The Truth About Hawaiian Shirts You Need To Know

Posted by Alex Melen on

The Truth About Hawaiian Shirts You Need To Know

Hawaiian shirts have become popular, not just in Hawaii, but all other parts of the world especially where the climate is tropical. There are many things to discover about this type of shirt though in order to learn and appreciate it better.

Wearing the Hawaiian Shirt

Hawaiian shirts often become part of the choice of clothing for people during Hawaiian-themed parties, whether at work or in other social gatherings. Also known as the Aloha shirt, this is actually a type of dress shirt style that has originated from Hawaii. They are buttoned and collared, and usually have short sleeves on them. They are also cut from printed fabric. The best way to wear them is untucked, but note that they are not just casual clothing. They are also considered informal business attire in the land where they originated from.

More on its History

Hawaiian shirts started somewhere in between the late 1920s to the early 1930s. This was when a Honolulu-based store started making shirts using colourful Japanese fabric prints. Some argue, though, that the shirt was devised by Ellery Chun, a Chinese merchant who owns King-Smith Clothiers and Dry Goods which was based in Waikiki, Hawaii. Some say that the latter is a myth, but there is a basis for claims because Chun was the first ever to mass-produce then sell ready-to-wear stock of the clothing design.

The term "Aloha shirt" was used in an advertisement for Musa-Shiya back in 1935. This was printed on the June 28 issue of the same year for the newspaper, The Honolulu Advertiser. In 1936, the term "Aloha sportswear" was coined, back when Chun's company registered the trademark. Chun also has the "Aloha shirt" trademarked in 1937, thus making him the rightful owner of the appellation for the next two decades. From here, the rest was history, as more designer labels carry these shirts in their racks.

More on the Design of These Shirts

When compared to other casual shirts, Hawaiian shirts have sewn-in pockets on the left chest, paying particular attention to the printed patterns used in designing one. Now, both men and women wear one, with the women's version having a V-neck, lower-cut design. The shirts' lower hems are straight cut, but many wears them with their tails hanging out, instead of being tucked in. Traditional designs use Hawaiian quilt, tapa, and the very popular floral patterns. They are often available in muted colors. The more modern ones, however, feature palm trees, incorporate drinks, surf boards and other tropical elements known to the island.

The Aloha Dress Code

It was in 1962 when Aloha shirts were promoted as clothing that should be used in the workplace. This was made possible through the initiative of the Hawaiian Fashion Guild, a professional manufacturing association. The act gave the guild the chance to distribute two Hawaiian shirts for each member of the Hawaii Senate and Hawaii House of Representatives. From here, the Senate passed a resolution recommending that the attire be worn in the state for summer which begins on the occasion of the Lei Day. Subsequently, in 1965, the president of the Guild, Bill Foster, Sr, lobbied for "Aloha Friday", which gave employees the chance to wear aloha shirts to their last working day for the week.

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