On the North American mainland, aloha shirts are emblematic of laid-back life in the tropics (not to mention weekend wear for kahuna wannabes). But on islands such as Maui and Oahu, the exuberantly patterned button-ups are akin to Bermuda shorts in Bermuda: wardrobe staples for professional men. Taking this season’s designer iterations as its jumping-off point, Globe Style Advisor put together five looks better suited to the city than the surf shack. Call them next-wave urban attire
A DARKER SIDE
Originally called aloha shirts, the bold button-ups synonymous with the Hawaiian Islands are characterized by their oversized floral and leaf prints in eye-catching hues. One of the most popular purveyors of the style is Tommy Bahama, which stocks a lineup of camp shirts – short-sleeved oxfords with convertible collars – in subtle tone-on-tone motifs as well as oversized blooms. For the colour-averse, Saint Laurent offers a similar style in elegant black and white. Saint Laurent shirt, $ 845 through www.mrporter.com. Borsalino hat, $ 395 at Harry Rosen (www.harryrosen.com). Watch, $ 1,250 at Victorinox (www.swissarmy.com).
The Hawaiian shirt’s most macho pop-culture moment came in the 1980s, when a florals-sporting Tom Selleck piloted his Ferrari around Honolulu through eight seasons of Magnum, P. I. In a 1997 episode of The Simpsons, Homer claimed that “ only two kinds of guys … wear Hawaiian shirts: gay guys and big fat party animals.” George Clooney proved that theory wrong when he dapperly donned a blue version in 2011’ s The Descendants. More recently, designers have been busily updating the prints for younger customers, using them on tank tops and tees. 3.1 Phillip Lim shirt, $ 310, Engineered Garments hat, $ 135 at Nomad (www.nomadshop.net). Saint Laurent sunglasses, $ 375 at Spectacle (www.spectaclelovesyou.com).
Pulling off such an intense piece of clothing demands an understated approach to accessories that nonetheless nods to the print. Matching a hat to the turquoise tones of stems and fronds and wearing sunglasses with frames that pick up on the pigment of the petals are a couple of tricks to try. Neutrals such as army green and classic khaki can help ground the look. A watch in a sportier style counteracts the print’s fashion-forward feel. Ami Paris T-shirt, $ 160 at Jonathan and Olivia (www.jonathanandolivia.com). Velour shorts, $ 165, Norse Projects cap, $ 90, Porter bag, $ 425 at Uncle Otis (www.uncleotis.com).Watch, $ 795 at Victorinox (www.swissarmy.com). Philip Sparks and Opticianado sunglasses (hanging from bag), $ 295 at Philip Sparks Tailored Goods Inc. (www.philipsparks.com).
If you enjoy not wearing a suit to the office on so-called casual Fridays, you have the Hawaiian shirt to thank: In 1966, the president of a bank on Maui began wearing one to work and it slowly became common practice on the islands and beyond. Today, many Hawaiian businessmen wear tailored versions – though perhaps not the neck-to-knee look shown here – every day. Reyn Spooner, a brand that started in a stand frequented by surfers in Waikiki, is a popular local label. Gitman Bros. shirt and shorts, $ 210 each, Engineered Garments belt, $ 245 at Nomad (www.nomadshop.net). Goorin Bros. hat, $ 80 at Harry Rosen (www.harryrosen.com). Céline sunglasses, $ 455 at Spectacle (www.spectaclelovesyou.com). Uniform Wares watch, $ 480 at Uncle Otis (www.uncleotis.com).
Shirts aren’t the only pieces sprouting lush botanicals this season. Junya Watanabe has created a tailored knapsack covered in bunches of blooms, while the bomber jackets at Kolor feature a field of muted petals against a black background. Scotch and Soda’s over-the-top blazer (pictured at right) is perhaps the season’s boldest take on the trend. Maximalists will wear it with a floral shirt in a less extravagant palette; it can look somewhat more subtle over a basic blue oxford. Scotch & Soda jacket, $ 275 at Hudson’s Bay (www.thebay.com). Vilebrequin shirt, $ 225, Burberry tie, $ 235 at Harry Rosen (www.harryrosen.com). Prada briefcase, $ 1,850 at Holt Renfrew (www.holtrenfrew.com).
Styling by Alon Freeman/Judy Inc. (www.judyinc.com). Styling assistance by Brianne Jones. Set design by Jennifer East. Grooming by Claudine Baltazar for TRESemmé Hair Care/M.A.C Cosmetics/Plutino Group (www.plutinogroup.com).