Happy Father’s Day – Hau’oli lā Makuakāne! We’re thinking about dads and uncles everywhere, and there’s no more appropriate time to honor them with the quintessential Hawaii Aloha Shirts, a symbol of the islands. Whether you plan on spending $10 for a vintage Hawaiian shirt at a thrift shop, a $2,300 new Valentino one below, or buying something in between, it’s just hard to go wrong. Here’s our guide to finding the perfect one like those pictured in the lead photo by Kahala brand.
Very cool in both sense and function.
Aloha Shirts, in many ways iconic Hawaii, have been popular for more than 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 U.S. mainland.
Fast forward to the ’60s, as Aloha Shirts became truly universal as they helped spread island vibes everywhere. Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii certainly didn’t hurt in that regard. Or Magnum, P.I. during the 1980s. While Aloha Shirts’ popularity has waxed and waned ever since, they have again taken the world by storm, courtesy of fashion icons including Gucci (pictured below), that have adapted them to their designs. Other high-end retail stores are selling them, too, like Saks Fifth Avenue.
Choose from a wide array of fabrics and patterns, including cotton, silk, rayon or linen. Colors abound, with patterns from florals, palm trees, and sunsets. And how about some real coconut buttons?
And David Beckham was seen in Miami (above) wearing a Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello aloha shirt ($790). He was posed in front of a Maserati, for which David is the brand ambassador. That’s quite a statement about just how far aloha shirts have come. Other celebrities rocking Aloha Shirts from yesterday to today include the likes of Tom Sellick, Jonah Hill, Bruno Mars, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mila Kunis, Brad Pitt, Harry Styles. And that’s just a few.
Aloha Shirts make ideal wear from the mainland to Waikiki.
They also make one of the best Hawaii souvenirs to bring home from your vacation. Breezy, comfortable, and classic yet casual, Hawaiian Aloha Shirts are made for lounging, dining, the beach, barbecues, and more.
Finding Aloha Shirts is easy and the range of options to choose from is diverse and fun. At one end of the spectrum, they can come from places in Hawaii like thrift stores, Longs, Walmart, Costco, and brand stores. They’re also found at Hawaii airports. Look too, at the top-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, on the mainland, here in the islands, and at places like ETSY and Amazon.
Aloha Shirts Meet USPS.
You’ll recall that even the U.S. Post Office got in on the aloha shirt act and created the popular stamps seen below. They sold over 50 million in one year alone.
The following are some of our favorite Aloha Shirt stores.
And June is a great time to purchase them as most companies have exclusive offers just for Fathers Day.
Bailey’s Antiques and Aloha Shirts.
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 all starting at under $10.
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 its 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 have 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’s called the “Brooks Brothers of the Pacific.”
Founded in1991, the name Tommy Bahama is fictional. They started with “printed silk shirts and tailored pants for refined island living.” Their collection is inspired to “transported people to an island state of mind and celebrated the best part of the week – the weekend.” Oxford Industries, which owns the company, is based in Atlanta.
Hawaii is well known for its many fascinating 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’ll 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.
Our own 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, has used Aloha Shirts as part of his basic business attire his entire career. Jeff has favorites that were given to him by family and made by friends.
Do you have any Aloha Shirt memories to share?
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