We have a serious problem, folks. A problem with… Hawaiian shirts! I know… how can there possibly be a problem with aloha-wear? The whole point of tropical pattern shirts is to live the no problem life. This is factual. But as the whole tropical/Tiki lifestyle becomes more popular once again, corporations do what they do: Screw things up for everyone through ignorance, avarice, or laziness. (Usually all three.)
Aloha shirts (for men at least) have specific look, buried under all that incredible variety of pattern, that is designed to deliver the required comfort and insouciant air that you look for in such garments. They are loosely constructed of woven fabric, button all the way down, and have an open, unconfining collar. The construction design style is called the Camp Shirt.
This is unfair of course. I’m sure this professional model was happy to pop on whatever shirt he was paid to wear. He didn’t choose to wear it.
Sure, but I am going to go ahead and hold that hairstyle against him….
Look, the real problem here is this whole idea of aloha print Polo-style shirts. There is nothing wrong with pullovers. I wear them all the time. The problem is companies thinking you can make an Hawaiian shirt with this construction style. Remember my comment about modern businesses screwing things up through ignorance, avarice, or laziness? This trend hits all three.
Ignorance: Clothing exec reads a trade article in Vogue that says Aloha is back in a big way. Exec asks himself, “What’s Aloha?”, does a Google Search, and exclaims, “Oh, it’s Hawaiian prints!” He then asks Marjorie to have the plant run off five floral prints in their basic knit….
Avarice: Marjorie tells her boss that she always remembers Magnum wearing camp shirt styles. He replies that knit pullovers use a lot less fabric than woven camp shirts, and he’d rather make an extra buck-seventy five per unit sold.
Laziness: Exec goes home and mentions the new Hawaiian Polo to his wife. She starts to go on about Magnum as well. Exec considers dimly that all the women around him seem damned impressed with young Tom Selleck. He decides to call the plant manager and ask about camp shirts. The manager notes that it is a lot of work to match those complex parrot and surfboard pictures across a two piece shirt front, and he’d rather not bother. Exec agrees, and we get the monstrosity above.
Listen to the women, Mr. Executive.
The chest hair is optional. The comfy, casual camp wear construction is not. Ideally, you match the pattern. In practice, you get it moderately close. Half the time, your customers will wear it over a t-shirt and not even button it at all.