Aloha! – Style – Russia’s News

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A Hawaiian shirt is definitely a summer wardrobe item. Its main components: a loose fit, thin breathable material and a bright print. In its more than a century of history, this shirt has constantly moved from the category of kitsch to the trend, and it does it more often than any other thing. First of all, it is associated with alternative American style. There are familiar Americana motifs – cowboy aesthetics or, in extreme cases, preppy style from Ivy League universities (let the Americans compete with the British here). The Hawaiian shirt is a summer version of the informal American style. We tell how the history of this shirt began, which won the attention of a wide audience at the beginning of the 20th century.

There is no consensus on how the Hawaiian shirt appeared. The most popular version says that its creation is a mix of Western and Eastern cultures. The British arrived in Hawaii in the 1770s and showed the locals how to make shirts. Due to the hot climate, the choice was made in favor of models with short sleeves. During the 19th century, Hawaii became home to a huge number of emigrants from Japan and China. One of the versions why the Hawaiian shirt looks like this is the Japanese heritage of this thing. Japanese women, having moved to Hawaii, created things based on kimono that would be comfortable to wear in the heat – this is how bright prints and lightweight materials appeared that allowed the skin to breathe when worn. On the islands, this element of clothing quickly gained popularity, but still remained a Hawaiian find.

The Hawaiian shirt began to gain its popularity in the Western world only at the beginning of the 20th century. After the Great Depression, the United States was in decline – there were no jobs, men were looking for jobs, and social stratification between rich and poor was worse than ever before. Wealthy Americans fell in love with the Hawaiian vacation destination – the islands were relatively close and were a paradise with their own special, hitherto unseen culture. Accordingly, the men who rested there took something with them as a keepsake – and as a rule it was a Hawaiian shirt. Then the rest of the Americans noticed this thing. In America at the beginning of the 20th century, when masculinity was harsh and tough, it was strange to see a man in a light shirt with a bright print. However, this thing was associated in the minds of citizens with a good lifestyle, prosperity and carelessness. Men who recently lost their jobs and their favorite business wanted to be associated with a higher class – so they began to buy and wear such shirts.

The term “Hawaiian shirt” itself appeared in 1927, it was registered by the entrepreneur and tailor Ellory Chan – so it was easier to sell these shirts. Nine years later, she had an alternative name, ‘aloha shirt’ (that is, “aloha shirt”) – another strong association with the Hawaiian Islands. It gained popularity in the US in the 1930s. In the 1940s, celebratory style faded into the background with the attack on Pearl Harbor, and relaxed style gave way to a military legacy. Everything changed in the 1960s, when the war and its aftermath died down and people again turned to a relaxed, more flamboyant style. Men weren’t shy about trying new things, and the slightly feminine Hawaiian shirt has regained its former popularity, in large part because it was worn by icons of the time. One of the main popularizers of such a shirt was Elvis Presley in the movie Blue Hawaii. After that, the shirt became closely associated with good masculine style. Characters in the aloha shirt have appeared in films such as Scarface, Detective Magnum, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and even comedies such as Ace Ventura.

You can wear a Hawaiian shirt with almost anything – shorts, linen trousers, jeans. It’s unlikely to go well with skinny suit trousers, but that’s what she and a Hawaiian shirt are for experimenting. In summer, it can be worn open, but for this you will have to wear a white T-shirt or T-shirt down. Or on a naked body – leaving a few top buttons unbuttoned. In addition to shirts, classic glasses from the mid-20th century, such as aviators or the Wayfarer model, are perfect.

Ilya Petruk

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