What does a Hawaiian shirt look like?
It’s a trick. So many different colors, patterns, designs and styles are available, it’s an impossible question to answer. Red with green leaves and yellow birds. Purple with palm trees. Light blue and covered with a dozen types of ocean plants and fish. The options are endless.
With all the possibilities, it’s easy to forget all the choices for how to wear a Hawaiian shirt – the same shirt.
Tucked or untucked
Hawaiian shirts are usually worn casually, which means untucked and hanging loosely. This always works with a pair of shorts or a pair of jeans, and sometimes it will even work with dressier pants.
Remember that shorts and pants should be a solid color as a contrast to the splashiness of the shirt. Something plain and neutral such as khakis are a good choice for pants.
Tucked is a less-common look that still works with the right shirt and outfit. Some Hawaiian shirts look like one big picture that’s meant to be viewed in whole. If you tuck it, people will only see the sky and the seagulls, and not the lovely beach scene on the bottom.
When you tuck, a belt with a tropical-inspired buckle such as a flower shape adds a nice touch. An undershirt is optional.
Buttoned or unbuttoned
Many people are in the habit of fastening every button on their shirt except for the top one or two, and that’s fine, but a Hawaiian shirt is an invitation to spread out a little.
If you are man with a lot of confidence, you can try the Tom Selleck Magnum P.I. look, with a couple of extra buttons undone. It’s a tough look to pull off, but if you are at the beach you can unbutton it entirely.
If you are a woman, you may experiment with any number of buttons done or undone, depending on what you’re wearing underneath. One online fashion blog shows a woman with the middle two buttons done, with a few on the top and bottom undone to show off another shirt underneath.
T-shirt or no T-shirt
Part of your decision about which buttons to fasten is what you are wearing underneath. An undershirt doesn’t have to be white. Try one that matches one of the colors of your Hawaiian shirt, especially the dominant color.
A shirt underneath turns a completely unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt into a light jacket.
Shorts, jeans, trousers, sweaters or skirts
Being versatile for both men and women, Hawaiian shirts can be worn with shorts, jeans, trousers or a skirt (it doesn’t even have to be a grass skirt).
You might have an image of a Hawaiian shirt worn with shorts, a straw hat and either no shoes or flip-flops. However, a more subdued print and muted color and can be paired with dress pants to meet some definitions of business casual wear for the office. If that’s too daring, wear the shirt under a sweater with dress pants to show just a hint of fun.
Your dad probably never wore a Hawaiian shirt with a suit, but times have changed.
Replace the dress shirt in a three-piece suit combo with a Hawaiian shirt or wear your Hawaiian shirt with a blazer and a pair of chinos. With just that shirt, you can transform yourself from a non-descript accountant or insurance salesman into Johnny Depp or Jimmy Buffett and transport yourself from Minneapolis to Margaritaville and back again.