Among the most common and distinctive of the dress in Ecuador
are the clothes of the people in Otavalo, the people along the coast, and those
in the rainforests. The men in Otavalo dress in a style that most people recognize
as the traditional dress as they tend to wear ponchos, a fedora, knickers, and a
long braid called a shimba. Many women in the highlands tend to wear a
white blouse, blue shirts, necklaces and bracelets of gold and coral, and a shawl.
Along the coasts the clothes tend to be lighter in weight for both men and women
and in the rainforests this is also true, but here feathers are a common decoration
Today the dress is changing among many people and in many groups. Many young people
in the rainforests, the colorados in the Santo Domingo area, and people
in more urban areas are leaving traditional dress behind for modern western-styled
clothing. Most mestizos also prefer western-styled clothing and in cities
like Quito this is the most common dress.
Most visitors to Ecuador wear western-styled clothing and
this is what most Ecuadorians will expect visitors to wear in their country. However,
the Ecuadorians are fairly conservative and you are expected to cover up; this is
especially true of women, who should avoid showing too much skin, although tight
dresses and clothes are commonly wore in the country. You will gain respect if you
cover your shoulders, knees, and even your elbows at all times (expect when you're
along the coast or in the Galapagos Islands). If doing business in Ecuador, the
setting is usually very formal as jackets and ties are common and dark colors seem
to dominate; black is always a good choice for business clothing.