more sophisticated clothes. You can go casual chic, but not entirely casual.

Men's Beachwear

The younger generation likes knee length shorts. Speedo like models (called sunga in Brazil) are also popular.

More on cross cultural and Brazil will come soon.











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