Top Five Hawaiian Shirts For Hawaiian Shirt Fridays

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Our national love affair with Hawaiian shirts has made an informal institution of Hawaiian shirt Friday at the office. Here are the top 5 Hawaiian shirts in the US.

It's another casual Friday at the office. You want to wear casual clothes, but don't want to wear a less-than-casual tee shirt. What do you do?

Before there was "Casual Friday", there was "Hawaiian Shirt Friday". Employees could wear bright colors and bold patterns to lighten up the corporate-beige or institution-grey cubicles they worked in. It was a good head start on the weekend.

To help you choose a Hawaiian shirt, and without going into specific numbers, we broke down our sales from the past year by category. The numbers are in:

#5 - Automotive themes. 6% of you out there love your cars and motorcycles so much that you want to wear them too. There are shirts for Nissan Z lovers, Corvettes, Pontiacs, and vintage transportation like Woody wagons. If you love your ride, this is a good place to start.

#4 - Geometric patterns. 11% of customers went for postcard, glyph shirts, batiks and the like. This is the original Hawaiian shirt, predating the advent of European culture to the islands. In those days, traditional Hawaiian clothing was based on glyphs and geometric designs printed on a fabric of pounded bark itself called 'Tapa'. Today's tapa shirt is likely to be a thick cotton or rayon fabric.

#3 - Novelty prints. 15% of Hawaiian shirt wearers fall into this catch-all category. It includes party designs, pinups, sports, beer and wine, festivals, musical instruments, and location themed shirts. This category is anything that would appeal to a specific activity, place, or group. We once had a wildly popular Mexican Day of the Dead shirt with dancing skeletons that had people asking for it a year after it was discontinued.

#2 - Floral prints, 27.5%. Gone are the floral shirts that would cause you to put the back of your hand over your eyes… if you want those you will need to buy a vintage Hawaiian shirt (15% of sales were 'vintage'). Today's aloha florals is easy on the eyes and entirely appropriate for men. Hibiscus flowers have become almost synonymous with Hawaii.

Before getting to number one, a quick note on a few things that did not make the top five list. We were surprised that less than 4% wanted nautical/surfing themes and less than 2% purchased aviation themed shirts, some of the boldest we have at our Hawaiian shirt store. And the top Hawaiian shirt is….

#1 - Foliage prints at 35.2%! Everyone loves palms, banana trees, and lush tropical vegetation that we only see on vacation. Foliage shirts send notes of happy times without clamoring for attention. And manufacturers are aware of our longstanding preference for foliage designs, putting their best designers to work and printing with multiple colors in the prints for depth and beauty. Foliage prints constitute almost all of our bulk orders, which were not included in the tabulation of this list.

Wear your Hawaiian shirt with pride! Remember, with aloha in the office, the weekend is only a day away.


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John Bottomley
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