The island of Oahu, Hawaii, is rife with vintage shops selling cheerful Aloha shirts, floral maxi dresses, fierce tiki mugs, and other Hawaiian collectibles. If you’re pressed for time and mostly sticking around the capital, these are the four rummaging emporiums you won’t want to miss.
Bailey’s Antiques and Aloha Shirts
517 Kapahula Ave., Honolulu, HI; 808-734-7628.
Since 1980, David Bailey has amassed a collection of more than 15,000 Aloha shirts. His shop, located at the Diamond Head end of Waikiki Beach, stocks every material (silk, cotton, rayon, polyester) and motif (pineapples, barrel waves, pin-ups in grass skirts) under the Pacific sun. Jimmy Buffett is a fan, of course, having once dropped $20,000 here on a single Hawaiian shirt. For the rest of us, the secondhand button-downs start as low as $4 and specialty labels like Reyn Spooner or Tommy Bahama cost between $20 and $30. Beyond the racks of Kona Bay and Iolani, look for antique Zippo lighters, Hawaiian vinyl, and hip-checking hula girls.
1161 Nuuanu Ave., Honolulu, HI; 808-674-7156.
Shopkeeper Bradley Rhea has a knack for surfacing vintage threads that translate in a cool, modern way—never too costume-y, just the right amount of pop. Although his boutique sells across several decades, he gravitates toward bright, psychedelic prints and beachy-bohemian neutrals. On a recent visit, we spotted floral muumuus from the 1960s, lightweight cotton kimonos from the 1970s, and Aloha shirts printed with neon angel fish from the 1980s. It’s a fun mix, easy to rifle through, and a pittance to pay should you stumble upon something groovy.
Surf ‘N Hula
3588 Waialae Ave., Honolulu, HI; 808-428-5518.
Located next to historic Queen Theatre in old Kaimuki Town, Surf ‘N Hula does a fine job balancing affordable kitsch with big-ticket collectibles. In the glass cases, you’ll spy rare shell necklaces, shiny Duke Kahanamoku coins, and gnarly California Raisin figurines hanging ten. On the shelf: a bust of the Skipper from the S.S. Minnow. The densely packed shop displays larger items, too, including a rare Holmsey Sidewinder surfboard and an even rarer five-foot 1940s Hawaiian alaia-style wood board printed with an original Hawaiian crest.
Tin Can Mailman
1026 Nuuanu Ave., Honolulu, HI; 808-524-3009.
Hands down the deepest, most comprehensive selection of Hawaiiana in Honolulu, with prices to match. Tin Can Mailman is crammed wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling with Hawaiian-themed books, postcards, magazine clippings, and other ephemera. The store has been written about extensively in Japanese magazines, so when the overseas collectors show up, they’re ready to drop some serious yen. Don’t be shocked by a $250 price tag on, say, a single-page advertisement. Fruit labels, island maps, hand-carved tiki mugs, hula-girl bobble heads, and Varga Girl centerfolds are also popular. FYI: The shop has a strict no-photo policy, which we wouldn’t dare cross.