How to Wear the Hawaiian Shirt: The Rebirth of a Classic

Vacation style is
finally reborn

Written by Salvatore

Not long ago, the
Hawaiian shirt was stitched deep into the fabric of boring dad style. The
Hawaiian shirt screamed depressed Friday office style not one of the best
trends in fashion. For some reason, the sartorial gods descended from their
golden throne to bring the Hawaiian shirt back to us. The Hawaiian shirt is
The Hawaiian shirt
is everywhere now. Pretty much every celebrity and men’s fashion icon is
sporting it. There’s a good reason too. While not every trend is something we
support here at the GentleManual, this one is a keeper. I think we can all
admit that even though the Hawaiian shirt might have seemed like a sad attempt
to recapture that sense of vacation easygoingness, we all secretly had some
love for them. There’s no way you can watch Magnum P.I. and not want one of
your own. This is only amplified when you find yourself falling into a sea of
men in navy and black.
Before you get too
excited, there are some guidelines to follow. We’ll break down everything you
need to know.
A Laid Back History

The Hawaiian shirt
was first created by Chōtarō Miyamoto in his store in Honolulu Hawaii. A few
decades later a man named Ellery Chan modernized the look and sold it en-mass.
Soon the Hawaiian shirt was all over the islands. When troops stationed in
Hawaii during World War 2 returned home, they brought the look back with them.
This rocked men’s fashion and made Hawaii a mecca for all things vacation wear.
In the 60’s the
shirt gained even further traction when businesses on the island started to
adopt the style during the hot summer months. Soon Aloha Fridays became a
popular trend and swept across the ocean and to the mainland. This became what
we know as casual Fridays. After that, the Hawaiian shirt became tied to stuffy
office wear to the detriment of men’s style everywhere.
Recently, designers
have started to invoke this classic style and bring it back to the modern era.

The Commandments of
Wearing Hawaiian Shirts (ignore at your peril)

While the Hawaiian
shirt has risen like a phoenix back into menswear, the stigma of the old days
hasn’t entirely been shaken. If you’re going to rock this look, there are some
rules to follow.
The Fit is Always

The fit is
everything. The oversized trend might be working its tendrils into everything
but this isn’t one of those things. A baggy Hawaiian shirt is going to leave
you looking like your dad’s boss not like a rock star. Get something that is
form fitting and tailored to your body. If you’re a bigger guy, this is
especially important. The bold prints will keep you looking slim while the
proper fit won’t have you swimming in fabric.
Island Confidence

The Hawaiian shirt
isn’t boring anymore. It’s all about being loud and standing out. No matter how
great the shirt looks, it won’t work if you look petrified in it. If confidence
doesn’t come easily to you, don’t worry. There are a few things you can do to
make it work for you either way.
Downplaying the
Hawaiian shirt might be just what you need to rock it. Instead of sporting it
front and center, mute it by layering under a solid colored jacket. The simple
outfit will still allow your shirt to express itself without being in your
face. The second option is choosing shirts with more low-key designs. Not
everyone wants a whole island landscape on their shirt. Classic flower patterns
and muted colors still capture everything that’s great about the Hawaiian
Styling the Right

We’ve covered above
what to do if you want to keep the style lowkey but for those ready to dive
headfirst into the look, go wild. The Hawaiian shirt is fun so take it wherever
you want to go. Change up the classic materials or go for a collarless shirt.
Pair with a cool pair of jeans or even a matching print pair of shorts and rock
festival style every day. Keep things lively with some accessories like a
silver ring or necklace.

Our Picks

Here are some over
the very best Hawaain shirt brands on the market. We’ve covered picks for every
look so you can get a Hawaiian shirt for cheap while still nailing the look.
The Classic

Lu’au Hawaiian Shirt
All Saints makes
some of the best menswear out there. Their Lu’au shirt hits old the right
old-timey notes while still being as cool as anything on the market. The muted
pink is perfect for balancing trendy and traditional.
The Reserved

Palm Tree Shirt

Black and white are
the two basic colors for a reason. They go with literally everything. The
lowkey palm tree design reminds you that you are indeed wearing a Hawaiian
shirt but is so reserved it wouldn’t be out of place in any setting. This black
Hawaiian shirt is a no-brainer. Go get it.
The Versatile

Short-Sleeve Shirt
in Blue Floral

J-Crew is largely
responsible for getting men interested in fashion. Their blue floral shirt is
perfect for someone looking for a shirt to rock on the weekend but one that
also looks fantastic with a blazer. The print is bold while the colors are
classic, giving you the best of both worlds.
The Trendy

Electric Toucan
Rayon Shirt

Ready to throw
caution to the wind? The electric toucan shirt from Urban Outfitters will
definitely draw all attention to you. The print is fun without overdoing it and
the colors are lively and eye-catching.

Our Look

                           Hawaiian Shirt Flat Lay
While I can’t say
for certain if the Hawaiian shirt will be here to stay (I hope it does), it’s
definitely the trend of the moment. Good fits, exciting colors and interesting
designs all make this one worth getting. Make sure to have fun with it and we
might just save it from returning back to the fathoms of boring office style.
How are you having
fun with your style? Let us know below!
Salvatore Marashi

Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.