Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ropa: camisa vs camiseta vs playera

Every Spanish book I've ever looked at has called a shirt a camisa. And I guess in a generic sense that's correct, but there are actually different words for different types of shirts.

This shouldn't come as a surprise (although it did), as we certainly have our own collection of words for the various styles of shirts in English. In this post I'm going to share what I learned from my amigos Mexicanos.

If you're referring to a button up shirt with a collar, then camisa is the right word. It can be a camisa con mangas cortas (short sleeve shirt) or con mangas largas (long sleeve shirt).

The only other word I had ever heard for shirt was camiseta, which all my books defined as a t-shirt. A camiseta is actually an undershirt, with or without sleeves.

What we call a t-shirt in English would be called a playera in Mexico. A playera can have long or short sleeves. You can also referer to a playera con mangas largas as a jersey. Be sure to say it using Spanish pronunciation.

And of course we can't forget about Polo shirts. The official name for a Polo shirt is a playera estilo Polo. But it's commonly referred to as una Polo.

There's also the turtleneck shirt - cuello tortuga. A sweatshirt is a sudadera.

There you have it. While camisa is a universal Spanish word, the others are mexicanismos, and may or may not be used and/or recognized by Spanish speakers from other countries.

3 comments:

  1. Very informative, thank you for all of the distinctions! I'd like to add that I believe sports jerseys are also referred to as "camisas," but you can correct me if I'm wrong.

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  2. Im colombian, spanish is my mother language.

    Remember
    Camiseta esqueleto: something like tiny sleeves
    Blusa: women shirt
    Camisa con cuello "V": neck "V" shape shirt

    Do not worry about too many definitions, we use generic names too many times: something like "camisa" or "camiseta" could be enough.

    There was something like a fresh clothe for men called "guayabera" some decades ago. And it's used a few today.

    Women and fashion people generally point the material of the clothe:
    franela, algodon, nylon, licra, tela, etc...

    Excuse my English, just trying to help. Bless.

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  3. Mexican here. The word jersey has exactly the same meaning it has in English, and is also pronounced the same way.
    In Spanish Castillian they refer to sweaters as Jerseys.

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