When we think Mardi Gras, we think flamboyant masks and boastful beads; big bands on Bourbon Street and dancing – lots of it. But what better way to get into the Mardi Gras mood than with a vivaciously wonderful aloha shirt made specifically for this New Orleans tradition?
Despite being thousands of miles away from the Mardi Gras mecca, Hawaii is pretty big on the festivities. Costumed revelers wearing crazy get-ups roam the streets of Downtown Honolulu and Downtown Hilo; even Kauai has some festivities of its own. In fact, the jazzy-blues sounds of the south can be heard right here in the islands. It is a time of fun but mostly, to dress up in free spirits. So it comes as no surprise that Hawaii designs its own Mardi Gras costume by way of the classic aloha shirt.
A few local businesses known for their aloha attire made shirts (for men and women). They boast colorful purples and yellow and designs that scream, PARTY TIME. One shirt in particular by Banana Jack goes above and beyond the typical aloha shirt with prints of Natchez paddle boats gliding across the Mississippi River and motifs of masks and music ($55). I saw another shirt on Amazon ($48-$52) that mixed local island flowers with Mardi Gras prints, like beaded masks and snapshots of Bourbon and Toulouse streets. Really loud, if you know what I mean, but also REALLY in Mardi Gras fashion. So what’s not to love about these specialty shirts?
Probably the coolest part of these aloha shirts is that they are hand-cut and sewn in Hawaii! Investing all that time and effort into a single shirt really shows just how much Hawaii adores this time of year. I only heard about them last year, when I saw a man at the Chinatown festivities sporting a bright purple one. I asked him where he got it from, and he said he got it online. Turns out, there are many websites – from eBay to Amazon – where you can find a Mardi Gras aloha shirt. But nothing says aloha more than an actual shirt from the Aloha State. Be on the lookout for one the next time you are in Hawaii and support local!
Wear it around the islands and then back home for next year’s Mardi Gras. Yes, they are quite loud but what isn’t loud about this particular celebration? People back home will not only see your treasured island attire but also see just how we, in Hawaii, like to celebrate Mardi Gras the Hawaiian way!
Posted by: Bruce Fisher