The Aloha Shirt is a symbolic legend of Hawaii. The post office even got in the act once and created the popular stamps seen above. They sold over 50 million in one year alone.
Very cool in every sense, Aloha Shirts have been popular for a century, since Japanese women first adapted kimono fabric for men’s shirts. By the 1930s and 1940s, they had become a huge success, even on the US mainland.
Fast forward to the ’60s, Aloha Shirts had become truly universal. Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii certainly didn’t hurt in that regard. Or Magnum, P.I. during the 1980s. While their popularity has waxed and waned ever since, they have again been making a comeback with many fashion icons including Gucci adapting them to their designs. Other high-end retail stores are selling them too like Saks Fifth Avenue.
Jonesing to make an Aloha Shirt?
You can certainly find a pattern if sewing is your passion. We have written about a psychiatrist before who does just that. Or try making an origami Aloha Shirt by following the short video below. Your paper Aloha Shirt could be glued to the front of a handmade card.
Aloha Shirts make ideal wear both on the mainland and here in Hawaii.
They also make one of the best Hawaii souvenirs to bring home from your vacation. Breezy, comfortable, and classic yet casual, for lounging, dining, the beach, a barbecue, and more.
Finding Aloha Shirts in Hawaii is easy and the range of options to choose from is diverse and fun. At one end of the spectrum, they can come from thrift stores, Longs, Walmart, and Costco. They’re also found at our airports. Look too at the higher end, highly evolved creations from fabled names like Tori Richard and Reyn Spooner. You’ll find no shortage of places to check out and buy Aloha Shirts, both in person, and on-line like ETSY.
The following are some of our favorite places. Please let us know what Aloha Shirts mean to you.
This is the mother lode of Aloha Shirts and the place where all Aloha shirt aficionados head to on their Hawaii vacation. Located near the Honolulu Zoo on Kapahulu, street, they have been in business since 1980. Bailey’s has over 15,000 shirts in stock! They are divided into four groups: Used, New, Vintage, and Specialty. Get ready for Aloha Shirt overload.
Tori’s history dates to 1953, and was founded by a retiring garment manufacturer, his wife, and a pattern maker. Their concept was to use only the finest fabrics and art designed exclusively for them. They’ve continued to grow and today have dozens of stores on all the Hawaiian Islands and elsewhere, plus a large online business. Rob is a big fan because of their selection in tall sizes.
The never say die “Store of Hawaii” is still in business and is renowned for their Aloha Shirts. They offer many styles and patterns of aloha shirts in a variety of fabrics and price ranges. Stores on all the islands plus online.
Reyn Spooner became a legendary maker of fine Aloha Shirts, offering a wide range of patterns and fabrics. Since 1964, Reyn Spooner’s Aloha Shirts changed the industry with the first-ever tailored fit plus classic styles.
Founded by a WWII Vet who began working at a men’s shop on Catalina Island. After visiting Hawaii in 1957, Reyn moved his family to Honolulu and became one of the first stores at Ala Moana Shopping Center when it opened in 1959.
Reyn was one of the brands that helped establish the Aloha Shirt’s global acceptance. It has been called the “Brooks Brothers of the Pacific.”
Hawaii is well known for its many interesting second-hand stores.
There you’ll find countless racks of Aloha Shirts, some of which are inexpensive and others that are from top brands that are making their way around a second or third time. For as little as a few dollars, to hundreds, you can find an Aloha Shirt that will last for decades and bring you right back to Hawaii each time you wear it. These are among the best bargains and Hawaii souvenirs you’ll find on your Hawaii vacation.
Aloha Shirt stories.
Rob has been a collector of Aloha shirts for decades, and when he lived on the mainland he’d bring favorites with him. Jeff, on the other hand, was using Aloha Shirts as part of his basic business attire. Now they both do since that is the norm in Hawaii. Jeff has favorites that were given to him by family and made by friends. Do you have any Aloha Shirt memories to share?