Monday, May 18, 2009

Louder! Louder!

You don’t have to believe me – believe the Associated Press: When it comes to “aloha shirts,” louder is better. There’s a full (if brief) list of dos and don’ts in a recent story by Nicholas K Geranios. He does a great job of laying out the greats and the near-greats of the burden we really big guys have to carry, fashion-wise.

The article also mentioned Greg Chambers who founded the Mad Gringo company and from whom I buy an occasional shirt. (Some of his are a little too laid back.) On the other hand, Chambers tells a GREAT story including at least one line in Geranios’s article:

And if you stretch beyond three [shirts], people start in on the “It’s so sad to see someone give up like that. His poor wife!” That would be me, I guess – and Barbara.

We were at dinner Saturday evening, at Chatter’s, when another couple was seated next to us. He was wearing a slightly less loud shirt than mine, which was a 90s’ Hilo Hattie with bathing beauties all over it. We complimented each other on our exquisite taste but I could tell I won the prize: I’d out-louded him.

I can’t show you the shirt – I don’t have a photo handy – but I sure do have this picture of the one, the only Hilo Hattie. (There’s an excellent story about her career here, by Dee Buckingham.) Part of it goes:

…in 1971, while she was at the the Merry Monarch Festival, Evelyn and Richard Margolis of Kaluna Hawaii Sportswear approached her for permission to design a line of ‘Hilo Hattie’ clothing. Kaluna, already a million dollar business, purchased a manufacturing plant in Hilo, bought the rights to Hilo Hattie’s name, and, as they say, “The rest is history.”

The firm and its retail outlets are still in business.

That AP list? Do:
■ Do: Buy at least one size too large.
■ Believe that louder is better.
■ Compliment another guy on his rockin’ shirt.
■ Wear them with a solid blazer for formal occasions.

■ Ever tuck them in, unless you are Thomas Magnum.
■ Wear them with a necktie.
■ Wear a shirt with matching pants or shorts.
■ Wear a matching shirt with your spouse.

Some sad new: The story appeared in the Fort Worth, TX Star-Telegram. Several respondents posted quite negative comments about aloha shirts. Tsk, tsk.

Some glad news: Catherine Mallette of the same newspaper is asking for “aloha shirt” submissions – the winner might get a future feature out of it. I told her about the 37 loud shirts I own, though I’m not too sure that’ll impress her. Ta…

A big loud “thank you!” to Donna Giles for sending the article along. The photograph is from Buckingham’s series in the Hawaii Reporter about “Women of World War II Hawaii.”


donna said...

In all fairness, my bff John Moore in Ft. Worth sent it to me, and then I sent it to you!

Richard Laurence Baron said...

Thanks again, Donna - fairness is all.

S. Reeves said...

Jack Lord would have been a much happier man in a big aloha shirt

Mad Gringo said...

Imagine! My very own tag.

Gracias for the kind words!

Bigger, brighter, better. Got it. Look for new patterns showing up here and there as we update inventory.

Great blog.


Richard Laurence Baron said...

Oh, MG - of all of us, you not only talk the talk, you walk the walk! Keep those wilder shirts coming, 'mano!

Richard Laurence Baron said...

Sad to report (after Kay and Wilfred Krenek shopped a great shirt for me at Hilo Hattie's in the Islands), I found this article:

Perhaps there's hope for this icon yet but I'm not holding my breath. Thanks again, Wilfred and Kay.

Mad Gringo said...

Thank you for the note [about Hilo Hattie]!

I didn't know it had gotten so bad for them. . .sad to read.

Another little Hawaiian shirt store is dying too - Paradise on a Hangar,

They just sent a notice to me announcing the sale of assets. Rough times to be in retail! MG