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:
- coat and tie
- Hawaiian shirt
- 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.