Summer Essential: Choosing the Perfect Fabric and Pattern for Hawaiian Shirts

After a brief stint in the noughties, when they were associated with flip flop-and-jeans uncles at barbecues, Hawaiian shirts have reclaimed their status as an essential summer piece. But the key to a successful look is choosing the right fabric and pattern.

Floral prints are perfect for warmer climates, while geometric patterns complement slimmer silhouettes. Look for breathable fabrics like cottons and linens that allow air to circulate around your body.

  1. Tropical Prints

While a tropical print may seem like something only beer-bellied dads wear, there’s more to this laid-back style than meets the eye. It’s a flowery middle finger to the suited-and-booted menswear masses, and a sartorial way of showing off your beach vibes without saying a word.

Traditionally, these shirts feature patterns and motifs that are inspired by Hawaiian or broader Pacific Islander heritage. This includes floral prints, geometrics, quilt patterns, and tapa designs. The color schemes are usually intentionally loud.

For casual occasions, try pairing your tropical shirt with khaki shorts or tailored chinos. You can also opt for a slim-fit pant to create a more modern look. Just remember to avoid accessorizing your shirt with anything that is too formal. It’s important to stick with casual colors and patterns, as this will keep your look from looking too busy.

  1. Latest Hawaiian Shirt Styles

Traditionally, custom hawaiian shirts feature patterns and motifs inspired by Hawaii or Pacific Islander heritage. These themes often incorporate floral motifs, quilt patterns or tapa designs, and are typically bold and colorful. The modern Hawaiian shirt has seen a resurgence in popularity thanks to men’s fashion-forward stars like Harry Styles and Joe Jonas.

The right Hawaiian shirt can help you channel your inner vacation-ready swagger. The key is to choose a print that complements your frame, whether you’re tall and slender or more muscular. Alternatively, consider a muted or neutral color that will add dimension and balance to your outfit.

For an understated take on this summery classic, try a cotton poplin version from Tori Richard, a heritage brand with serious pattern-making pedigree. This cloud pink embroidered number features a tropical palm tree design that’s sure to elevate your wardrobe, while the poplin fabric will give you polished comfort and breathability on hot days. Pair with slim-fit jeans and white sneakers or a blazer and shorts for the ultimate vacation-ready look.

  1. Vintage Hawaiian Shirt Designs

For those who aren’t quite ready to rock a flip flop-and-jeans look, a tailored Hawaiian shirt offers a more refined take on the trend. This blue linen option from Saturdays NYC is a classic choice, featuring feathery palm trees and hibiscus flowers with a relaxed camp (or Cuban) collar and coconut buttons.

Alternatively, this cotton poplin shirt from Dries Van Noten has a more sophisticated vibe. Its navy hue and tailored silhouette work with khaki suits, while its subtle Summer Bloom motif provides a stylish pop without going overboard.

No matter what style you opt for, it’s important to select a shirt that drapes well on your body. Look for a fit that’s not too baggy but also isn’t too snug; it should fall along your natural shoulder line and feel comfortable on the shoulders. Then finish your look with accessories like wooden bracelets or straw hats that complement the tropical print. You can also add a dash of flair with sunglasses or eyeglasses, depending on your look.

  1. Sustainable Fabrics

The right fabric can help a Hawaiian shirt to stand out. Floral patterns can work well for tropical climates, while geometric prints offer a modern twist that can complement slimmer silhouettes. In addition, cotton and rayon are breathable fabrics that can keep you cool throughout the day.

When it comes to caring for a Hawaiian shirt, it’s important to choose a fabric that can withstand frequent wear and washing without losing its shape or vibrant colors. For this reason, cotton blends are a great choice. It’s also essential to avoid putting your Hawaiian shirt in direct sunlight as this can cause the colors to fade.

In addition, choosing a sustainable fabric like rayon can help you to save money on your clothing while protecting the environment at the same time. This is because rayon uses less water during production compared to other fabrics.