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Aloha Style: What to Wear to a Luau in Hawaii

Hawaiian couple running on the beach while enjoying a luau.

Imagine you’ve just landed in Hawaii. As you drink in the gorgeous scenery, the excitement of attending your first Hawaiian luau builds. But what do you wear to a luau? Don’t worry! I’ve got you covered with these tips to ensure that you look fabulous and feel comfortable at this iconic Hawaiian celebration.

Attending a Hawaiian luau is a can’t-miss experience. These vibrant, festive social gatherings are a staple of Hawaiian culture, known for their delicious food and traditional entertainment. But if you’re scratching your head over what to wear to a luau, fear not. Whether you’re a fashionista or someone who values comfort over style, this guide will help you find the perfect outfit for your luau adventure.

What to wear to a luau in Hawaii: A Guide

    

Have You Attended a Hawaiian Luau?

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A sign welcoming guests to a Hawaiian luau.
Photo Credit: YayImages.

What is a Luau?

A Hawaiian luau is more than just a party — it’s a cultural experience steeped in history. Originating from ancient Hawaiian feasts, luaus today are celebrations that blend traditional Hawaiian customs with modern festivities. Expect a night filled with traditional Hawaiian food, music, hula dancing, and an atmosphere of aloha.

What to Wear to a Luau

When dressing for a luau, think vibrant, comfortable, and culturally respectful. Comfort is key in the Hawaiian climate, so select loose, breathable fabrics like cotton, linen, or rayon. Remember, luaus are casual special events, so the dress code supports a laid-back vibe. And because the focus is on having a memorable time with friends and family, don’t worry too much about perfecting your luau wardrobe.

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Luau Looks for Women

Women can dazzle in a colorful sundress or flowy maxi dress. Pair a bright tank top with a patterned sarong or palazzo pants for a more casual look. And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try a Hawaiian print jumpsuit? Whatever you choose, embrace the Hawaiian vibes.

Luau Looks for Men

Men who are wondering what to wear to a luau can sport a Hawaiian print shirt paired with linen pants or nice shorts. Or, for a more modern look, try a linen button-up shirt with chino shorts

Luau Looks for Kids

Kids should don Hawaiian outfits that are cool and comfortable. Girls can wear bright sundresses or a Hawaiian print top with shorts. Boys can mirror the men’s style with mini aloha shirts and shorts. Remember, luaus are family friendly, so dress your kids in something that they can play and move around in.

A man in a hawaiian shirt giving a thumbs up, showcasing the perfect attire for a luau.
Photo Credit: Depositimages.

Hawaiian Shirts

The quintessential Hawaiian clothing, known locally as the aloha shirt, symbolizes the islands’ laid-back culture. Vibrant colors and bold, tropical prints characterize these shirts, often featuring floral patterns, ocean scenes, or island motifs.

Originally made from silk or cotton, modern Hawaiian shirts come in various fabrics, ensuring comfort in the warm Hawaiian climate. When choosing a Hawaiian shirt, look for one that reflects your personal style while resonating with the festive spirit of a luau.

Types of Hawaiian Shirts

Hawaiian shirts come in a wide range of styles, from traditional designs featuring native flora and fauna to more contemporary patterns with abstract prints. Classic shirts often have a looser fit and are adorned with tropical flowers like hibiscus, orchids, or birds of paradise.

You might find shirts with less conventional designs, such as geometric patterns, or even whimsical elements like surfboards or vintage cars, for a modern twist. The key is to balance comfort, personal style, and respect for Hawaiian culture.

Other Options Besides Hawaiian Shirts

If Hawaiian shirts aren’t your style, plenty of other options exist. A plain linen shirt in a light color can be both stylish and comfortable. Polo shirts or casual button-downs in solid colors or subtle prints also work well. For those who prefer a more understated look, a simple t-shirt paired with appropriate bottoms can still capture a luau’s casual, festive vibe.

