Hawaiian Shirts 101: What You Need To Know
There are a few things you should know when your looking for a Hawaiian shirt. (also known as Aloha shirts) I’m gonna break it all down for you right now.
Matching pockets, plackets & engineered shirts
Most Hawaiian shirts will have a matching pocket. This means that the pocket pattern lines up with the fabric underneath. Same goes for any button panels. The pattern should be visually unbroken. When the shirt has a pattern that is unbroken across the entire front of the shirt it is referred to as engineered. A engineered shirt will usually cost you a few bucks more and only the higher end manufacturers produce shirts this way. There are two main reasons, #1 It takes a lot longer to engineered a shirt properly. #2 Producing the shirt this way uses up more of the fabric resulting in a higher cost to manufacture. Here’s a nice example of a “Engineered Aloha Shirt”
Coconut buttons are just plain classic, but on some vintage shirts you’re gonna find metal buttons based on Chinese money. Contemporary shirt makers pretty much all use Coconut or Bamboo buttons. Some high end manufacturers use laser engraved buttons with colored accents that compliment the color of the shirt. Tori Richard for example. Great buttons!
Full Backs & Embroidered
A hula girl strumming her ukulele on the beach. A vintage cruise ship docking in the bay. An arrangement of tropical drinks or maybe even a erupting volcano. Anyone of these images could be a featured print on the back of an aloha shirt. Most full back shirts forgo the busy print on the front side. Many full back designs are embroidered as well. Here are a couple great example of a “Full Back Aloha Shirts”
The typical mass produced aloha shirt is going to be cotton, but I’ve been seeing a lot more rayon (viscose) over the last few years. Cotton is fine, but Rayon has a drape to it that many people find attractive. My personal favorites are the silk shirts. With the hot and humid weather we have here in Hawaii, the silk feels absolutely amazing. It will also keep you a lot cooler than the Rayon or Cotton. The only down side is the cost. Silk blends are a great alternative. Tori Richard has an amazing cotton lawn second to none. One of my favorite fabrics Tori Richard has been producing these days is a puckered cotton. (I believe it use to be known as “seersucker” back before my time.) It has a really cool texture and because of the way the cotton is puckered it actually lays up off your skin which keeps you a bit cooler. It’s also a conversation starter. I seriously can’t ever wear any of mine without someone commenting and even more wanting to touch it. Here’s a example of a “Puckered Cotton Aloha Shirt”
Reverse printing is Hawaii’s traditional way of manufacturing aloha shirts. Like the name implies, A reverse print aloha shirt uses the reverse side of fabric on the outside. If you’re not really into big bright aloha shirts then try out a reverse print shirt. Because your seeing the reverse side of the printed fabric it appears to be more faded and worn. It’s subtle color and pattern is perfect for many occasions from casual to wedding and the office. Funnily enough reverse print shirts can look both more casual as well as dressy. Here is an example of a “Reverse Print Aloha Shirt”
And the absolutely best place to find Hawaiian shirts on-line is of course Hawaiian Shirt Dude!
Wanna know even more about Aloha Shirts & Aloha Friday? Go Here!