Jaden Smith and Justin Bieber, move over, there’s a new style icon in town. Throw on a Hawaiian shirt and you’re guaranteed to make a style statement. Yes, you got that right, Hawaiian shirts are no longer just reserved for beer-bellied American tourists and creepy uncles at family BBQs, they're having a style moment.
Tell me more, what is a Hawaiian shirt?
Well to start off with, the official name for a Hawaiian shirt is actually Aloha shirt. To really pinpoint the exact origin of the historic holiday staple, is not easy as it’s actually the result of many different cultures that were present in 19th and 20th century colonial Hawaii.
The term Hawaiian shirt was officially coined by Ellery Chun in 1927, as a marketing tactic to increase the popularity of the shirt. But the shirts owes its popularity and feel from many different people, pop culture moments and happenings around America and beyond. If you’re interested in more, I really liked this article on grailed.com.
When you’re thinking Hawaiian shirts you’re probably thinking palm trees, waves and florals in blindingly bright colours. But times have changed and it’s gone from the wardrobe of 1930s stylish holiday goers to 90s icons to the runway to one of the biggest men’s street style trends. And with that change came more subdued colours, new elegant patterns, smarter styles and a slimmer fits.
The rise in popularity of this shirt also goes hand in hand with the rising of the camp collar shirt and the stylish, retro feel it stands for.
Why you should ride this wave
Want every day to feel like the weekend? Want people to think you’re living your best life sipping Pina Coladas as soon as you get back home? Want to feel Rock & Roll, look stylish and smart all at the same time? This shirt will do all that.
In my opinion, every man should have at least one these flamboyant pieces, it will work on multiple occasions and won’t let you down when you’re trying to inject a little cheer into your wardrobe. Basically, it’s the non-boring version of a plain white shirt but just, you know, way more fun.
Where can I buy Hawaiian shirts?
Designer labels like Prada and Dolce & Gabbana have put their own luxurious and stylish spin on the leisure fashion item, while streetwear labels like Carhartt and Stussy have added a bit of skater-cool to the camp collar shirt. All-Saints also have lots of great shirts you should check out, you can find out how to style them here. You'll also find plenty of affordable options on ASOS if you’d like to try out the men’s street style trend without spending too much money. I’d suggest investing in one that is really high-quality as you’ll want it to wear it at least once a week, but how you ask? I have the answers to your burning questions, just scroll down.
When to wear a Hawaiian shirt?
There’s no need to reserve this shirt just for your trips to the Bahamas, Mexico or you know, your local swimming pool for the weekend. In my opinion, you can really see this camp collar shirt as any other basic top. That basically means wearing it just like you would a basic white shirt, to work, to a date and anywhere in between.
If you're looking for festival gear that will help you stand out form those dancing sweaty crowds then this funky item is it. It's impossibly cool, and a little different from the basics all the other guys are going for and as a bonus: getting too hot? Just unbutton and feel extra nonchalant, almost as nonchalant as that pickup line you'll be using (yeah right). Of course, it’s also great to pack with you on your holiday as there is nothing that says quite OOO than a Hawaiian shirt. But when you're back in the office try matching it with a suit or sharper tailoring and watch those dull meeting rooms brighten up.
How do you wear a Hawaiian shirt?
- Wear it with a white t-shirt under and a pair of regular fitted jeans for a casual look
- Go for a retro feel and match it with wide fit pants and vintage ray-bans
- Suit up and wear it under your tailored jacket for a fun addition to your go-to office look
- Unbutton it and wear it over your short swim shorts with a bum bag for a cool, modern holiday look
- Don’t shy away from mixing it with other colours, you don’t have to keep the bottom half simple.
Why not go for some bright shorts or pants and maybe even coloured or checked vans?