What to Wear in Hawaii

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What to Wear in Hawaii - Travelers Tips & Information

Are you getting ready for your trip of a lifetime and your not sure how to dress for the occasion? What to wear in Hawaii? Believe it or not dressing for your Hawaiian vacation is pretty simple, mainly because the Hawaiian culture as a whole is pretty laid back, with emphasis on comfort. Pretty much everywhere you go you will see tourists as well as locals wearing flip flops, cargo shorts, t shirts, and of course Hawaiian shirts. Part of the magic of vacationing in Hawaii is that you get live the part of being... well, a tourist.

Of course what to wear depends a lot on why you came to Hawaii in the first place. Most conventioneers are going to be dressed in a pre-agreed upon style, usually aloha shirts or casual attire. But on rare occasions the convention dress code may be mainland style business suits. So you could find yourself having to dress for business, as well as personal time.

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Hawaii is not some alien place at the edge of our solar system. The men, women, and children living on the islands wear everything and anything that mainlanders do and that includes aloha shirts, t-shirts, shorts and flip flops.

Just about everywhere you go in Hawaii you will find fun loving, carefree people living on the islands that are completely immersed in the tropical lifestyle. And those residents wear nothing but Hawaiian shirts, shorts and flip flops on a daily basis.

Regardless of what you choose to wear, casual clothing styles are the acceptable form of dress in Hawaii. Even the finest restaurants in Hawaii will seat you wearing a Aloha shirt with dress-shorts or khaki trousers.

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Note: You will enjoy Hawaiian weather at its best if you plan your visit during the dry-season months of May through October. While any month is good, the two primo months are June and July. The driest and sunniest locations are in the southern and western sections of the islands and summer temps are mid 80s during the day and mid 70s during the night. During the summer you should enjoy mostly dry, warm weather, with only a slight risk of brief isolated showers. The temperature for Hawaii during the so called "winter" months (November, December, January, February) is normally in the high 70s during the day and high 60s at night.

Depending on the trade winds, some locations in Hawaii can also be cool and windy at times, make sure you pack at least one pair of long pants and a light sweater, as well as some sweat pants for lounging around on your rooms balcony or lanai.

Black and White Hawaiian Shirts
Black and White Hawaiian Shirts
What you will see depicted on Hawaiian shirts for men are the more traditional designs as found in tapa (a grid of squares, each of which contains geometrical patterns with repeated motifs such as fish, sea turtles and or native plants) and simple floral designs depicting native flowers.

What you wont see when visiting Hawaii is many locals or native Hawaiians wearing shirts with airplanes, pot leaves, motorcycles, etc. 

If your tastes are leaning Hawaiian, then choose a clothes with flowers or turtles. If your tastes are leaning Polynesian, Samoan, or Tahitian, then choose clothes with leaf images or tribal tattoos or petroglyphs.

Children usually wear t-shirts teamed with a swimsuit or trunks and of course flop flops. Many little girls will wear a children's Hawaiian dress with a simple print, in colors such as pink, red or blue. Keep in mind that children grow like weeds, so if you intend on buying children's apparel its best not to buy their outfits too early or you risk it not fitting. You can also dress the children in pants that have the same design as the shirt does. The children's outfits can even be matched to the rest of the family's clothing.

Women's Waikiki Blue Hawaiian Aloha Shirts
Women's Waikiki Blue Shirts
Hawaiian shirts for women are normally more feminine in color and the designs are usually quite flowery. Muted and or shirts with subdued designs or vertical patterns are also popular with the ladies.

The dress code for a Hawaiian island vacation is pretty non-existent and more in line with wear whatever you brought. Visitors will pack everything from shirts, to dresses to sarongs. If it looks like resort wear then its acceptable attire to wear in Hawaii.

Red Orchid Hawaiian Tube Top Dresses
Red Orchid Tube Top Dresses
One of the most worn garments in Hawaii are simple Hawaiian print sundresses. The ladies like them because they are very comfortable and easy to change in and out of.

If we were hard pressed for figures we would estimate that approximately 50% of the ladies wear button up shirts, tank tops or t-shirts and 50% wear Hawaiian dresses with footwear such as tennis shoes or light weight flat sandals.

Couples and family can also dress in the same print/color for their Hawaiian vacation. Red or even blue shirts teamed with khaki shorts is a good color choice that looks good on matching families. Regardless of what you chose to wear in Hawaii, there are 2 simple rules that you should follow. Rule number one: do not wear your Hawaiian shirt tucked in. Rule number two: do not wear socks with sandals or dress shoes with shorts.

Wave Shoppe has the latest Hawaiian clothing and offers same day shipping.  Next Day Express Delivery is also available at checkout

Uniqueness is what you get when you purchase a Wave Shoppe brand Hawaiian shirts. The majority of our designs are closed prints and are only available through our store. You will have peace of mind when you are packing for your Hawaiian vacation knowing that its very unlikely that you will be sitting on a airplane or standing next to someone in Hawaii that is wearing an identical design.

If you have ever spent the better part of your day picking out the perfect apparel for a trip to Hawaii or major function, only to arrive and see that others choose the exact same outfit, you will definitely know what we mean.

Hawaiian surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku and the Waikiki "Beachboys" at the Outrigger Canoe Club, Waikiki, Hawaii, 1963. Pictured on the left is Hawaiian surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku and the Waikiki "Beachboys" at the Outrigger Canoe Club, Waikiki, Hawaii, 1963.

Duke Kahanamoku is in the back row, towards the right, wearing a simple red and white Hawaiian shirt. (click the picture to enlarge it)

Want a live look at the Hawaiian shirts people are wearing in Hawaii? View live camera on Waikiki beach in front of the Duke Kahanamoku Statue.

We hope that everyone has an opportunity to visit the Hawaiian islands at least once.

Mahalo (Thank you)

Wave Shoppe Hawaiian Shirts

This site was last updated 12/11/14

What to Wear in Hawaii