Aloha shirts, commonly called Hawaiian shirts, are a style of shirts that originated in Hawaii, USA. Hawaiian shirts feature bold prints, are mostly short-sleeved and feature a collar. Usually, they have buttons, sometimes just down to the chest and sometimes for the entire length of the shirt. Most Aloha shirts have a left chest pocket sewed in, often with attention to make sure the printed pattern remains continuous.
These shirts, which feature floral patterns or Polynesian motifs, are worn as casual, informal wear. Even though they are the main export of the Hawaiian manufacturing industry, Aloha shirts often have a bad reputation and are seen as a big sartorial no.
But, we want to do them justice, as we believe that one can wear a Hawaiian shirt and still look polished, elegant and sophisticated.
Discover our guide to wearing a Hawaiian shirt and remain polished, stylish and put together.
While Aloha shirts are meant to be worn untucked, even though this is not a major rule, it doesn’t mean that they don’t need to fit well. Part of the bad image Hawaiian shirts get is because people usually wear them in sizes that are too large for them. Wearing clothes in general that are too large for you is not a good idea: you will look disproportionate and out of balance, regardless of your size. If you are a bigger man and wear a shirt that is too large for you, you will look really big; and if you are a thin man wearing a shirt that is too big, you will look like you are drowning in your clothes.
So, even if you wear a shirt that has a loose cut, it still doesn’t mean that it should not fit you – it simply should fall more relaxed on your body.
You can also wear a very fitted Aloha shirt or tuck it in your pants. Remember that a shirt that can be tucked has a wavy end and is longer (you should be able to tuck about 7 in / 15 cm in your pants). Shirts that are not designed to be tucked end in a straight line and are shorter, they usually end about mid-crotch.
When it comes to color, there are many ways in which you can wear these highly colorful shirts.
With a neutral
When you are wearing a shirt that features a very busy print such as Hawaiian shirt, you can always pair it with a solid neutral. In fashion, neutrals are colors that go with absolutely anything and that balance bold colors and busy prints well. These colors are: khaki, ivory, tan, black, white, gray, dark blue, beige, brown, etc.
For example, if you wear a Hawaiian shirt with a colorful print, you can wear it with a pair of khaki pants.
With another solid
For example, if you wear a shirt that features a pink, green and blue print, you can wear it with a pair of green pants.
With another print
Hawaiian shirts can also be worn with another print. In this sense, you must always remember the number one rule of mixing prints: the two (or three) prints you want to mix should be of different sizes.
For example, if you are wearing an Aloha shirt that features a motif with large flowers and leaves, you can pair it with a pair of pants that features very thin stripes or, why not, small pineapples.
In beautiful Hawaii, there is a thing called “Aloha attire.” Aloha attire appeared back in 1962, when a shirts manufacturer tried to push Hawaiian shirts in the workplace. The result was a mix of Hawaiian attire with classic work attire, called Aloha attire. Aloha attire usually implies wearing an Aloha shirt with a pair of dress pants. Of course, no tie or bow tie is needed. While this look can be a bit incoherent, it can work if you wear a very sharp shirt.
While Aloha shirts don’t go with ties or bow ties, if you wear a classic, sharply-tailored shirt with a Hawaiian print, it can even work with a tie or a bow tie.
Hawaiian shirts can be worn in a way that you look good. We know that many men love them, which is why we think you should make the best of them and make them work to your advantage.
Now that you have the tools to wear a Hawaiian shirt, you can sport one with confidence. Looking good (and knowing it) will make you feel more engaged, dynamic and powerful, which is why it is important to invest time and effort in your everyday style, even if you want to wear a casual, relaxed Hawaiian shirt.
Fraquoh and Franchomme
P.S. We want to hear from you! What do you think of Hawaiian shirts? How do you wear them? Would you wear Aloha attire? Share your feedback, questions or thoughts in the comments below! For more articles on style, fashion tips and cultural insights, you can subscribe to Attire Club via e-mail or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!