How To Live a Tropical Dream

During confinement, Harper dreamt of tropical islands… so much!

I was resting under a coconut tree watching the turquoise ocean while a warm sea breeze flowed through my hair. I was enjoying a Riki Tiki cocktail while ukulele played in the background. A lush garden surrounded my fare and l could even smell the tiare and frangipani flowers’ fragrance…. 

Makapuu Beach, Oahu, Hawaii – USA

Didn’t that feel great? I enjoyed every minute of it…

But back to reality, how can I make my tropical dream come true when it may still be some time before we can board an aircraft for the South seas? 

That is actually quite easy… I need a Hawaiian shirt aka the Aloha Shirt. 

Because the South seas have always meant and still mean Hawaii to me. Why? There may be a bit of Tom Selleck behind it. Also, the names of the islands sound heavenly: Kauai, Molokai, Niihau, Kahoolawe, Maui…. And I must admit I love colourful graphics.

I reckon this desire will certainly seem cheesy and tacky to some of you. But when you dive into the Aloha shirt history, my longing for this garment right now does not seem that serendipitous. 

Mainland Americans have always viewed Hawaii as a place of paradise, soothing their minds. During the first World War, Hawaii music was really cool and trendy. Then during great depression, Americans once again turned towards the islands to relieve their burden and choose another piece of Hawaii culture: The Aloha shirt.

Its origins are rather blurry. 

Some say the first shirts appeared in the 20s/30s when local Japanese women used their kimono fabrics to make men’s shirts.

Some others say during the early Depression, a Honolulu shirt maker named Ellery Chun made shirts out of extra Japanese yukata cloth he had stock on. He sold the first shirts, in bold tropical prints, out of his father’s store, King-Smith Clothiers and Dry Goods in Waikiki for one dollar.

Anyway, these shirts met a huge success with tourists. 

So, when depression hit the continent and when a lot of men found themselves jobless, curiously they chose to wear this product even if it did look very feminine. How unpredictable men can be…

Not that much, as a matter of fact. The men wearing these shirts back in Hawaii were wealthy and famous. In time of crisis, the best way to keep the spirit high is definitely to adopt the manners of the successful ones. Here comes Marketing…

Elvis Presley – Frank Sinatra – Montgomery Clift – Duke Kahanamoku

Finally, to cut a long story short, after the second World War, service members came back to the continent wearing these shirts, making them more fashionable than ever…

So, in these difficult times of health crisis and consequently economical struggle, why not bring a hint of paradise and colourful spirit into your daily life wearing an Aloha Shirt? 

Because if you mix it with the right bottom (denim, shorts, sleek pants or even skirts), use a men’s fit and wear it tucked in, you’ll look awesome and feel in high spirit! 

Here is a selection of classified styles. Give me your insight to help me choose my next Aloha shirt. Enjoy and have fun.

RJC Kalaheo
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Credits: https://www.smithsonianmag.comhttps://www.racked.comhttps://www.alohashirtshop.com

Read more:  The Aloha Shirt: Spirit of the Islands by Dale Hope