The Best Modern Hawaiian Shirts to Rock This Summer

best men's Hawaiian shirts
Courtesy H&M
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Hawaiian shirts are no longer reserved for embarrassing dads on vacation. Stylish dudes are now metaphorically (or literally) raiding their old man’s wardrobe, stealing these summer shirts for themselves. If you’re looking to upgrade your warm-weather look with a great Hawaiian shirt, we’ve got you covered. In this article we’ll cover the following:

  • What are Hawaiian shirts?
  • How to wear a Hawaiian shirt
  • The best Hawaiian shirts to buy right now

What Are Hawaiian Shirts?

The loose definition of a Hawaiian shirt (sometimes called vacation shirt or resort shirt) is a short-sleeve button-up with a colorful print and a camp collar (meaning the collar folds down to lay flat on the chest). Obviously, this criterion is interpreted quite loosely by fashion labels; especially the print. But the core idea of Hawaiian shirts always remains the same: a super comfortable button-up that can be worn while lounging by the pool or drinking at the bar.

Hawaiian shirts, originally called aloha shirts, most likely originated from Honolulu-based dry goods store Musa-Shiya the Shirtmaker in the 1920s. “Aloha shirt” wasn’t coined until 1936 when Hawaiian shirts started to take root. US troops started wearing the shirts while stationed in Hawaii during WWII and subsequently brought them home, introducing mainlanders to the ultra-comfy button-ups.

Although Hawaiian shirts are now back in style, they’ve undergone some changes to fit modern tastes. Hawaiian shirts used to be long and flowy, verging on dress-like cuts. Not any more. Most modern brands that offer Hawaiian shirts have altered the classic in a few ways.

First, the fit of a modern Hawaiian shirt is slimmer and more cropped than its older iterations. Second, brands are now more experimental with prints than they used to be. You’ll find some Hawaiian shirts with minimal black-and-white prints, others with nods to recent pop-culture and some with designs that look more like modern art than a Hawaiian flower print.

How to Wear a Hawaiian Shirt

The second best thing about Hawaiian shirts (after comfort) is versatility. You can rock them with everything from swim trunks at the beach to jeans on the weekend to a suit at a party. The only loose rule that we follow is pairing Hawaiian shirts with low-key pieces. Vacation shirt prints are typically quite maximal, so something minimal will balance the outfit. Think, slim fit blue jeans and white sneakers, or black slacks and a leather jacket. And if you’re itching to wear your Hawaiian shirt when the temperature dips, a white tee under the shirt looks great too.

The Best Hawaiian Shirts

To help elevate your spring-summer wardrobe, we’ve rounded up some of the best Hawaiian shirts for men. We’ve sifted through several websites to come up with these picks, selecting a variety of shirts with different prints and price tags.

  

1. H&M Patterned Resort Shirt

BEST OVERALL

This resort shirt ticks all the boxes of a great Hawaiian shirt and costs less than $20. The shirt comes in five great patterns, ranging from bold to classic to minimal. We especially like this bold floral print (with hidden leopards) on a yellow background. The fit is regular (not too loose, not too tight) and the shirt has all the right details including a camp collar. The price is low, and that’s much appreciated with vacation shirts. You’ll probably be traveling, sweating, eating and drinking in this shirt, so it’s nice not to worry about soiling something expensive.

Floral hawaiian shirt H&M Courtesy H&M

  

2. H&M Regular Fit Cotton Shirt

BEST LOW-KEY

Hawaiian shirts are traditionally loud and island-inspired. That’s great, but many guys are now opting for a more minimal look. This shirt (also from H&M) offers a more low-key vacation shirt. The shirt features a turn-down collar, a chest pocket, a rounded hem and a regular (yet slightly tailored) fit. The minimal look works better if you intend to wear your Hawaiian shirts in more formal settings, or just lean towards a more sleek style.

floral button up H&M Courtesy H&M

  

3. Nike SB Paradise Shirt

BEST FOR SWEAT

Vacation shirts are worn in summer. That means sweat. This Paradise shirt from Nike SB takes care of that with Nike’s breathable Dri-Fit technology. On top of that, you get a stylishly minimal floral print and a unique quarter-zip design. This makes the shirt slightly more casual. It’s a great option for long travel days, weekends or even casual office outfits.

nike floral shirt zip Courtesy END.

