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
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.
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
That said, let’s get to the basics.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
The younger generation likes knee length shorts. Speedo like models
(called sunga in Brazil) are also popular.
cross cultural and Brazil will come soon.