To the uninitiated, most shirts are pretty much the same… Short sleeves, button-up front and a loud pattern. The only perceived difference is the color.
To the Hawaiian shirt connoisseurs, this is blasphemy. There are so many elements to a great shirt. A complex mix of precise components that all compliment each other in perfect balance.
1) Made in Hawaii… There shall be no further discussion of this. Shirts from Bangladesh, Kenya and China are frauds. These cheap impersonators, found at the big box stores, can be spotted across a crowded room. Please, trust me on this, DON’T be that guy (or gal).
Made in Kenya...Don't be that guy
2) Front pocket… MUST perfectly match the shirt pattern. The elements of the design (flowers, columns, etc) must be continuous across the chest pocket. If you aren’t looking for the pocket, you aren’t going to see it.
Pocket made from scraps... Don't be this guy
3) Buttons… Some of you are thinking I must be crazy. Who cares about buttons? Most Hawaiian shirts made in Hawaii use coconut shell for buttons. I love knowing that I’m wearing them. The reason my favorite shirt is my favorite is simple… The buttons are coconut shell. It is a really cool, early 80s RJC, but if the buttons were plastic it wouldn’t be my favorite.
4) The pattern… The shirt wearer must decide what looks best on him or her. I’m partial to Hibiscus and Traditional Columns. I like flowers and column artwork to be white, while the shirt background is a strong base color (blue, red, green). My wife likes more subtle patterns. Her favorite is a light orange with fauna. I have a close friend whose wife always tells me, the louder the shirt the better. We call this Kuby’s rule.
5). Material … This is another element that the wearer must decide… Cotton, cotton blend, rayon and silk. Did I miss any? Does anyone know of a wool Hawaiian shirt? I sure hope not. I know guys that swear by cotton blends and others that will only wear silk. Being a warm weather shirt, it must be lightweight.
All the elements of a great shirt ... Be this guy!
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