Skip to content

Dressing for Hawaii

Basic rule: dress down, not up –– or you will stand out like a malahini (newcomer).

“Dressing up” for many who live in Hawaii amounts to putting on a tee-shirt and rubber slippers. So, pack casual, comfortable clothes, generally lightweight cotton and blended fabrics, especially permanent press and wash-and-wear clothing. Shorts and tee-shirts will help you blend right in with the kamaaina (locals). Natural fabrics are best.

Leave the evening gowns or coats and ties at home, unless you plan to frequent the more elegant dining rooms in the hotels. Even so, “Aloha wear” (an aloha shirt and shorts or slacks for men and the same or a muu muu dress for women) is acceptable almost everywhere. Lightweight sweaters might be a good idea during the winter months, though, if you’re from snow country, you’ll probably find it quite pleasant even without a sweater. There are no heaters in Hawaii… no need.

Comfortable walking or hiking shoes will keep you shopping, sightseeing and exploring through the islands in comfort. Thongs or rubber slippers will help your feet enjoy the balmy Hawaiian weather on your more casual and beach jaunts. Dress shoes are only required for more formal occasions or if you are on a working vacation.

The locals joke that a man wearing a suit and tie and dress shoes is either going to court or his own funeral! So, make it easy on yourself and pack lightly. Remember: dress down, not up.

The best way to dress for Hawaii is to buy in Hawaii: Big Island Shopping | Kauai Shopping | Maui Shopping | Oahu Shopping

Explore more Hints & Tips

Or plan your dream vacation through our Hawaii Travel Directory: Big Island | Kauai | Maui | Oahu