Size: L (labeled as 16 - 16 ½)
Chest: 24.5” flat (49” around) to fit approx. size 44 chest, somewhat loosely
Collar: 16” when buttoned closed with loop at collar
Sleeve length: 9.5”
Sleeve opening: 8” flat (16” around)
Length: 29” from shoulder to hem
Shoulder to shoulder: 18.5”
Underarm to hem: 18.5”
Width at hem: 25.5” flat (51” around)
Labels: Imported Fabric, Hand Printed Batik, Hansom Fabrics. Plum’s Inc., Edgewater Beach Hotel, Chicago
This deadstock, Hawaiian-style, batik print cotton men’s shirt from the late 1950s or early 1960s has the classic, casualwear shape of a vintage Hawaiian shirt: short sleeves, moderately loose fit, square hem, small loop collar, front slit pockets, and horizontal buttonholes. The hem has two small slits, one at each side seam. The front buttons have a veneer of what appears to be coconut (or another dark brown, textured, natural material) over a plastic layer underneath. The yoke in back has small vertical pleats over each shoulder. This lovely, 1950s-60s men’s shirt has never been worn, with crisp fabric and bright colors, and its original hangtag still attached. It is in mint condition. It was purchased from a shop at the Edgewater Beach Hotel, once a fabulous beachfront resort hotel in Chicago. (More info is given below, about the EBH, and about traditional batik fabric printing.)
According the The Batik Guild (batikguild.org.uk), “To make a batik, selected areas of the cloth are blocked out by brushing or drawing hot wax over them, and the cloth is then dyed. The parts covered in wax resist the dye and remain the original colour. This process of waxing and dyeing can be repeated to create more elaborate and colourful designs.” Since both the label and the hangtag describe the shirt as hand printed, it was almost certainly printed using this traditional process.
The famous Edgewater Beach Hotel, built along Chicago’s far north side lakeshore in 1916 (main building) and 1923 (tower building), was a landmark that hosted many celebrities in its heyday, including: Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Charlie Chaplin, Bette Davis, Lena Horne, Tallulah Bankhead, and Nat King Cole, and political figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Big bands entertained its guests, among them: Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Xavier Cugat and more. (Lists courtesy of Wikipedia entry). The two hotel postcard photos show the hotel in its early days, circa 1920s, and later, circa late 1950s or early 60s--when the shirt would have been purchased there!