Border Collie Professional Beer Taster Hawaiian Shirt
A decade later, a young Hawaiian store-owner called Ellery J. Chun spotted their mass-market potential and trademarked his version as the ‘Aloha shirt’. It blossomed into a must-have souvenir, then a mainland essential, after they appeared on the backs of A-list heartthrobs like Elvis Presley and Montgomery Clift in the 1950s.
As with any up, next came the down, as big box stores began producing cheap knock-offs that only a wacky uncle could love. But now the shirt is back, and designers have focused on making new versions of the shirt that are more Blue Hawaii, less Wayne Knight in Jurassic Park. That said, they’re still not a failsafe and nailing the look requires some thought. Embrace the camp collar. “Attitude is a key part of pulling this shirt off,” says our stylist, Alice Watt. “You don’t want a silhouette that buttons all the way up to the top – it conveys the wrong, stuffy message. A camp collar captures the same laid-back spirit and retro sensibility that makes the Hawaiian shirt so enticing.”
Style it with other busy pieces. This will only overwhelm your outfit and draw attention away from your shirt. “The key is keeping the rest of your outfit simple – preferably colour-free and certainly print-free,” Alice says. Smart styles to pair with yours instead? A simple white tee, a pair of jeans or chinos, and some simple white kicks or boots.
Know your brands. As we mentioned, there’s a lot of scratchy polyester out there, so it’s best to stick to brands who capture the authentic spirit of the shirt, while making it look fresh and new. “Percival and Reiss are two of my go-tos for great prints – they’re bold but not too gaudy,” Alice says. “The colours can be bright but in the right way; they don’t scream for attention.”
Opt for a rigid fabric. “The more stiff the fabric, the more stuffy and forced the outfit will look,” Alice says. “It needs to ooze a nonchalant, care-free attitude, and choosing a looser fabric is the first way to master this.” Lightweight cotton, viscose, and linen blends are all great options, and as a bonus, they’ll keep you cool in Hawaii-style weather.