Tastefully tropical: The comeback of Hawaiian shirts and why you need one in your closet

Cue the steel drums and reggae island music… Hawaiian shirts are back in all of their tacky floral glory. The true underdog, Hawaiian shirts have risen again from the depths of fashion exile to take hold of concertgoers, beach bums, fraternity men and SoCal dreaming gals alike. Their recent surge in popularity has dads all over America saying, “See, I told you I was trendy!” Or at least that’s what my dad said when he caught me snooping in his closet scoping out his endless Hawaiian shirt collection…

Hawaiian shirts

Their gaudy prints and tacky aura have earned them a bad reputation in the past, mostly due to the fact that fanny pack-adorning, Floridian map-holding tourists used to be the only ones to sport them. However, these beach-themed masterpieces popped up on the spring 2014 runways of notable designers such as Prada, Tommy Hilfiger and Saint Laurent, putting them back on the map. Now they can be found at popular stores like Forever 21, Urban Outfitters and Tilly’s or at any local thrift store.

These shirts offer the best of both worlds for any casual occasion: The flashy prints say “I’m here to party” but the structured design — complete with buttons, a collar and sleeves — says you still appreciate fashionable details. Though typically worn by men, who says girls can’t venture into the realm of these floral beauties? I’m all for finding fashionable ways to rock men’s clothing, so I’m here to give all of you beachy gals out there a few options for nailing an outfit centered around a Hawaiian shirt. Below are a few creations I made using Polyvore, my go-to website for deciding how to piece together different outfits.

With high-waisted shorts
You can tuck your Hawaiian shirt into a pair of high-waisted shorts, or leave the bottom buttons undone and tie up the loose ends. I personally like to wear a crop top with my DIY shorts, and I just leave my Hawaiian shirt unbuttoned and open in the front. As for shoes, I usually pick my Vans, but suede ankle boots are a cute option, too.

Hawaiian shirt with shorts

Tie it up and throw on a skirt
Tie up the ends of a Hawaiian shirt and pair it with a skater skirt. Add a fedora and some gladiator sandals, and you’ll look like you just walked off the beach.

Hawaiian shirt

With jeans rolled to mid-calf
Buy a Hawaiian shirt that’s one size too big and wear it buttoned up and with a pair of light-wash denim or pale-colored pants. For an added SoCal touch, wear a beanie to finish off this look.

Hawaiian shirt

Over a solid dress
Who needs kimonos anymore? (Just kidding, I’m still obsessed with mine…) Change up your usual kimono and dress combo by substituting in a fun Hawaiian shirt. Throw on a few long necklaces and stack some bracelets to make this option a tad dressier.

Hawaiian shirt with a dress

If this plethora of outfit options didn’t convince you to head to the nearest vintage shop to find one of these floral beauties, then I don’t quite know what will. Are you hesitant to take a plunge into the male-dominated world of Hawaiian shirts? Shed those inhibitions, ladies! I personally used to poke fun at my dad for his huge collection of Hawaiian shirts until I realized that they had potential to be a quirky addition to my wardrobe. Now, my collection includes three — one from a vintage boutique in Valencia, Spain (pictured below), one from a street market in the Bahamas and a Gator-themed one I bought on Amazon to wear on football game days.

Say ~aloha~ to this new trend, and you’ll instantly have a summer state of mind no matter what season it is.



As always, thanks for reading! Stay Hawaiian, my friends.

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