  

4. NN07 Paris Floral Vacation Shirt

BEST DRESSY

This vacation shirt from NN07 is on the classier side of things. It features a white floral print on a black background with white piping and a camp collar. The fabric is noteworthy as well with a breathable linen blend. We recommend wearing this NN07 shirt as a statement-maker with slacks, a jacket and loafers for weddings or dressy parties.

floral beach shirt men's Courtesy END.

  

5. Amazon Essentials Short-Sleeve Print Shirt

BEST BUDGET

If you’re on a tight budget this summer, you can still score a great Hawaiian shirt. This print shirt comes from Amazon Basics, offering more style than you’d expect from the retail giant’s affordable essentials collection. You get four print options, and at just under $17, we’re tempted to pick up a few.

blue hawaiian shirt men's Courtesy Amazon

  

6. Faherty Kona Camp-Collar Shirt

BEST CLASSIC

Looking for a classic Hawaiian shirt? Check out this Kona shirt from Faherty. It does the iconic men’s piece justice with a distinct islander print, replete with surf cabins, white sand beaches, ocean and palm trees. This design is inspired by an actual beach on the northwest side of Maui called Kapalua Bay. And to top it off? Buttons made from coconut. Although the look is classic, the wearability is modern with a breathable rayon material. The shirt can be worn in any casual setting but is most at home on the beach or by the pool.

Hawaiian Shirt men's classic Courtesy Mr. Porter

  

7. Paul Smith Heat Map Vacation Shirt

BEST MODERN

Hawaiian shirts with a more modern print are great statement-making pieces for nights out or next-level weekend wear. We like this heat map floral shirt from Paul Smith because it takes the most iconic print (floral) and tweaks it slightly for a definitively up-to-date look. It’s made of 100% lyocell — a form of rayon that offers a relaxed yet flattering fit. Wear it casually with sneakers and khaki shorts, or dress it up with black slacks and a leather jacket.

blue floral shirt men's designer Courtesy END.

  

8. Off-White Printed Silk-Twill Shirt

BEST SPLURGE

Off-White is currently one of the coolest brands around. If you can afford it, this vacation shirt from the Virgil Abloh-helmed brand is a worthy purchase. It keeps the vacation shirt’s island persona alive but updates it with an out-there underwater print that only Off-White can pull off. It’s made of a silk-twill fabric that’s as luxurious looking as it is comfortable. This one might not be ideal for getting sandy at the beach, but it’s great for summer nights out — whether you’re at a beach bar or big city club.

blue button up shirt off-white Courtesy Mr. Porter

  

9. Kenny Flowers The American Boy

BEST FOR PATRIOTS

Looking for just the right shirt to rep America to the fullest? Well, Kenny Flowers has you covered with their patriotic take on the Hawaiian shirt, The American Boy. Featuring all-over print grills, hats, flags and red, white and blue designs, this shirt will show you take the festivities seriously. It will also keep you cool and comfortable, thanks to its 100% rayon build. What we especially love about this shirt is that while it does rep the USA, it’s not so overbearing that you couldn’t wear it any other day of the summer.

best hawaiian shirt for men Courtesy of Kenny Flowers

  

10. Hawaiian Force He’e Octopus Aloha Shirt

BEST BLEND OF OLD AND NEW

Based in Hilo, Hawaii, native artist Craig Neff and his wife Launa’s mission is to create designs that highlight its people’s history and mythology. This shirt is one of the best Hawaiian shirts as this stylized octopus print pays homage to an ancient Hawaiian god, Kanaloa, a healer and magic teacher.

blue abstract octopus print hawaiian shirt hawaiian force Hawaiian Force

  

11. Wooyoungmi Palm Tree Silhouette Dégradé Shirt

BEST RETRO

Designer Youngmi Woo’s boxy Hawaiian shirt is cross between the fab 50s and something from Vince Vaughn’s wardrobe from Swingers. Exuding vacay vibes, this is one of the best Hawaiian shirts for a Mai Tai or any throwback cocktail.

wooyoungmi palm tree silhouette hawaiian shirt Far Fetch

  

