Aloha Shirt—fashion with a Utiliatarian disposition.
by Samuel De Lemos
Nothing says, “free spirited, rest easy, and relaxation like a 100% RAYON aloha shirt.”
Yea, we all know that Aloha Shirts get a bad rap from millennial ran rant fashion bloggers. They wouldn’t know a good time or a classy shirt, if it bit them in the ass!
Aloha Shirts are not just for that 50’s guy having existential youth problems, though it’s ok if you are. Do a Google search “Aloha Shirt Fashion” and you’ll see that the quintessential feel good shirt is making a serious fashion comeback.
Listen, Montgomery Cliff, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and Al Pacino all rocked an Aloha Shirt; and if these American icons of manhood wore them, then why shouldn’t I?
Here’s a little Aloha shirt history taken from Hawaianshirtdude.com
“After World War II, many servicemen returned to the United States from Asia and the Pacific islands with aloha shirts that had been made in Hawaii since the 1930s. Tourists began flocking to Hawaii in the 1950s as faster airplanes allowed for easier travel and the former U.S. territory became a state in 1959. Alfred Shaheen, a textile manufacturer, revolutionized the garment industry in postwar Hawaii by designing, printing and producing aloha shirts and other ready-to-wear items under one roof. The tropical-print shirts for men and sundresses for women became standard and sometimes tacky souvenirs for travelers, but Shaheen raised the garments to the level of high fashion with artistic prints, high-grade materials and quality construction. Elvis Presley wore a Shaheen-designed red aloha shirt featured on the album cover for the Blue Hawaii film soundtrack in 1961.”
Back to the Aloha shirt:
The colors speak of sandy white beaches.
Mai Tai’s and Rum and coke with a lime twist.
Soft warm tropical wind blowing through palm trees.
A relaxing night out with your significant other.
If you’re a millennial, don’t listen to your peers, a Hawaiian shirt will make you look good and feel classy!
When I was stationed in Okinawa, we Marines would rock bright Hawaiian shirts,
Gel our high and tights, put on some nice slacks or shorts and hit the town, looking for a little adventure. On paydays we’d go to a little joint in Naha that served tropical drinks and had that South Pacific TIKI feel. I’d have a couple of Fog Cutters and a nice dinner with my pals and then hit the road, pretending to be tourist. Those were the good ole days, when deployment overseas was relaxing. Some of us even got dates, which made our little outings that much more enjoyable.
Today, I was thinking about it being Fall, but as soon as I stepped into my car, all thoughts of Fall weather; chilled blowing winds and colorful leaves left my mind. It was 93 degrees and no clouds in sight! We are experiencing a second summer. So I ran upstairs, tore off my Fall clothes, put on my flip-flops and tank top; searched desperately for my sunglasses and threw on my Tiki shirt. In California there’s no excuse to not look and feel relaxed. We live in a perpetual ‘Friday is Hawaiian shirt’ climate. Yes, sadly enough, I sometimes feel that my sweaters are hanging in my closet collecting dust; but, that only lasts a moment, when I realize that the sun is out and I can go to the beach! There’s so much more that can be accomplished with a sunny day and sunglasses.
My quest, the reason why I was stepping outdoors in the first place, was so that I could get last minute ingredients for supper. I went straight to the poultry section to cool off, the air conditioning in the meat section of the grocery store felt amazing. That’s when I saw a rather large man wearing a Hawaiian shirt too. I thought to myself, Hawaiian shirts are the moo-moos for men. You can hide a lot of extra weight under a loose fitting floral print tropical shirt. Remember, Frank Sinatra in, From Here To Eternity hiding a fifth of Whiskey under his Hawaiian shirt? It was remarkable, you couldn’t see it. I felt euphoric, I light went on in my head, what better piece of fashion to hide extra weight, Liquor, or a 9mm hand gun than a lovely 100 % rayon tropical shirt? Its fashion with a utilitarian disposition, a true BauHaus moment went off in my noggin—Beauty follows function! The Aloha shirt is not only beautiful but it’s functional. If there’s anything praise worthy coming from our 50th State it’s the Aloha Shirt, well, also the little hula dolls that sway on our dashboards too.