An Open Letter to “Hawaiian Shirt” Guy

By Ashley Robinson

Dear Hawaiian Shirt,

I am writing to you today because I am asking you to cease and desist.

Last Friday, after I had spent over an hour getting ready for a date with my husband, we arrived at a very nice restaurant in Sacramento, and you were there. Not only did your presence annoy me, for you were underdressed and overused, but I decided your overestimated popularity needed a reality check.

Hawaiian Shirt, you are like the annoying girl I had to sit next to all four years of high school because of alphabetical seating. You are like the driver in front of me who doesn’t use turn indicators when turning right off busy roads. You are like spilling coffee on yourself at the beginning of a work day.

Totally avoidable, but all too prominent. Very annoying.

Nope, sorry Elvis - even you can't pull it off.

Hawaiian Shirt, I do not mind you in theory. You have every right to be welcomed at backyard barbeques, beach days, bartenders, Beach Boys concerts (hell, even Journey concerts) and most especially, LUAUS. You are the symbol of Baby Boomer casual elegance, but your days are numbered. We are a new generation looking to the retrosexuals influenced by Mad Men (the very era your rebellion was born out of!). We like our men to look nice, wear skinny ties and not look shapeless in loose silk man blouses.

Hawaiian Shirt, you are not attractive. You looked really good on Magnum P.I. and Tom Cruise in “Cocktail” (in those days, anything looked good on Tom – both of ‘em). But just like those two actors, sadly, your popularity is dated. And note, those are references are dated, in themselves! (Anyone else remember Baloo from Tail Spin on Disney? Hawaiian Shirt.)

Hawaiian Shirt, places I am asking you to not be seen: wine tasting rooms (Ha-wine-an, anybody?), very expensive restaurants, and just about anywhere else. I don’t care if you are a $200 Tommy Bahama or a $5 Hilo Hattie knock-off, your garish patterns and ugly mannerisms offend my 2010 sense of fashionability.

Lock it up Vince. Lock. It. Up.

I have claimed small victories over you, oh Hawaiian Shirt. Just a few months ago, in my husband’s vain attempt to put his well-loved decades old version of YOU on in haste (so I could not catch him putting on that nasty garment!) he tore a button off. His own fault! You were not even saved for the rag pile. You were dismissed from our house, and happily so. (Well, on my part; I think my husband had to “take a moment.”)

Hawaiian Shirt, I wish I could be sad for you. But just like VHS tapes, out houses and juice bars, you will fade out sooner than later. The market has no room for you, and we are tired of your lavish lifestyle.

Good bye and good luck (elsewhere).

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  1. Bella Q says

    LMAO! I too have mixed feelings about the Hawaiian shirt. In theory and on hangers I can appreciate it. But yeah, seeing it as the uniform of caz on older men, not so sexy. And pretty tired. Funny post. Aloha.

  2. Kari Shipman says

    LOVE IT. lets hope all the guys with closets full of these get the message.

  3. Chris says

    I’ll stab myself in the eye before wearing skinny ties… AGAIN! I’ve danced with that girl before, and I’m not making the same mistake twice. Long live the Hawaiian shirt!

  4. Kim says

    Well, I agree with all that you said, but as a baby boomer I still think Tom Selleck looks great in a Hawaiian shirt, although the Don Draper look would be attractive on him too… Enjoyed the commentary!

  5. ashley robinson says

    thanks Kim, aka Mom. (My mom had a Tom Selleck poster hanging in our playhouse … she wanted a place to put it, just not in the house.)

  6. Todd says

    While I myself am a fan of the Hawaiian shirt, I really do think your ‘tolerance’ level should be adjusted. While ‘Baby Boomers’ may be a chief demographic of this apparel choice, they may also be keeping the establishment in business. During this difficult economy, Hawaiian shirted boomers (who tend have the most expendable resources $$$) should be welcomed with open arms. In my opinion, (until the economy turns around) you might want to turn a blind eye towards what you consider a fashion faux pas and be glad the restaurant is still in business. If it really bugs you, find a place with really strict dress codes and be one of their last patrons.

  7. J says

    Well as a major fan of hawaiian shirts I wear one six days a week! As a local pool guy ( in my early 30’s) in the greater sacramento area I can tell u I have not had much complaint!!! Yes some can be very very bizzzy, those that are toned down a bit can be very attractive. I have had people of all ages comment on my shirts, and maybe 1 out of 10-15 complain!!! So pearsonally guys I think we should start a hawaiian shirt frenzy… Man up and quit give all gals a chance to Pansy us up all metrosexual!!! Hahaha, aloha friday everyone

  8. ashley robinson says

    Hey Todd — It was a tongue-and-cheek opinion-based column on fashion. Lighten up, dude.

  9. OMGLOL says

    OMG, LOL!!

  10. OMGLOL says

    Hawaiin Shurtz. LOOLz.

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