Hawaiian shirts are also called Aloha shirts, and reflect the style and heritage of the islands. The shirts used to be the premier textile export for the state, with Hawaii's manufacturing industry touching an all-time high. Usually, the short-sleeved Aloha shirts exported to the mainland United States and around the globe had bright colors with floral patterns or generic Polynesian motifs. These shirts are generally worn as informal wear or on any casual occasion.
Origins of Hawaiian Shirts
The origin of the shirts can be traced back to the early years of the Kingdom of Hawaii, upon the arrival of Congregational and Presbyterian missionaries to the Hawaiian Islands. The Christian settlers from New England imposed strict dress codes, and the native Hawaiians were forced to wear quick-sewn shirts made of various fabrics available to the missionary seamstresses at the time.
History of Modern Aloha Shirts
Ellery J. Chun Father of the Aloha Shirt
The production of the modern Aloha shirt rakes backs to early 1930s. A Chinese merchant named Ellery Chun started a shop called King-Smith Clothiers and Dry Goods in Waikiki. In his early days, he began sewing brightly colored shirts for tourists out of old kimono fabrics. The Honolulu Advertiser newspaper coined the term Aloha shirt to describe Chun's fashionable creation, and this was widely accepted by the people.
How to Style Hawaiian Shirts for Men
There's no one definitive way to style a Hawaiian shirt, as the look can be adapted to fit any man's personal taste. When it comes to men’s fashion, the Hawaiian shirt is often one of the most overlooked items in a man’s wardrobe. However, when styled correctly, a Hawaiian shirt can be one of the most stylish and versatile pieces in your closet. With that being said, there are a few key things to keep in mind when putting together your ensemble:
1. For dressy occasions, avoid pairing a Hawaiian shirt with shorts or other casual clothing items; instead, try wearing it with trousers or jeans for a more polished look.
2. Choose shades and patterns that complement your skin tone and hair color – this will help you pull off the look without looking too costume-y.
3. Start with the right fit. A well-fitting Hawaiian shirt will look much better than one that's too baggy or tight. Make sure the sleeves are not too long or short, and that the body isn't too snug or billowy.
4. Consider color and pattern combinations wisely . When choosing a Hawaiian shirt, opt for something that has classic colors and prints. Avoid shirts with too many loud colors or patterns.
5. For casual occasions, pair your Hawaiian shirt with jeans or shorts and sandals or sneakers. A T-shirt underneath the Hawaii will also keep you cool in warmer weather climates.
6. In cases when the shirts are uniformly colored or color-coordinated, try to find traditional Hawaiian quilt designs or simple plant patterns in muted, non-flashy colors.
7. Finally, don't be afraid to experiment! A Hawaiian shirt is an easy way add some fun and personality to your wardrobe.
If you're looking to add a touch of tropical flair to your wardrobe, a Hawaiian shirt is the perfect way to do it. While they were once considered strictly casual attire, Hawaiian shirts have come into their own as stylish and versatile pieces that can be worn for all sorts of occasions.