Are florals in or out? I honestly don’t care. If it’s good enough for Mother Nature, it’s good enough for my summer wardrobe (and yours). When most guys spot floral prints in the stores, they either give them wide berths, or they touch them while making sure no one’s around, mull a little, and walk away. Don’t be those guys. Real men wear pink, right? Well, repeat after me: florals are the new pink. Time to follow in the footsteps of the Islander archetype: here’s how. 

Yes, Magnum. You’re allowed a self-satisfied smirk.

The key to rocking a floral shirt is getting the right cut. Like shirts of any color or print, it has to fit to look good on you. While Thomas Magnum’s Hawaiian shirt may be the most iconic of all floral shirts, that baggy cut with elbow-length sleeves probably won’t fit most people nicely. Unless you look like Magnum P.I. himself, in which case you should send us your contact details.

Also, forget the floral shirts you see on Cam from Modern Family. No one, and I mean, not even Tom Selleck, can pull off those granny-panties print long-sleeved shirts with paisley inner-cuffs, without looking like… Cam from Modern Family. Not hating, but not a great look.

We love Cam. But don’t be Cam. 

Your best bet, if you are a virgin to florals, is a fitted but comfy, short-sleeved shirt – preferably made of a soft fabric, and short enough in the hem to be worn untucked. Look through your wardrobe, and see what color dominates. Men tend to gravitate towards two or three main colors (yes, black and white are considered), so look for a floral shirt that features those colors, or are complementary to those colors. My wardrobe, for example, is mainly blue. This, is my favorite floral shirt. See the connection?

Hey, matching wall art! See how floral goes with everything?

When it comes to choosing the print, lean towards “abstract” florals. Meaning to say, prints that don’t immediately come across as actual flowers, but form some brilliant pattern from afar. If you’re shy about them, start with floral sketches instead of full-blown overall patterns. Avoid small, repeating patterns – those tend to look like Tommy Bahamas duvet covers. A good size for patterns is the size of your palm (sans the fingers).

What the bloom do I wear with florals, I hear you ask. More florals, of course! I kid. The best way to let your florals blossom is to provide a plain, simple foil. That could be a pair of cotton shorts of a neutral color like khaki, or some chinos in neutral tones (including black).  Denim tends to look too rugged with florals (with the exception of very faded denim, if you can pull those off in the first place). Think beachy instead. Sand tones, sky blues, pastels. Keep the look “island-y”.

Fitted, pale linen pants work beautifully too, but the look may end up too beachy. Save that outfit for evenings on beachside restaurants or clubs. If you’re a confident dresser, go ahead and tuck the shirt into dressy casual pants, and put a thin leather belt on. Like so:

Flattering sunlight not guaranteed.

Even if you do look like Magnum P.I. himself, I’d advise against floral tank tops. Why even wear a tank top if you look like that? Go topless on the beach! But if you’re walking on the streets, stick to a floral shirt – less (skin) is more (sex appeal). Wear the shirt casually. Leave it unbuttoned to mid-chest, if you like. Or, be very ironic and button it all the way up to the collar, if you’re a seasoned sartorialist.

I leave you now with some good examples of nice floral shirts available out there. Next time you see one hanging in a store, pick it up, and try it on. Bring a pair of shorts in if you’re not already wearing one. Smile wide, imagine the waves softly crashing, the sun shining warm on your chest. You’re ready to rock this floral look. Happy summering.