Have you seen the guy or girl who wears a Hawaiian shirt to the office every Friday? Have you been that person? It may seem new to some people, but the tradition of wearing wild Hawaiian shirts and Hawaiian dresses to the office actually began just after World War II. What began as a way to beat the heat on the island has become an increasingly accepted form of business apparel. At more and more companies on more and more days, it's A-okay to dress in something Hawaiian for work.
The Origins of Aloha Friday Shirts
Hawaiian shirts, or Aloha shirts as they are called in Hawaii, have been a part of the islands' culture since they were invented back in the 1930s. All-over print Hawaiian shirts, panel Hawaiian shirts and other styles were immediately popular among residents and tourists alike for their comfort and bright colors. Because of Hawaii's warm weather and casual lifestyle, the formal business suit is not used as day-to-day business attire as it is on the mainland. In 1947, on the heels of a study conducted the previous year, the city of Honolulu began encouraging people to wear Hawaiian shirts to work from June through October to beat the summer heat.
Since then, aloha wear as work attire has grown from summer wear to Friday wear to everyday wear. The Hawaiian Fashion Guild began promoting Aloha shirts as acceptable business attire. This culminated in the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii officially recognizing "Aloha Friday" beginning in 1966. Aloha shirts had already become a part of how to dress Hawaiian, and businesses have been on board ever since.
Aloha Friday in Hawaiian Culture
Aloha shirts may be what to wear in Hawaii, but it's worth noting the Aloha wear of Hawaii's workers is not as bright or colorful as Hawaiian shirts commonly shown by Hollywood. In the movies, people usually wear them while sipping mai tais on the beach or while pounding alcohol at a wild college party. The Aloha shirts worn by most of Hawaii's workers are more subdued. After all, people can't go to work every day looking like they're on vacation. Our premium Rayon Hawaiian shirts are more in line with what Hawaiians wear to work every day.
Nevertheless, it doesn't take long to see that the Aloha culture goes beyond Hawaiian Shirt Friday. During lunch hour in heart of Honolulu's business district on Wednesdays and Fridays, Hawaiian bands entertain lunch-goers at Bishop Square. The food and music create a fun and relaxing atmosphere as people wind down the week and get ready for the weekend.
Some Hawaii companies take Aloha Friday one step further and will allow or even co-sponsor a "Pau Hana Friday", which is usually the last Friday of the month. At these offices, the company will contribute some money to buy pupus (Hawaiian appetizers) like poke and pipikaula, chips, soda, and in some cases beer. For the very lucky, the boss may even let the Pau Hana party start an hour before the normal end of the work day, as long as the work that needs to get done is taken care off. It's a great time for co-workers to interact with each other on a social basis, which can be good for morale - unless you harbor hatred for your peers.
Hawaiian Day at Work in Mainland U.S. States
Many companies on the mainland have taken up a Casual Friday or Dress Down Friday policy, allowing people to dress a little more casually on Fridays. If such an office happens to have one or two people from Hawaii, those people will probably wear an Aloha shirt or dress to work on Friday. Next, their office mates or cubicle neighbors might go out and buy their own Hawaiian shirt for Fridays. Slowly, it spreads until eventually, the entire office has transformed Casual Friday to Aloha Friday. Additionally, some offices may set aside a specific Hawaiian Shirt Friday or another day of the week for everyone to wear their favorite border print Hawaiian shirt, vintage Hawaiian shirts or other vibrant attire.
It is remarkable what the little act of wearing a Hawaiian shirt to the office can do to one's mindset. Putting on an Aloha shirt is a little bit like putting on a different attitude that lets one take a big picture perspective and appreciate some of the simpler things in life. After all, if you're not happy, then what's the point, right? Letting yourself relax and enjoy the moment can help you deal with the stresses of a typical workday and take more satisfaction in what you do. Consider one of our Hawaiian shirts for your next Friday at work. We'll even help outfit the entire office with our business-to-business group orders!