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.

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Outfit of the day: tribal overalls

Okay, so you’re probably thinking to yourself, “What the heck? Tribal overalls? That sounds hideous… Lemme check out this weirdo to see what this is all about.” I will admit that buying these online was a bit of a fashion risk for even me. But I figured that because I love anything and everything tribal printed and because overalls have been my guilty pleasure since I found a pair for $8 at Plato’s Closet three years ago that maybe combining the two trends into one could make for a rad outfit. Even though they’re a little eccentric, I think life is way too short to wear boring clothes. I mean YOLO right?

With Drake’s words of wisdom in the back of my head (like always, duh), I bought my tribal print overalls and finally decided to get some mileage on those bad boys today when I went to Ybor City for lunch. Though many are scared of Ybor because of its reputation for housing a plethora of “sketchy” people, I actually love the place. As the former home of cigar factories and thousands of Cuban and Italian immigrants, it’s rich in Tampa’s culture. I’m not denying its sketchy tendencies — My mom and I were once hit on by a real-life pimp wearing a floor-length purple pimp suit. Plus, I’ve encountered my fair share of transvestites and homeless people. But I can assure you that if you go during broad daylight around lunchtime, you’re golden.

And today, that’s exactly what I did. I went to lunch at The Bricks of Ybor, my go-to restaurant in the area. Owned by the Skatepark of Tampa, one of my favorite hangouts in town, The Bricks never fails to leave me with a happy tummy and wallet. Even though I usually opt for the pulled pork sandwich, I changed it up today by getting the Bird & Pig — a pulled chicken sandwich with brie, sliced apples, agave and bacon, all pressed between sweet bread (a.k.a. heaven in my mouth). The Bricks is a must-try if you’re into places that serve fresh, cheap and inventive food. Stay around until dark and you’re in for some ~groovy~ tunes and an even groovier atmosphere.

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Menswear-inspired outfit of the day

Mother Nature has graced the city of Gainesville with some pretty funky weather lately. Within the past two weeks, I’ve experienced finger-numbing temperatures in the 40s and 50s. What does this mean?

  • For most people, colder temperatures entail grumpy attitudes, Facebook statuses and tweets about the frigid weather, Instagrammed screenshots of the iPhone weather app proving just how shockingly cold it is, an occasional curse word or two targeted at Mother Nature, multiple complaints about not having anything to wear out at night and the desire to skip classes in order to avoid the weather.
  • For me, colder temperatures are like a breath of fresh air that give me an excuse to break out those sweaters and jackets sitting in the back of my closet year round, practically begging for some attention come winter.

Because of the fact that cooler weather calls for multiple layers of clothes, wintertime allows me to further get in touch with my creativity in fashion. Rather than simply pairing a shirt with shorts or a skirt as I do in the warmer months, I can now explore with the mixing and matching of jeans or leggings, flannels, long-sleeved shirts, jackets, scarves, beanies and headbands. It’s a bit more of a challenge to match things and make sure that the layers make for a cohesive outfit. But hey, who doesn’t love a little challenge?

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