Hawaiian Shirts: History, Styles, and Features – SSLR

Hawaiian Shirts: History, Styles, and Features

by sslr shop on February 16, 2023

Hawaiian shirts are one of the most iconic and recognizable clothing items in the world, with their bright colors, bold prints, and tropical designs. These shirts have a long and fascinating history, and continue to be a popular fashion choice for both men and women. In this article, we'll explore what is considered a Hawaiian shirt, including its history, styles, and features.


What is a Hawaiian Shirt?

A Hawaiian shirt is a type of button-up shirt that features a colorful, often tropical-themed print. The shirt is typically made from a lightweight, breathable material such as cotton or rayon, and is designed to be worn in warm weather. The most common features of a Hawaiian shirt include a button-up front, short sleeves, and a collared neckline.

Hawaiian shirts are often associated with beach culture and laid-back, relaxed vibes. They are typically worn untucked and open, although they can also be tied at the waist for a more fitted look.


History of Hawaiian Shirts

The origins of the Hawaiian shirt can be traced back to the early 1900s, when Honolulu-based clothing manufacturer Ellery Chun began producing Aloha shirts, a precursor to the modern Hawaiian shirt. These shirts were made from Japanese kimono fabrics and featured bright, bold prints that were inspired by Hawaiian culture and nature.

In the 1930s, Hawaiian shirts began to gain popularity among tourists who were drawn to Hawaii's tropical climate and relaxed lifestyle. The shirts became a symbol of island culture and were embraced by locals and tourists alike.

During World War II, Hawaiian shirts became even more popular, as American soldiers stationed in Hawaii would bring the shirts back to the mainland as souvenirs. The shirts became a symbol of the exotic and carefree lifestyle of the Hawaiian islands.


Styles of Hawaiian Shirts

Hawaiian shirts come in a wide variety of styles, from traditional to modern. Some of the most common styles of Hawaiian shirts include:

Classic: These are the original style of Hawaiian shirts, featuring bold, tropical prints and a relaxed fit. They often have a button-up front, short sleeves, and a collared neckline.

Modern: Modern Hawaiian shirts may feature a more streamlined fit or updated prints, but still maintain the laid-back, beachy vibe of the classic style.

Vintage: Vintage Hawaiian shirts are highly sought after by collectors, and often feature prints and designs from the 1950s and 60s.

Designer: Many high-end fashion designers have incorporated Hawaiian prints into their collections, creating more fashion-forward takes on the classic Hawaiian shirt.


Features of a Hawaiian Shirt

There are several key features that define a Hawaiian shirt and set it apart from other types of button-up shirts. Some of the most common features of a Hawaiian shirt include:

Colorful Prints: Hawaiian shirts are known for their bright, bold prints that often feature tropical plants, flowers, or scenes from island life.

Lightweight Material: Hawaiian shirts are typically made from lightweight, breathable materials such as cotton or rayon, which are perfect for warm weather.

Button-Up Front: Hawaiian shirts usually have a button-up front, which can be left open or buttoned up for a more polished look.

Short Sleeves: Hawaiian shirts typically have short sleeves, which make them perfect for warmer weather.

Collared Neckline: Hawaiian shirts often have a collared neckline, which gives them a more formal look than a t-shirt.



Hawaiian shirts are a timeless fashion staple that have been around for over a century. Their bright, bold prints and relaxed vibe make them perfect for warm weather and casual occasions. Whether you prefer the classic, vintage, or modern style, there is a Hawaiian shirt out there for everyone. By understanding the history and features of Hawaiian shirts, you can choose the perfect one to fit your personal style and needs. So next time you're in the market for a new shirt, consider adding a Hawaiian shirt to your wardrobe. It's a fun and stylish way to express your personality and embrace the laid-back island lifestyle.