Pants and Shorts

When it comes to lower body attire, comfort and climate appropriateness are key. Lightweight cotton or linen pants are excellent options for men, offering comfort and style. Shorts are also popular, especially cargo or chino type, which are practical yet stylish. Women can opt for light, airy pants or capris, perfect for staying cool and comfortable.

Hawaiian woman with flower in her hair enjoying the beach at a luau.
Photo Credit: Depositimages.

Dresses and Skirts

For women, Hawaiian dresses and skirts are fantastic choices for a luau. A flowy maxi dress or a knee-length sundress in a tropical print is both stylish and suitable for the occasion. Skirts, whether long or short, should be comfortable and easy to move in, considering the dancing and activities often involved in a luau.

Choosing the Right Dress or Skirt

When selecting a dress or skirt, consider the fabric and fit. Breathable materials like cotton or rayon are ideal. The fit should be loose enough to allow for movement, especially for dancing. In terms of prints, tropical or floral patterns are perfect, but don’t hesitate to choose solid colors that help a fresh flower lei take the spotlight.

Floral Patterns and Colors

Floral patterns are synonymous with Hawaiian attire. Look for vibrant colors and bold prints that reflect the Hawaiian islands’ natural beauty. Popular choices include bright blue, sunny yellow, lush green, and vivid red. These colors not only resonate with the tropical environment but also add to the festive atmosphere of the luau.

Other Options for Women Besides Dresses and Skirts

If dresses and skirts aren’t your personal preference, consider a pair of palazzo pants or a jumpsuit. These options can be equally stylish and are often adorned with tropical prints or in bright colors. A simple blouse paired with a pair of shorts or capris can also be an excellent choice for a more relaxed look.

A seamless pattern of pink flowers on a dark blue background perfect for a luau outfit.
Photo Credit: YayImages.

What Prints Should You Choose?

Embrace the spirit of Hawaii with tropical prints. Floral patterns are always a hit, especially those featuring hibiscus or palm leaves. Bold, bright colors reflect the joyous nature of a luau. However, avoid overly stereotypical or culturally appropriative luau attire – it’s about celebrating the culture, not creating a caricature.

Two yellow flip flops with a flower on the grass, perfect for a luau.
Photo Credit: YayImages.

Footwear for a Hawaiian Luau

Think casual and comfortable. Simple sandals or basic flip-flops are ideal for both men and women. If you’re aiming for a bit more style, women can opt for espadrilles or wedges, but remember, you might be walking on grass or sand. And, if you opt for mat seating, removing your shoes is a customary sign of respect, so it’s best to wear shoes that are easy to slip off and on.

A woman placing a flower lei around a luau guest's neck.
Photo Credit: YayImages.

Accessories for a Luau Outfit

While selecting your attire is important, another element of luau fashion holds a more profound cultural significance: the lei. This beautifully fragrant wreath is more than a floral accessory. Deeply rooted in Hawaiian culture and tradition, leis symbolize affection and respect given to guests as they arrive at the luau. This tradition, which involves the gentle draping of the lei over the shoulders, accompanied by a kiss on the cheek, is a warm Hawaiian welcome that embodies the spirit of aloha. 

Further accessorize your outfit with flower hair clips or a woven hat. And remember a light shawl or cover-up for the evening breeze.

Wrapping Up Your Luau Look

Dressing for a Hawaiian luau is all about embracing the spirit of the islands with comfortable, vibrant attire. Whether you’re swaying to the rhythm of the ukulele or enjoying the delicious luau feast, the right outfit will enhance your luau experience. So, put on that floral print, slip into your sandals, and get ready to immerse yourself in the joyous Hawaiian celebration. 

What Do You Wear to a Luau?

I’d love to hear from you! What’s your go-to luau look? Do you have any tips for first-timers on what to wear to a luau? Share your recommendations and thoughts in the comments section below.

A tropical paradise with palm trees swaying in the breeze and a vivid blue sky overhead.

   

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1 thought on “Aloha Style: What to Wear to a Luau in Hawaii”

  1. Floral prints are a must at beach parties! I also opt for linen or cotton fabrics because they’re light and comfy to wear, especially when you’re out in the sun!

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