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What is a Hawaiian Shirt?

The Aloha shirt, also referred to as a Hawaiian shirt, is a style of dress shirt originating in Hawaii. They are collared and buttoned dress shirts, usually short-sleeved and cut from printed fabric. They are often worn untucked, but can be worn tucked in as well. They are not only casual wear, but serve as informal business attire in Hawaii. If you ever visited Hawaii, then you most likely saw a lot of Hawaiian shirts especially around the beaches. The truth is that people in Hawaii tend to have a very specific style of shirts, something that is seamlessly connected with the mentality and excitement around the island. Learning where to buy Hawaiian shirts is a very good idea, but before you do that it’s important to know why a Hawaiian shirt looks the way it does. Here’s a quick Hawaiian shirt history that you want to check out!

Short Hawaiian Shirt History

One thing to consider about the Hawaiian shirts is the fact that they are known as Aloha shirts on the islands. They’ve become an icon of the islands all over the world, and people started to wear them and showcase their appreciation and allegiance to this location in a very interesting way.

Initially people started to wear Hawaiian print shirts around the beginning of the 20th century. That’s when Hawaii started to receive a lot of US and Hawaiian immigrants. At that time, Hawaii was still in the plantation era. Those immigrants brought in a variety of clothing styles, such as kimono fabric from Japan, formal silk garments, as well as Borong style shirts from the Philippines and collared shirts from the US. Hawaiian natives had clothes with colorful geometric patterns.

During the 20s and 30s, the plantation workers started to wear sleeved shirts with a bright geometric pattern, these were known as the Palaka shirts, with Japanese immigrants wearing a similar shirt created from Kimono cloth. In 1931 a college graduate named Ellery Chun came to Hawaii and she started created bright print short sleeved shirts from kimono material leftovers. Chun was the one that registered the trade name aloha, and that’s when the Aloha shirts were basically created. Another manufacturer was already emerging in this field.

After WWII, more and more people came to the island and started to wear Hawaiian shirt fashion. In fact, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne and even president Harry S Truman were known to wear Hawaiian shirts especially during their time off. Hawaiian Shirts were even used in movies like From Here to Eternity. It was during the 1960s where companies like Kamehameha Garment Company started to ship tons of Hawaiian shirts to the US.

Throughout the years, Hawaiian shirts have become a staple of the island. And that’s why you can find authentic Hawaiian shirts all over the world, although the best ones come directly from the islands. Whether you want a traditional Hawaiian shirt or some cool Hawaiian shirt design options, you can easily find them and express yourself the way you want.

Hawaiian Shirt Design

One thing to note about the Hawaiian shirt designs is that they are printed, collared and they have a short sleeve. Most of the time they will have buttons, either a few or for the entire chest. You will also notice most of the authentic Hawaiian shirts tend to have a left chest pocket too. They can be worn by men and women alike, although models for women have a V-Neck style in order to make the shirt more appealing and visually interesting.

When it comes to the lower seams of the nice Hawaiian shirts, these tend to be straight. You don’t want to tuck in aloha shirts, these are meant to be worn outside your pants. On top of that, they do tend to have some Tapa designs, Hawaiian quilt designs and some floral patterns. You will find that most Hawaiian shirts near me will include surf boards, palm trees, drinks or tropical elements known to exist on the islands. That will differ from one place to another, but it clearly shows the tremendous quality and value being brought to the table.

Initially Hawaiian shirts were seen as too wild, something that was quite challenging for a lot of people. But it was soon realized that Hawaiian shirts are actually a pleasure to wear and quite rewarding. That’s why many stars and regular people started wearing them. You will find some reverse print trendy Hawaiian shirts that are printed on the interior. That means they have a muted color on the exterior. It’s still nice, just different.

Hawaiian Shirt Patterns

What you will like about Hawaiian print shirts in general is the fact that they have all kinds of patterns. Their focus is to represent what’s on the island. That’s why you can find a blue, hibiscus, green, parrot, wallpaper, flower, leaves, surfing or drinks patterns. Each one of the Hawaiian shirt’s patterns is quite creative, and it really goes to show the great value and experience being brought to the table little by little in a situation like this.

What Fabric Can be Used for a Hawaiian Shirt?

That depends on the situation. However, some of the most common fabrics used for this kind of product include silk, cotton or linen. The idea is to have these real Hawaiian shirts as light as possible. They are mostly worn in a region with high temperatures, so it makes a lot of sense to use light fabrics that offer a lot of breathability.

You can find combination of these fabrics at times, but usually it’s either silk, cotton or linen. There’s an agreement between manufacturers to have at least 2-3 buttons, although the average Hawaiian shirt can have 5 buttons.

When it comes to the Hawaiian shirt components, these can include a convertible collar, a short sleeve, side slits, a double yoke, front pocket and many others. That’s why you really need to come up with a clever design to counteract all of that.

How to Wear a Hawaiian Shirt?

Most bright Hawaiian shirts are visually stunning, and you do want to show them in all their greatness. At the same time, you also want to be comfortable when you wear such a shirt. That’s why the consensus here is to wear the Hawaiian shirt hanging loosely and untucked.

You don’t want to have a lot of accessories, instead keep those at a minimum. You don’t need bow ties, belts, suspenders or cummerbunds. We also recommend you to avoid mixing patterns. Flowers won’t go well with tropical fish or surfing scenes. It’s way too much. If you choose a certain pattern, you want to be consistent and stick to it, otherwise things will not look that great and that’s what you want to avoid.

Instead what you want to do is to wear the Hawaiian shirt with plain, khaki pants or anything that’s neutral. Of course, since every tacky Hawaiian shirt or crazy Hawaiian shirt has all sorts of cool designs, you also want to look great in it. Getting some tan can really make a huge difference and bring you a way to stand out in a wonderful manner, which is what you need.

We also recommend you to wear straw hats. These are known to go very well with Hawaiian shirts, the same with Bermuda shorts too. You can’t expect to wear Hawaiian tee shirts or any Hawaiian shirt attire in a formal situation. Instead, your focus has to be on wearing this in your downtime, when you go out for a drink or go in a vacation.

Ideally you want a Hawaiian shirt that fits snuggly and which looks great on you. On top of that, you want to avoid something that’s too large. It should have a bit of space, but not too much. One thing is certain, you always need shirts that have a solid color. Since the modern and retro Hawaiian shirts tend to have a lot of colors going on, the last thing you want is to bring in even more color, that will be too much, and you want to avoid it.

Hawaiian Culture and Aloha Dress Code

Regular Aloha Attire should be an aloha shirt, light slacks or shorts. There are also Hawaiian pullovers and button-down shirts made out of silk. For women, they can wear a variety of different formal dresses.

For the Aloha Week you can go with the traditional retro Hawaiian shirts or some authentic shirts. The idea here is to show the history of the city, so you can find a vast range of products and exciting things to take into consideration. Both men and women can wear Hawaiian shirts, but they need to fit the style of that event!

When it comes to Aloha Friday, here you can go with some really colorful Hawaiian shirts. Fridays represent the end of the week, they offer you a sense of happiness and excitement. So yes, this is the perfect time when you can wear such a shirt, and it will get very interesting.

Should You Buy a Hawaiian shirt?

As you can see, finding the best Hawaiian shirts is a very good idea since these are amazing shirts anyone can wear. They are all about bringing you happiness and excitement. You want to push the boundaries and take things to the next level in a creative and rewarding manner. If you like the crazy Hawaiian shirt design, you definitely want to wear this type of clothing. It suits vacations and your own downtime, but it’s still something incredible, fun and certainly different, which is why you want to check it out for yourself!

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