Ever since WWII ended in the 1940s, Hawaiian print shirts, sarong dresses, and tropical flowers have been popular fashion wear. Men and Women of the late 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s hosted poolside “Tiki” parties complete with tropical drinks with little pink umbrellas. Restaurants and dance halls picked up on the fad and held tiki-themed dances with lounge style musicians. To dress for the occasion, women wore tropical print dresses also called tiki dresses. Many were inspired by Hawaiian life in the 1940s after the bombing of Pearl Harbor put Hawaiian shirts and dresses in the spotlight.
Scroll down or click here to read the history of the tiki dress or shop these retro tiki dresses, tropical dresses, floral dresses, Hawaiian shirts, and accessories:
Women’s 1940s, 1950s, 1960s Tiki Dress History
Women’s dresses had two main shapes. Full circle skirts (i.e. 1950s swing dresses), and the very narrow pencil shape dresses associated with the Pinup Girl that is VERY popular today. The only difference between 1950s clothes and Hawaiian tiki style was the material and colors. Tropical print fabrics were used to make full circle and pencil shape dresses. The sarong style dress is one style that was made almost exclusively with tropical print fabrics. Colors were bright pinks, greens, and blues all fit for a summer poolside party.
Other tropical or vacation themes such as Caribbean prints, Mexican Riviera colors, and even safari adventures found their way into the tiki mix.
Don’t forget to add a pair of retro sandals, a hair flower, and parasol to your tiki dress. In summer, we love a good pair of wedges or strappy sandals. Espadrilles are also a very tiki type of retro shoe.
Men’s 1950s Hawaiian Shirts
A Hawaiian shirt and pair of khaki pants are all that’s needed for a 1950s lounge look.
- Shop for 1950s Men’s shirts to find all kinds of tropical summer shirts. Or these:
- www.vintage-aloha-shirt.com Love this site. Carries real vintage Hawaiian shirts.
- www.thehanashirtco.com Many vintage Hawaiian shirts. Very $$$