What’s the difference between Bowler Shirts, Hawaiian Shirts and Guayaberas ? How to style them ? Where to get quality ones of each ?

Home Forums Men’s Fashion Tips What’s the difference between Bowler Shirts, Hawaiian Shirts and Guayaberas ? How to style them ? Where to get quality ones of each ?

This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Metcarfre 3 weeks, 1 day ago.

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    Previously all of that shirts were just “hawaiian shirts” but recently I started noticing that they’re like different things.

    * Bowling shirts seem to be dark colored (you wear them indoors anyway), from synthetic materials and short sleeve. I assume they’re like custom made by teams. The lapel and neck is usually wide and voluminous. Charlie Sheen wears this in Two and a Half Men.

    * Guayaberas seem to be more handmade. The materials are usually natural fiber like linnen and cotton, can be short or long sleeve with handsewn details. Sometimes they’re longer with 4 pockets, although I’ve seen 2 pocket ones and even pocketless shorter ones. They’re usually raw or lightly dyed, sometimes even translucent.

    * Hawaiian Shirt: This is the usual floral design shirt with whatever colour (dark or light), the neck and lapel can be smaller or even lack the lapel. It’s usually short-sleeved and made with either synthetic or natural fibers.

    I think the 3 of them are not really interchangeable. The Guayabera and the Hawaiian shirt can be considered dressy in some places whereas the Bowler shirt leans towards the sport’s uniform casualness despite of its more “luxurious” materials and appearance.

    I don’t really know where to get quality Bowling Shirts or Hawaiian Shirts. I already have an idea where to buy Guayaberas since a store nearby sells [G. Candila Elite](http://www.guayabera.com.mx/) (original Mexican guayaberas) which are among the best I’ve seen.

    So my questions are: Do you agree with the description/classification I made ?
    How would you style them ?
    Where to buy quality ones ?

    EDIT: Clearly I was wrong about the formality.



    I would disagree with your characterization of the bowler as dressier. Aloha shirts are considered business formal in Hawaii (or at least parts) while the guayabera is formal in parts of Central and South America. Bowling shirts are formal nowhere.



    I’d also say that most Guayaberas have those distinctive 4 pockets.



    Guayaberas are quite distinctive with their pleats running down the pockets. They are worn in the Caribbean and Central America so they are made with breathable fabric.



    Guayaberas are pseudo-formal, or *can* be formal, which definitely separates them from their other two. They also have parallel pleats (alforzas) on front and back, and famously, four front pockets. Almost always white, whereas the other two are not. Some people make colored ones now but I feel like its considered irregular. When I think “guayabera” I think of like a rich landlord watching other people mow his lawn, or a drunk-but-fun uncle at a wedding. Handmade or machine made doesn’t matter, it’s a shirt distinguished by its design.

    Bowling shirts are definitely the most casual of the three. Hawaiian shirts can be worn up or down but bowling shirts are exclusively casual.



    Reyn Spooner invented the upscale Aloha shirt, and still make some pretty good shirts. Guayabera shirts vary widely in quality and material, from heavy cotton to linen to polyester. If you live in a US city, you might be able to find them in Mexican import stores. I haven’t really even come across a recognizable brand.



    If you’d like a solid podcast episode on aloha shirts:

    Hawaiian Shirts: Articles of Interest #4

    And/or, if you’d like to read about the origins/history of aloha shirts:


    This article covers some decent (and some that aren’t as high quality) companies that sell aloha shirts:




    I can only speak about Guayaberas because they are somewhat common here.

    * The good ones are made from linen. Cotton-linen blends are common too.
    * Some have 4 pockets on their front, but this is not necessary.
    * They have at least two ‘pleats’ with holes in them. This is to improve breathability. These are made for hot environments.
    * Most cuts you’ll find are very boxy.
    * Over here they are worn mostly by old men. It’s funny how some foreigners believe they’re our ‘dressy’ shirt. I suppose it’s because Latinoamerican presidents wear them sometimes. Personally I always think ‘vacation’ when I see one.

    In my opinion, the 4 and 3 pockets variants looks silly. 2 pockets or no pockets are fine. A lot of guayaberas are made solely to sell them to tourists and are of crappy quality.



    I feel like Gauyaberas and bowling shirts were just more popular around the same period. That style of collar was in style, so different cultures/areas had the same/similar look, but with their different local twists on them. Essentially it comes from the same thing, but are slightly different and have different names because they were each given their names associated with each little culture or sub-culture.

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