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Three Ways to Pull Off the Hawaiian Look

Hawaiian Shirt

The sun is out, the air is hot and, trendy or not, the shelves are filled with Hawaiian shirts.

Gentlemen, this is a dangerous situation.

It’s not that the Hawaiian shirt is such a bad idea. Pull it off right, and you’ll be carrying around a beach-drink-flavored halo all day. But pulling it off right is so tricky, and if you don’t do it perfectly, you’ll be stuck in a purgatory of itchy polyester and substandard episodes of Magnum, P.I.

The way we see it, you’ve got three options, any one of which should keep you in good sartorial standing. Let us count the ways...

The three ways to pull off Hawaiian prints:

Aloha Bow Tie

Go SmallLike most loud prints, a little goes a long way. So if you can manage to confine your Hawaiian spirit to a sweatshirt lining or a bow tie, you’ll be in safe territory. Of course, that may not be enough print to sate your island appetites, in which case...

Muted Colors

Tone It DownThe main gripe with aloha prints is the blaring loudness of it all. But if you restrict yourself to a more muted color scheme, you’ll be able to go as big as you want without waking up the neighbors. (We suggest this one or this one or either of these.) This was the trick Clooney relied on for most of The Descendants, and it worked just fine.


Make It YoursBut maybe you like the loudness. Maybe you want to peacock your way across the beach, and you need a print that’s loud enough to let everyone know how hip you are. In that case, we’d ditch the shirt entirely, and splash the infamous pattern onto a pair of pants or a parka. It’s loud, but it’s far enough ahead of the curve that everyone will know exactly why you’re rocking it.

Enjoy the beach.