The 15 Best Hawaiian Shirts That Capture the Aloha Spirit
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Nothing says summer quite like a Hawaiian shirt.
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I’m from Maui, a city where the style, also known as the aloha shirt, is a staple for all occasions year-round—but especially formal ones. When my parents got married in the early ’80s, for example, my mom wore a vintage white gown, while my father donned white pants and, yes, a Hawaiian shirt. They walked each other down the aisle barefoot. Also, the priest threw his robe off and dove into the North Shore immediately after the ceremony. Only in Hawaii, right?
Outside of the islands, the humble Hawaiian shirt calls to mind a host of moods and references. Fervent fashion enthusiasts will remember how it was a fixture on the Paris and Milan runways during the spring 2016 season. Cinephiles will extol the virtues of Leonardo DiCaprio’s silk blue number in Romeo + Juliet or Johnny Depp’s trippy floral topper in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. And let’s not forget about Magnum P.I. fans. Indeed, everyone has their own archetype.
By the strictest definition, the style is a button-down, mostly short-sleeved, with a camp or cuban collar, cast in bright floral or Hawaii-inspired pattern. But many labels have slightly broadened those parameters. Now, they feature abstract graphics, muted colors, or combinations of both. The kinds of materials used also vary. There are artsy options made of rayon twill, kitschy ones made of silk, refined ones made of linen, and more. Essentially, Hawaiian shirts feature the standard silhouette (that’s stayed intact), come in print of some kind, and are ideal for basking in the sun.
There is seriously a wealth of Hawaiian shirts available, and to help find the right one for you, we’ve narrowed down the best of the best—all of them primed for a day at the beach, a jaunt to a pub, or, if you’re anything like my dad, your own wedding.
Best Italian-Inspired Hawaiian Shirt
Tombolo Le Sirenus by Paolo Sandulli Hawaiian Shirt
Sometimes, the best Hawaiian shirt is actually Italian. Case in point: Tombolo’s Le Sirenuse shirt, which takes inspiration from the iconic Positano property. It’s a whimsical, resort-ready offering, just classy enough without taking itself too seriously.
Materials: Rayon twill.
Best OG Hawaiian Shirt
Reyn Spooner Kapa Story Classic-Fit Hawaiian Shirt
Reyn Spooner has been around since the early 1960s and has, in many ways, defined the look and appeal of the aloha shirt. This mid-2000s design is a local favorite, perfect for a laid-back day at the beach or, with the right pair of white jeans or tailored trousers, a more put-together event.
Materials: Cotton and polyester.
Best Punk-Inspired Hawaiian Shirt
Celine Homme Convertible-Collar Printed Voile Shirt
Celine designer Hedi Slimane has always had a taste for rock and punk, integrating classic frontman references into his razor-slim tailoring. His version of the Hawaiian shirt—seen here with a bleached palm dotted landscape—definitely showcases his aesthetic. What’s more, the shirt can easily transition from summer to fall; it can be paired with board shorts or one of the brand’s signature leather jackets.
Best Classic Hawaiian Shirt
Tori Richard Ink Palms Stretch Cotton Button-Up Shirt
Growing up in Hawaii, there were a handful of labels that defined the modern aloha shirt. Tori Richards was—and is—at the top of the list. This cloud pink shirt with a print of feathery palm trees is a classic option, one that’s printed in Japan and finished in Hawaii.
Materials: Cotton and spandex.
Buy Now on Nordstrom Rack: $98
Best Monochromatic Hawaiian Shirt
Officine Générale Eren Floral Print Shirt
An abstract take on the island classic, this cotton poplin version Hawaiian shirt has an air of sophistication pronounced by the black and white colorway. It’s a more understated take on a style synonymous with bold hues, perfect for men who are more restrained with their fashion choices.
Buy Now on Mr Porter:
Best Rock-Inspired Hawaiian Shirt
Aries Red and Black Metal Hawaiian Shirt
With a cherry red thorn print in place of the customary palm trees and hydrangeas, there’s something decidedly subversive about Aries’s metal-inspired Hawaiian shirt. But we expected nothing less from Sofia Prantera, a designer noted for riffing off subcultural references.
Buy Now on Neiman Marcus:
Most Eye-Catching Hawaiian Shirt
Amiri California Short Sleeve Silk Button Up Camp Shirt
Mike Amiri has never been a minimalist. His designs are consistently extra, quintessentially L.A., and not for the camera-shy. This bold silk Hawaiian shirt fits the bill. It’s a statement piece, complete with not-so-subtle references to the Golden State.
Best Lace Hawaiian Shirt
Needles Cabana Lace Shirt
While Japanese designer Keizo Shimizu was originally inspired by a simple jacket worn by Miles Davis, his line, Needles, has grown to encompass a range of Americana-inspired fashion, reworking standard styles and making them fresh. Case in point: A Hawaiian shirt made of place, a piece that easily transitions from day to night.
Materials: Cotton, polyester, and rayon.
Buy Now on Matches Fashion: $227
Best Modernist Hawaiian Shirt
Prada Leaf Print Short Sleeve Shirt
Made of sturdy cotton, this Hawaiian shirt from Prada—with its bold, abstract leaf print—is a decidedly modernist version of standard style, a callback to the late works of Mondrian and Miro.
Most Elegant Hawaiian Shirt
Dries Van Noten Khaki Printed Shirt
Dries Van Noten has always had a brilliant eye for print, colors, and texture—and this elegant take on the Hawaiian shirt is a shining example. It’s a beautifully calm option for anyone wishing to channel the style with quiet restraint.
Best Linen Hawaiian Shirt
Vilebrequin x Kenny Scharf Linen Bowling Shirt
Alongside Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf largely defined pop art in the ’80s, bringing street art into the mainstream blue chip world. This Hawaiian shirt pays homage to his technicolor style–crafted in linen, the most comfortable and breathable material for humid days and boiling nights.
Coolest Hawaiian Shirt
Palm Angels Sunset Silk Bowling Shirt
Here’s an option for when you want to go full Fear and Loathing, veering into camp territory and embracing the Hawaiian shirt’s complete tongue-and-cheek potential. It’s bold, trippy, and categorically cool, the perfect topper for cruising down the Sunset Strip or around the 305.
Buy Now on Saks Fifth Avenue:
Most Polished Hawaiian Shirt
Gucci Forest Night Print Poplin Shirt
An ode to the 1970s, this forest-printed graphic shirt is, arguably, the perfectly executed modern Hawaiian shirt. It stays true to original silhouette and type of print used, but is infinitely more polished than standard options.
Buy Now on Matches Fashion: $1,550
Most Tropical Hawaiian Shirt
Tommy Bahama Perfect Paradise Silk Button-Front Shirt
This list wouldn’t be incomplete without at least one shirt that celebrates tropical landscapes, reflecting images of sun-kissed beaches with lush greenery and florals; for many, the perfect paradise. Now check out the name of this refined silk topper from Tommy Bahama.
Most Laid-Back Hawaiian Shirt
Marine Layer Floral Resort Shirt
En masse, Hawaiian shirts exude ease, a certain kind of chill that no other topper can match. But this option from Marine Layer takes this sentiment to the next level. The colors are effervescent, the print is calming, and, most importantly, the cut is perhaps the best on this list.
Materials: Tencel, lyocell, and linen.
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