The tropical shirt has never been bigger or better, because they highlight the beginning of summer and liven up even the darkest and plainest of outfits. But…how do you wear one? To many they can be a scary piece of menswear, all bold with their peacock like properties. But with a few simple rules you can tame the beast and make it bow to your will whatever the occasion.
FOR THE FIRST TIMER
If this is your first foray into the world of Hawaiian inspired shirts and don’t want to overdo it, then opt for a darker colour to begin with that you can easily put together with your everyday black skinny jeans.
But this doesn’t mean you can’t experiment when you do get a bit braver with your shirting though. Just leave the buttons undone and clash it with an animal print tee or vest for maximum Miami vibes, or with a plain white t-shirt for a laidback approach.
A darker coloured Hawaiian shirt is also a strong counter seasonal look, meaning that it will fit into your wardrobe for both summer vacations with shorts and through the winter underneath your trusted leather biker jacket. A serious investment piece for men who like versatility and longevity in their garms.
WITH A SUIT
If you’re bored of the conventional white shirt underneath your suit, or if like me sick of staining it forever via a 2am curry, then we’ve got news for you: you can swap it out for a short sleeve printed shirt in the summer months.
Yes it’s true that a lot of offices won’t accept your Tiki vibes in an important meeting, but swapping your plain shirt for a printed style at the end of the day will stop people in pubs thinking that you’re a corporate robot when it comes to the magical time of Friday pints.
This is also a trend driven alternative for summer weddings too, because the last thing you want to be wearing in high temperatures is a long sleeve shirt and tie. Neck sweat is not a good look for anyone, neither is passing out due to heat exhaustion as you skid on your knees to Mambo Number 5.
“It’s good for the shirt to be slim fitting. It’s got to look clean to offset the casual vibes,” states Justin O’Shea, Director of SSS World Corp and probably one of the most street style famous men for rocking a Hawaiian shirt underneath a suit. “Team it up with nice black boots or shoes. Contrast is cool.”
It all depends on the setting you’re going to be in, as well as your own personal style aesthetic, on whether you want to go bright or dark with your suit. Rooftop cocktail party where you want to pop on Instagram? Go for a statement colour. Exclusive restaurant you had to book 2 years in advance to get a table? Go dark. And don’t worry about clashing here too much, as it’s a juxtaposing look in itself. It’s supposed to look out of place, but work at the same time.
The most likely of outfits you’ll be wearing this summer. These shirts don’t really lend their selves to ultra casual jersey shorts like you’d wear to the gym, but they do pair up perfectly with denim and most chino styles. Our tip: try to keep your shorts in the same colour palette as your shirt. It’s fine to clash with a layered tee or blazer, but conflicting bottoms don’t work.
Not the ones with questionable stains you wear to pop out for a pint of milk in, the ones you could easily wear with a blazer and no one would be none the wiser. Yes, printed shirts work well with tailored tracksuit bottoms, because it’s just an extension of what the Hawaiian shirt is all about: a hybrid of smart and casual. Extra points for incorporating a side stripe (adidas doesn’t count) into your look for a catwalk lux vibe.
WHAT NOT TO WEAR
As important as it is to know what to wear with a Hawaiian shirt, it’s probably more important to know what not to wear with one, because one wrong move with a shirt as bold as these and you could just end up looking a OAP on an all-inclusive cruise waiting for his bingo numbers to be called out.
Flip flops, straw hats, string vests, gap year necklaces. Avoid these cliched holiday staples if you want to pull off a Hawaiian shirt as a proper trend rather than a tourist.