Sig Zane sells aloha shirts whose patterns pay tribute to local culture. // © 2015 Sig Zane
Feature image (above): Floral patterns and bright colors are typical motifs on aloha shirts. // © 2015 Thinkstock
At once comfortable and classy, Hawaii’s aloha shirts are equally appropriate at the beach, in the office or around the dinner table. Some aloha shirts sport floral patterns. Some have graphics inspired by history and culture. Some Hawaiian shirts are brightly colored, while others are subdued and sophisticated. What do they all have in common? They make the perfect souvenir from a Hawaii vacation.
Following are five fail-safe sources of aloha shirts in Hawaii. Buy one for every day of the week, and you’ll fit right into the local landscape.
Bailey’s Antiques and Aloha Shirts
With 15,000 aloha shirts to choose from, Bailey’s Antiques and Aloha Shirts is a good place to start — particularly if you’re not sure which brand you like best. Rack upon colorful rack display new, used, vintage and specialty shirts from the 1930s to the present. There’s a shirt and price here for every shopper, with labels both well-known and hard-to-find.
Look for it on Kapahulu Ave., at the Diamond Head end of Waikiki.
This five-store chain is named after a cheery Hawaiian entertainer who embodied the aloha spirit from the 1930s to the 1960s. When Hilo Hattie first opened its doors in the ‘60s, it sold aloha shirts for as low as $3.95 each. Today’s prices range from $28-$100, and the quality and selection are worth every penny.
Locations include two on Oahu and one each on Maui, Kauai and Hawaii Island.
In 1956, Reyn Spooner had just one sewing machine to work with. The company went on to pioneer the professional aloha shirt, complete with button-down collar. Collaborations with island artists enhanced its line, which now boasts dozens of patterns. It even sells a few long-sleeved shirts that work well in U.S. mainland climates.
It has four stores on Oahu, two on Hawaii Island and one on Kauai.
Oahu native and now a resident of Hawaii Island, artist Sig Zane imbues his aloha-shirt patterns with cultural significance. Images might represent sacred island plants, leaves and flowers, but he also has a graffiti-style design featuring the words to a cherished Hawaiian song. Each shirt represents Zane’s dedication to local values and his desire to share them with others.
His store is based in Hilo on Hawaii Island.
Calling itself a “resort lifestyle company,” this family business dating back to 1956 appeals to lovers of art and travel. Its silk, cotton and linen shirts serve as canvases for a range of classy designs, from island fish and florals to representations of local regattas and the night sky.
With nine locations around the state, it’s a sure bet for finding the perfect aloha shirt in Hawaii.