How to Identify Vintage Hawaiian Shirts – SSLR

How to Identify Vintage Hawaiian Shirts

by sslr shop on February 15, 2023

Do you enjoy wearing vintage clothing? If so, you are aware of the satisfaction that comes from finding a rare or unusual article of clothing. Nothing compares to the thrill of discovering a priceless relic of the past when it comes to vintage Hawaiian shirts. However, how can you tell if a shirt is actually vintage? This article will discuss some of the distinguishing characteristics of vintage Hawaiian shirts.



One of the most crucial components in determining the vintage status of a Hawaiian shirt is the label. Look for labels like "Made in Hawaii," "Kamehameha," "Paradise Hawaii," and "Kahala," which were used from the 1940s to the 1970s. These labels frequently have the vivid graphics and large lettering found on vintage Hawaiian shirts.

Material Traditionally, cotton, rayon, or a combination of the two were used to make vintage Hawaiian shirts. Avoid shirts made of polyester or other synthetic fabrics and seek out those that are made from these materials. As rayon has a special drape and sheen that are challenging to replicate with contemporary fabrics, it is a particularly popular fabric for vintage Hawaiian shirts.

Vintage Hawaiian shirts are renowned for their vivid prints, which frequently include tropical themes like hibiscus flowers, surfers, and palm trees. Both shirts with larger, all-over prints and shirts with smaller, more intricate prints should be sought after. Bright, vivid colors are preferred, along with sharp, well-defined prints.

Buttons Vintage Hawaiian shirts frequently have distinctive and one-of-a-kind buttons made from organic materials like mother of pearl or coconut shell. Look for shirts with well-maintained, securely fastened buttons. It might be challenging to locate replacements that closely resemble the original design if the buttons are missing or damaged.


Another crucial aspect to take into account when classifying vintage Hawaiian shirts is the collar. Try to find shirts with loop collars, which are pointed collars with buttons. This particular style of collar is a distinguishing element of vintage Hawaiian shirts from the 1940s and 1950s. Shirts with a regular, unbuttoned collar are more likely to be modern reproductions.


Finally, when identifying vintage Hawaiian shirts, it's crucial to take the shirt's condition into account. Look for shirts that are clean and free of significant flaws like tears, holes, or stains. Some signs of wear are to be expected, but the shirt should be in overall good shape. The shirt might not be regarded as vintage if it has been fixed or altered.

When identifying vintage Hawaiian shirts, there are a few other things to take into account in addition to these distinguishing characteristics. For instance, shirts designed for women might be more fitted and have smaller buttons. And psychedelic prints and larger collars may be characteristics of shirts from the 1970s.

It's a good idea to conduct some research and become acquainted with the development of these shirts if you're serious about collecting vintage Hawaiian shirts. You can find out more about vintage Hawaiian shirts, including the various designers, manufacturers, and styles, through a variety of online forums and resources.

It's crucial to avoid replicas and fakes when buying vintage Hawaiian shirts. Some contemporary businesses manufacture Hawaiian shirts that imitate vintage garments but don't have the same details or construction. Before making a purchase, it is best to seek advice from an expert or conduct additional research if you have questions about the authenticity of a shirt.

Another thing to consider is that the cost of vintage Hawaiian shirts can differ significantly depending on the rarity, condition, and designer. Setting a spending limit and doing some research to find the best offers are smart moves. At flea markets, thrift stores, and online shops like eBay and Etsy, you can find vintage Hawaiian shirts.

Once you have a collection of old Hawaiian shirts, you should properly care for them to prolong their lifespan. To protect the fabric and print, avoid washing them in hot water or with harsh detergents. Instead, give them a gentle detergent-cold water wash before hanging them up to dry. To avoid fading, you might also want to think about keeping them in a cool, dry location out of direct sunlight.


In conclusion, recognizing vintage Hawaiian shirts necessitates having a keen eye for detail and a solid grasp of the essential qualities and components that distinguish these distinctive garments. By looking for labels, checking the material, print, buttons, collar, and condition, you can quickly determine whether a shirt is truly vintage or a modern reproduction. And with some time and effort, you can assemble a collection of vintage Hawaiian shirts that will give your wardrobe a dash of retro style.