American Kitsch: Hawaiian Shirts

Monday, December 5, 2022

Kitsch describes things that are considered unsophisticated but are also amusing and enjoyable. Menswear in the US contains an iconic piece of clothing that is sometimes kitschy but timeless as well: the Hawaiian shirt.

Originally called an Aloha shirt, Hawaiian shirts can be recognized by their colorful patterns, which are often bold designs of flowers, leaves, birds, palm trees, etc. They are a style of dress shirt that has short sleeves, an open collar, and they are traditionally worn untucked.

The Hawaiian shirt is also a style of shirt that’s recognized in nearly every part of the world. If you’re a movie fan, you may have seen Hawaiian shirts worn by many celebrities in their films: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Al Pacino, Jim Carrey, Nicolas Cage, Benicio del Toro, Johnny Depp, and Leonardo DiCaprio. 

The first Hawaiian shirts were designed in the 1930s and became popular with locals, surfers, and tourists, especially as tourism to Hawaii grew in the 1950s. The Hawaiian shirt is considered a symbol of island life, vacations, exotic getaways, and laid-back, relaxed lifestyles. Adding a Hawaiian shirt to your wardrobe may possibly give you that relaxed mood as you dream of tropical places. 

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