Did you know that the first Aloha shirt was designed in the early 1930’s? Talk about a never ending fashion trend! It’s no surprise this style shirt has caught your attention and now you are considering how to add one to your current wardrobe! Thankfully, Hawaii Hangover has a simple guide to help you not only learn about the history Hawaiian Aloha shirt, but also how to choose the perfect one for you!


So first off, what exactly is this a “Aloha Shirt,” and where the heck did it come from?! The Aloha Shirt, also known as a Hawaiian shirt, is simply a style of dress shirt originating in Hawaii. It was designed by a Chinese merchant named Ellery Chun who owned a store in Waikiki called King-Smith Cashiers and Dry Goods. Mr. Chun used the bright and colorful fabric leftover from his kimono garments and began sewing them together. His original intentions were to create vibrant and fun shirts for tourists, however the shirts began to catch on for locals as well. They even caught the eyes of the Honolulu Advertiser newspaper whom officially named them “Aloha Shirts”. Pleased with his newest innovation, Mr. Chun trademarked the name, and thus the Aloha Shirt was created! It wasn’t long before other major designer labels began appearing and creating their own Aloha Shirts as well.

Aloha shirts most frequently include bright prints, short-sleeves, collars, a left chest pocket, and buttons down the entire length of the shirt. Usually these shirts also feature a lower cut style around the neck, and a shorter hem since Aloha Shirts are not often worn tucked in. Today, these shirts are so widespread that they are worn for almost every occasion. From the workplace to leisure activities, the Aloha Shirt is an incredibly versatile style loved and favored by many!

(Featuring: Some of Hawaii Hangover’s Fun Prints!)


Now that you know a little history on the Aloha Shirt, let’s talk materials! The first styles of Aloha shirts were made of silk and cotton. After Mr. Chun trademarked the Aloha Shirt, Japanese influences quickly caused silk to become the material of choice. Throughout the years, other materials have been introduced as well. The creation of synthetic fibers, such as rayon, made mass production an option for manufacturers. Today, it is easy to pick and choose which fabric is suitable to your personal need and preference!

Cotton was the original material of choice for Mr. Chun’s Aloha Shirts, and continues to hold its popularity because of its many benefits. Cotton is composed of woven fibers that are ideal for hot weather because it has a wicking effect that allows moisture to evaporate. Cotton is also great for cold weather as the fibers retain heat. As a result, cotton is a very versatile material, and a top choice by many.

Another fantastic material is Rayon. A semi-synthetic fabric, Rayon was designed specifically as a more affordable alternative to high grade silk. Rayon is resistant to heat, extremely flexible, and luxurious in appearance as well as to the touch. Shirts made in Rayon are softer and more flowy than cotton shirts.

Although there are multiple other material options, such as Poly-cotton and poly-microfiber, manufacturers most commonly use cotton and rayon to make of Aloha shirts. Silk is generally sought by those searching for a very upscale and luxurious look, and is only used by select manufacturers. Hawaii Hangover specializes in both cotton and rayon Aloha Shirts to best meet the needs of our customers! Below is a quick chart to assist you in identifying whether cotton or rayon will be best for your purposes.




Soft hand & Comfortable

Low Maintenance & Breathable

Luxurious Appearance

Versatile for Multiple Climates

Flexible Fabric

Non-stretch Fabric

Heat Sensitive

Wrinkles Easily

Dry Clean/Hand Wash Only

Machine Washable

Synthetic Blend

Environmentally Friendly


Long Sleeves vs. Short Sleeves

Hawaii Hangover currently carries two different styles of Aloha shirts - the traditional style and fitted long sleeve. Our fitted long sleeve shirts feature a higher, more fitted collar, while the traditional shirts have a wider collar and looser fit. Below are some examples of each of these style shirts, including our long sleeve fitted shirts from both our holiday and classic collections!




Now that you have the inside scoop on the Aloha shirt, what are you waiting for!? It’s time to choose the style and pattern perfect for you! If you are still unsure, don’t worry! Hawaii Hangover’s Customer Support Team is always available to help answer with any additional questions. Mahalo!