And since then, it would seem that menswear has begun to really embrace the tropical-friendly shirt usually relegated to cruise ships and Nick Nolte mug shots. In fact, a few of our favorite labels have been turning out some pretty handsome stuff recently.
Fact: it takes quite the set of cojones to pull off wearing a Hawaiian shirt.
Also fact: most men don’t have ’em.
That being said, there are some real pros out there who do. And right now, we’d like to honor these brave souls who’ve unwaveringly taken up the charge. Through painstaking research—no scene left unexamined, no paparazzi shot ignored—we’ve uncovered the best and boldest examples of tropical-print artistry. A testament to confidence, these men are standards to aspire to. (At least when it comes to visually making a statement.)
With Memorial Day and the summer months inching ever closer, it’s time to start thinking about short sleeves again.
But before you resort to the same old drab linen tones, we’d like to invite you to take a risk with us. Grow a pair. Be bold. And wear a short-sleeve printed shirt.
If you think these lightweight wonders are reserved only for Caribbean tourists and your father-in-law, let us present you with two handsome options, from Gitman Vintage and Matt Singer, respectively. We promise you’ll be turning a few heads for all the right reasons.
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...
Kate Upton had her Esquire cover debut (sort of), Tebowmania got its close-up, and Details... continued to be Details. In short, a lot of madness. We’ve pieced through it all below, article by article and suit by suit, and come away with this, an unusually pithy executive summary.
It’s more 2011 than 1986 (that’s the first button-down collar we’ve seen on a Hawaiian shirt, for instance), but the important beach-ready touches are still the same. We’re talking about the light fabric and the high side vents—the details that make it fit for 90-degree days. The biggest shock is that you’ll have to deal with long sleeves…but by our lights they look better rolled up anyway.
“Icon” is usually used to talk about 60s movie stars or dead painters, but this time around, we’re going with someone a little closer to home. Ladies and Gentlemen, Magnum P.I. himself: Mr. Tom Selleck.
Globe Trotter’s new Surf Rider collection corrects the oversight with the strategic use of Hawaiian shirts, possibly the most whimsical item in the menswear canon. The cases are lined with an earth-toned Hawaiian print that could have been lifted straight from Don Ho's closet.
As for what you’ll put inside…a little bit of whimsy goes a long way.