Posted in writing

Exploring Hawaiian Shirts versus Aloha Wear

guaybera shirt

People assume men are always wearing bright shirts to work here.  This is a misconception. There are Hawaiian shirts, and there is Aloha Wear.  Aloha Wear is what the tourists buy when they are in town.  You know….those bright tropical shirts. You can buy Aloha Wear at Sears, at Macy’s, at Ross, at the ABC stores, at Wal-Mart, at Walgreens,  and just about everywhere.

Office wear for men here includes the following:

  1. coat and tie
  2. Hawaiian shirt
  3. Guayabera shirt

If men work with the law or with money (such as bank tellers) Hawaiian tradition states they should wear coats and ties.

If men do not work directly with money or with the law, they often wear Hawaiian shirts. Hawaiian shirts are reverse prints.  If you look at the underside of the shirt, you’ll see the bright colors. The duller colors are worn on the outside. These shirts are cut straight on the bottom so they may be worn inside or outside of the pant. Executives wear their shirts inside a belt and pant. Quality brands of Hawaiian shirts include Tori Richard and Reyn Spooner. Less expensive brands include Ono shirts, Liberty House, and Cooke Street. Tori Richard shirts are usually 100 percent cotton which means requires ironing. Reyn Spooner shirts are a cotton/poly blend, which means take them out of the washing machine, hang them up to dry overnight, and they are ready to go the next day.

Guayabera shirts normally have 4 pockets and a square cut. They are always worn outside the pant. See the photo above. There is some debate about their origin. Some people say they originated in the Caribbean or the Philippines; others say they originated in Cuba and Latin America. They are long-sleeved or short-sleeved. They are often seen at beach weddings, at Friday night dinners, and by executives in offices.

So, if you want to fit in while you are working in Hawaii and not be labeled as a tourist, remember the three rules above and you’ll be on your way.





Dr. Sheila Embry is a govie, author, pracademician, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend who loves to read, write, think, and laugh. Many of her blog postings are summaries or excerpts of books that she read and wants to share to encourage others. An author with more than 25 years experience within the legislative and executive branches of the U. S. federal government holding 3 accredited degrees: Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, Master of Arts in Human Resources Development, and Baccalaureate of Business Administration, she believes in continuing learning both on and off the job. She has been recognized with multiple professional and writing awards for her peer-reviewed, publications. Click the bibliography page above for a listing of all the publications.

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