Five Plus One is our weekly series of buyer’s guides. We pick a specific category and dig up five great options along with one that’s a little outside the norm.
Nobody has trouble picturing a Hawaiian shirt in their head (read more in our full guide to Hawaiian shirts), but it is much more difficult to define what Hawaiian shirts are. Generally speaking, they are relaxed-fitting shirts with short sleeves, a wide and flat collar, and bright floral patterns, but beyond that there is no clear definition.
1) Reyn Spooner: Lush Grotto
No article about Hawaiian shirts would be complete without some mention of Reyn Spooner, a company that has been producing Hawaiian shirts since the 1950’s. Their Lush Grotto shirt has several characteristics that are common to Hawaiian shirts, such as the floral design and pattern-matched front pocket. However, perhaps the most interesting detail is the reverse print fabric. Rather than sewing this shirt with the pattern facing out, it is sewn with the pattern on the inside; this makes the shirt’s coloring appear a bit duller and more faded–a common motif in Hawaiians.
Available for $98 from Reyn Spooner.
2) Gitman Bros. Vintage: New Wave Palm Camp Shirt
Gitman Bros. Vintage’s take on a classic Hawaiian shirt (a.k.a. an Aloha shirt) is simplistic. It features a loose fit, short sleeves, wide collar, and a high-contrast tropical pattern. Although it doesn’t feature a front chest pocket or reversed fabric, this shirt clearly follows the same trend lines as other Hawaiian shirts.
Available for $126 from Gitman Bros. Vintage.
3) Anatomica: Hawaiian Shirt in Forest
One interesting aspect of Hawaiian shirts is the fabric used to make them. Both highly textured twills and smooth silks have been used to produce Aloha shirts, in part due to textile trading with Asian countries. As such, I’m sure it comes as little surprise that Japanese clothing companies now produce some of the most iconic Aloha shirts. Anatomica‘s Hawaiian Shirt is another great example of a geometric pattern, although this one also features a tropical motif. Each shirt is finished with a chest pocket and natural nut buttons.
Available for £153 from Superdenim.
4) Sun Surf: Cryptic Goldfish Throne Hemp & Cotton
Sun and Surf’s Cryptic Goldfish shirt is a slightly atypical Hawaiian shirt because it is a popover rather than a buttoned shirt. That’s not necessarily non-traditional, but it certainly goes against many people’s preconceived notions as to what a Hawaiian shirt is. Furthermore, the collar of this shirt secures down with buttons, which is very different from the wide collars typically seen on Aloha shirts. Be that as it may, the textured fabric, tropical pattern, and muted colors are all familiar themes of Hawaiian shirts.
Available for $170 from Self Edge.
5) Scotch and Soda: Hawaiian Shirt
One of Scotch and Soda‘s main assets is their ability to consistently released unique products that don’t break the bank. Their Hawaiian Shirt is made in a classic cut, and with the same understated colors that ar on many vintage Aloha shirts. To set this piece apart from the rest, Scotch and Soda added a small cuff to the end of the short sleeves.
Available for $62 from East Dane.
Plus One – Star of Hollywood: Caribbean Vibes
Star of Hollywood, a now defunct Hawaiian Shirtmaker, was recently acquired by Toyo, the owner of Sugar Cane, Buzz Rickson, Sun Surf, and several other brands. They are now producing famous Star of Hollywood designs from custom made fabric, such as the one used on their Caribbean Vibes shirt. It features a graphic scene, a common element of many Aloha shirts, which reflects the uniqueness of each design element.
Available for $215 from Self Edge.