The Camp Shirt: Caribbean Style and Elegance

camp shirt

Our most popular request for men’s clothing for our travelers are always camp shirts, tropical shirts and Guayaberas.  When researching this posting, we learned that all of these shirts fall into the “Camp Shirt” category….

What is a Camp Shirt?

A camp shirt is a loose fitting; short sleeved button-down shirt, featuring a straight bottom that is meant to be left un-tucked, and an open, notched, one-piece collar.   It is often the base for fancier fabrics such as Hawaiian prints, or tropically inspired weaves and patterns.  There are three major styles of camp shirts popular in the Caribbean (click on the below to see examples):

What is the History of the Camp Shirt?

British and Americans have been wearing versions of the guayabera for many generations. Known as “safari shirt” in Britain and “camp” shirts in America, their popularity first became quite notable in the 1930s. As in the Caribbean countries, Americans found the shirt to be acceptable office/business wear during extremely hot weather. Previously, Americans had only worn such shirts during their leisure time. In the UK (especially the colonies) and America, a plain form of safari shirt also became popular.

The Hawaiian shirt, or, more correctly, the Aloha shirt, is a camp shirt featuring brightly printed island themed fabrics and are popular with both men and women. Normally, they are short sleeved, collared and are usually buttoned up in front. What distinguishes the Aloha shirt from others shirts are the beautifully printed fabrics. Designs include traditional floral patterns and Polynesian motifs and modern variations that can include full island scenes or automotive and cocktail themes made popular by textile designers in California. Aloha shirts are considered everyday wear in the islands and are commonly worn in both casual and business settings.

When is wearing one Appropriate?

These days a camp shirt (in any of its’ variations) is appropriate all of the time.  The great thing about these shirts is that they can be worn casually or as more formal wear, and is increasingly becoming popular for weddings in tropical locations.  While the exact history of these shirts is unclear; it is clear that they were made for comfort in hot tropical climates and as travel became easier, these shirts gained in popularity.  Whether a plain white one, embroidered, or with bright tropical prints, this is a ubiquitous style of the tropics.  Whether you are visiting the Caribbean or Hawaii, a camp shirt is a must in any man’s closet.

Please contact us for Camp Shirt options for your next incentive travel group. There are many excellent options available across a broad spectrum of styles and colors.   If you don’t see what you are looking for, please ask us and we will source it for you.

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