Don't Let Summer End: The Best Hawaiian Shirts for Chasing the Sun
The Hawaiian shirt (or the aloha shirt)—the menswear staple marked by craftsmanship, artistry, and a vibrant history influenced by the
Relaxed, comfortable, and with a variety of prints and colors, the Hawaiian shirt is the one item you need to stuff in your bag for a weekend of chasing the sun. From reproductions to trendy tropical wear, here are just some of the best Hawaiian shirts to get right now.
Hawaiian artist and designer Sig Zane, one of the modern-day “authentic” aloha shirtmakers, works with Polynesian ethnic motifs and traditional prints. His pieces carry the same aloha spirit of Hawaii's forefathers, but they still appeal to fans of minimalist designs and line art.
Born from one of Hawaii’s oldest aloha shirt brands, Kahala carries tradition and legacy (aloha shirt authority Dale Hope was also one of its owners at one point). Its coveted “silkies,” the iconic silky shirt designs of the '30s and '40s, are now available in rayon and features vintage-inspired imagery that’s reminiscent of old novelty patterns.
Merging traditional artistry and luxury sensibilities, Tori Richard arguably makes the best Hawaiian shirts on the market right now. This tropical print, with birds and fronds drawn against
Vintage-inspired iconography meets mid-century modern design dyed in cool Miami hues—this is a Hawaiian shirt that isn't afraid to embrace its retro roots.
This reverse-print shirt—as in, the back of the fabric is used for a more subdued effect—is closer to what a lot of the locals wear.
Pherrow’s is known for remaking American menswear, so it’s no surprise that it also remakes the aloha shirt. The Hawaiian motif of this piece is inspired by one of the key players in the rise of the aloha shirt: Alfred Shaheen.
Dale Hope also worked with outdoor brand Patagonia (under its Pataloha line), and his influence shows on the label's aloha shirts. Vibrant tropical leaf print will forever be in season.
Naked & Famous
From a motif depicting cranes and flowers to fabrics sourced from Japan, Naked & Famous showcases its flair for Japanese-style aloha shirts. It stays true to other elements, too, such as the silhouette and coconut buttons.
This remake features Japanese-style artwork done on an overprint. It’s also made with rayon
The orSlow aloha shirt is made with oxford cloth and thus feels more structured and hardier than others. The contemporary art feel of this shirt will pair well with cargos, chinos, or denim.
Uniqlo nails the aloha shirt while keeping its Japanese DNA. Whether you’re on your way to catching a wave or dreaming of sea-filled days ahead, this shirt with a traditional wave illustration is for you.
Local retailer Penshoppe is also sinking its teeth into the Hawaiian shirt craze, creating a trendy resort shirt in vibrant night hues. It’s the shirt to wear when bar-hopping on a warm evening.
This fun and festive design is a clear reference to Hawaii’s island life... in a postcard kind of way.
Bold prints, detailed artwork, and bright shades of yellow and green—it's hard not to love this local aloha shirt.
Abercrombie & Fitch
Abercrombie does a decent job with this scenery-printed shirt. The streaks of coral are
What makes an authentic aloha shirt?
While there are several short-sleeved shirts that showcase tropical motifs such as flowers, leaves, and trees, the best Hawaiian shirts feature a storytelling aspect. The illustrations and art must depict Hawaiian or Polynesian culture and should also showcase a degree of intention and research. Other features like fabric and fit signify authenticity, too.