12. Reyn Spooner Deep Sea Jive Hawaiian Shirt

BEST FOR SEA LOVERS

When you think of Hawaii, you think of crystal blue waters, surfing, fishing and fun. The best Hawaiian shirts, like this one, make you immediately think of the Palm tree strewn state and its incredible beaches.

reyn spooner deep sea jive ocean themed hawaiian shirt Reyn Spooner

  

13. Ky’s Flamingo Fever Green Cotton Hawaiian Shirt

BEST FUN

Some say the best Hawaiian shirt can only be found in Hawaii. Thank goodness for online shopping! Honolulu-based Ky’s Hawaiian shirts create fun, authentic Hawaiian shirts with a touch of humor. Fabulous flamingos cavort all over this green cotton-poplin top. It also comes in six other colors too.

kys green flamingo print hawaiian shirt Ky's Hawaiian Shirt

  

14. J.Crew Short Sleeve Linen Shirt in Tropical Forest Multi

BEST TO KEEP AND LOOK COOL

Easy, breezy linen keeps you cool on scorching days and nights, and when you mix it with a Hawaiian tropical print, you’ve got one of the best Hawaiian shirts that could easily be your summer go-to for everything from work to play. This button-down shirt has two patch pockets and has a slim-ish cut.

J. Crew floral print hawaiian shirt J. Crew

  

15. Iolani Matsonia Modern Fit Aloha Shirt

BEST SOUVENIR SHIRT

Highlighting another Hawaiian brand, Iolani’s Hawaiian AKA Aloha shirts incorporate a modern fit, so it’s a tad less boxy than the traditional Hawaiian shirt. It sports a souvenir-themed print of steamers and palm trees and has one breast pocket. Made from rayon, it’s easy to care for, just wash in cold water.

Iolani Matsonia Modern Fit Aloha Shirt in pink Iolani

    

16. Pagong Kyoto Chrysanthemum and Wave Aloha Shirt

BEST FRESH TAKE

Kazuaki Kameda, fourth generation of the founding company Kamedatomi Co., LTD, discovered that the original Aloha (Hawaiian) shirt was made with kimono fabric. As a member of a family and company that’s been dying kimonos since 1919, he created an offshoot of the Kamedatomi company and called it Pagong. This shirt harkens back to the original Hawaiian shirts with its traditional Japanese print, but it has a modern cut and has coconut buttons for additional flair.

pagong chrysanthemum and wave print hawaiian shirt Pagong

 

  

17. Two Palms Julia Black Rayon Men’s Hawaiian Shirt

BEST FLORAL

Plumeria flowers bloom against the background in this Hawaiian Shirt from Two Palms. Made from Rayon (toss in the washer and go), the shirt features coconut buttons and a relaxed fit.

Two palms julia black rayon plumeria flower hawaiian shirt Aloha Outlet

  

18. Pacific Legend Orchid Blue Hawaiian Shirt

BEST CELEBRITY LOOKALIKE

Could this be one of the best Hawaiian shirt ever made? Possibly! It looks really similar to the one that Bruce “The Chin” Campbell’s action figure is wearing. Made of comfortable, breathable cotton, this Hawaiian shirt has the classic boxy silhouette, a notched collar, coconut buttons and one pocket.

pacific legend blue orchid cotton hawaiian shirt Aloha Outlet

  

19. Old Navy Hawaiian Short Sleeve Shirt

BEST STEAL

Oh, we love Old Navy for so many reasons. They’re always on-trend, make durable goods and price their clothing well. This is one of the best Hawaiian shirts around as the style is easy to dress up or down and the price takes it easy on your wallet.

old navy floral print hawaiian print shirt Old Navy

  

20. Hilo Hattie Tribal Monstera Aloha Shirt

BEST TONAL FLAIR

Hilo Hattie’s a venerable Hawaiian brand; their vintage stuff is hard to find, incredibly made and pricey. What a relief to find one of the best Hawaiian shirts from one of the best Hawaiian clothing companies that’s priced well and looks pretty amazing. This tonal print cotton shirt has one pocket and comes in two other shades as well.

Hilo Hattie tonal tribal print hawaiian shirt Hilo Hattie

  

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