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Beyond Tiki, Bilge, and Test / Beyond Tiki

T-shirt under an Aloha shirt?

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I couldn't find where this had been addressed in this exalted forum in the past, but the question has come up here in the monkey-bin:

“Should an Aloha/Hawaiian/Tiki shirt be worn with a white t-shirt underneath?”

What say the experts?

On 2019-12-14 12:11, coldwarspacemonkey wrote:
I couldn't find where this had been addressed in this exalted forum in the past, but the question has come up here in the monkey-bin:

“Should an Aloha/Hawaiian/Tiki shirt be worn with a white t-shirt underneath?”

What say the experts?

I'm no expert, but I personally wouldn't wear a white t-shirt underneath. If anything I'd probably wear something like navy or black that ideally complimented the colors in the Aloha shirt.

Then again, the only time I wear white t-shirts is when I have a white buttondown on.

I wasn't raised wearing undershirts though I know some were. Some guys like to wear an undershirt under a light colored shirt, I guess that could extend to Aloha shirts. Sometimes I'll wear a plain coordinating color tshirt underneath if I want a little extra warmth.

OOHHHH....I’d actually really love to see what people say about this one.

So, I will have to confess that there are many times where I will wear a T-Shirt under my Aloha Shirt. But, I will always wear a tiki T-Shirt that matches the colors of the shirt. For instance I have a Don The Beachcomber shirt, which is black, but, has logo and words in tan across the front....and I will wear the tan and white Aloha shirt on top of it...usually unbuttoned.

I also have to confess that the reason I started doing this, is because I have been really trying to manage my weight, and with the amount of work these last few years, along with some medical conditions, I haven’t been able to exercise as much. By wearing my Aloha shirts open, I can still wear my vintage shirts.

I have noticed a few people do this at some other events, but, its not something I see very often.

Maybe, I should ask the question....Is this a “style” thing....or...is wearing t-shirts under Aloha shirts a “faux pas”? In other words, do people necessarily object to me doing that?...even though they might not say it.

And then I have also heard from some that wearing cargo shorts with Aloha shirts is a faux pas. Maybe that should go in a separate thread?

Thanks for any comments!!

Hamo posted on Sat, Dec 14, 2019 8:12 PM

I don't normally wear a t-shirt under my aloha shirts, even in the dead of winter, and I don't ever wear any shirt completely unbuttoned over another shirt; I don't really care for either look. However, all my white undershirts are v-necks, so I suppose I could wear them under my aloha shirts and they not be seen.


More importantly can you wear your pocket protector on the left side pocket of your shirt?
Or should it always be on the right side?


Ok real answer IMHO.
"In other words, do people necessarily object to me doing that?...even though they might not say it"

It depends on WHO is wearing the shirts, If its Crazy Al EVERYBODY will do the same thing the next day, now if say I were to do it then it would become the dumbest thing on earth.

For say fat people, a shirt under another shirt helps keep it tucked in, it also can let you wear that aloha shirt that you can't quite button.

Have you been to tiki events? It aint fashion week that's for sure.

Many of the older tiki peeps are ex punk people so they have stepped up their fashion game at this point.

So wear what you want, just be sure to cover that large rum soaked body, heck if people want to hate on you they will do it no matter what you say, wear, or do.

Hell I wore one under my aloha shirt yesterday. I live in Michigan so that should explain why.

It to me is so funny to think of this.

So tiki people are going to a tiki event, as they go to it in the real world some people look at them and say "Man look at those goofs" now they get to the event and other tiki people look at some in the tiki event crowd and say "man look at that goof"
They have a pecking order too with special tables for special tiki people, while in the real world tiki peeps may not get a table dressed as they are.

Certainly not the best table.

The lunatics have truly taken over the asylum.

So many people passing judgement on each other.
Do Think that most people do this at one point of their life.

I used to wear a Polo to Crazy Mamas punk bar and one guy was giving me crap about being so normally dressed so I had to remind him that in the bar we were in I was the only person being different as they were all conforming to each others dress.

Yes I was the only original in that bar that night.

[ Edited by: tikiskip 2019-12-15 11:49 ]

The irony of Aloha shirts is most see them as ideal wear for being outside in warm weather. However, when they are outside, they are exposed to environmental elements and warm weather exposes them to elements from the human body and almost all Aloha wear is NOT washer friendly. Wearing something underneath protects them somewhat from elements from the human flesh.

I use a v-neck shirt underneath which is somewhat color coordinated with the aloha shirt.


I have a few great shirts that I couldn’t pass on
However they are 1 size to small
So those I do wear a T under the unbuttoned Aloha shirt

So I’d say “sure, when ya need to”

Just don’t tuck it in


Thanks to all for the input! For the record, my personal preference is “no”, but Mrs. Monkey has other opinions. I pretty much gave up white t-shirts when I got out of the service. But I can actually see both sides of the issue.

I think the original Aloha shirts were never intended to be worn over anything else. But, fast forward to the mid-20th century when a large portion of the male population were wearing t-shirts every day, and I can easily imagine them appearing a back-yard luau with the neighbors. If memory serves colored t-shirts didn’t really take off until the late 60’s, but I can see where they could integrate well.

Then of course there are the climate and size issues.

Bottom line I get from you kind folks is there is no rule, it’s about personal preference – and I like that!


to me, a white undershirt under an aloha shirt = The Tarantino Method.

it's not my personal choice, but you will observe, that if a character in the Tarantino universe is wearing a hawaiian shirt, there is a white t-shirt underneath.

Hey Johnny Dollar!!,
That is a very interesting observation. I don't think I've particularly noticed that. I will have to re-watch some movies!!

Interestingly....I never thought of what is portrayed in movies....so, that's was a great thought Johnny Dollar.....and so, I did what everyone seems to do these days and search google.....and found this hit....which shows 15 movies with about 6 of them showing t-shits under an aloha shirt. Also, of note the older movies shown, do not have t-shirts under the aloha shirt, where as the newer ones do.


i've been meaning to compile these photos - anybody let me know if i missed anybody...

mr pink, reservoir dogs

mr white & mr orange, reservoir dogs

clarence worley, true romance

pumpkin, pulp fiction

pete bottoms, from dusk till dawn

louis, jackie brown

budd, kill bill vol. 2

cliff booth, once upon a time... in hollywood

One celebrity who is seen frequently in an Aloha shirt is "Weird Al" Yankovic.

In this photo, you can see that he wears something under the Aloha shirt.

However, despite his popularity and the millions who love his music, I do not
see him as being a trend setter or as a role model that someone wants to emulate.


Aloha! Here is one of my favorite guys in a hawaiian shirt. Great movie as well! Makes this Tiki girl's heart beat faster...I'd love a dress in that pattern. :wink:

dang, Kurt Russell is looking pretty tikiphile here...

this is from a recent magazine photoshoot, so it's not Tarantino cannon - bold move to not wear a white t-shirt under the aloha shirt.


If the shirt fits you then definitely no undershirt, however I do have a couple of shirts that were just too good to pass on but they are maybe just a little small. They are not so small as to appear ridiculous but the rarity of the pattern and the vintage precludes finding any others in larger sizes. Now I could just keep them "archived" but being so special I do want to wear them. By wearing a plain white t-shirt underneath and leaving the shirt itself open they can still get an outing without looking odd.

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