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Fitting in: How to Dress like Hawaiians


Nothing’s worse than traveling somewhere only to stick out like a sore thumb. Blending in may be important to you because you want to make the most of the culture you’re exploring. Here are some tips to dressing like the locals do, no matter which island you visit in Hawaii.

1. Skip the suits and high heels. Likewise, leave the panty hose, formal dresses, ties and dress shoes at home as well. Yes, there will be nice restaurants you will want to dine at; however, even the nicest restaurants find sundresses and khakis with polo shirts perfectly acceptable forms of attire for both men and women.
2. Think loose, cotton and comfortable when picking out the clothing you will wear. Go casual for all outfits, and only bring loose-fitting, cotton clothing for plenty of circulation. That’s because this is a tropical climate that will leave you feeling hot and sticky pretty much all day if you overdo it.
3. Leave the socks at home. If you plan on going hiking, bring a good pair of sneakers and moisture-wicking socks but other than that, you will do just fine in open toe sandals and flip flops.
4. Bring swim shoes for snorkeling and beach activities.
5. Pick up some Hawaiian print shirts. It’s not just a cliché…locals really do wear Hawaiian shirts, AKA aloha shirts. An ideal choice of clothing for men, you can pair this loose-fitting shirt with shorts or khakis. The louder the better when it comes to patterns; there are no rules here.
6. Choose light colored T-shirts. Whether you go with plain or patterned, bring light-colored t-shirts such as white, yellow and baby blue, which all reflect the sunlight quite nicely. Leave the blacks and navy blues at home.
7. Go with sundresses. For women, sundresses are acceptable forms of clothing for just about any event, from lounging on the beach to shopping to dining out at night. You can bring longer dresses for nicer restaurants if you want, but leave the ball gowns in your closet.
8. Pick up an authentic grass skirt if you’re going to be taking a hula class. Don’t just throw any old top on, though; go with a solid or print bikini top. These classes are usually given right on the beach, so wear flip flops there and then go barefoot once you reach your destination.
9. Purchase jewelry made from native Hawaiian materials while shopping in town. These pieces of jewelry are sure to show off your outfits perfectly, so go with necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings made from shells, pearls, coral, koa wood, or coconut.
10. Don’t forget your lei! These festive fresh flower necklaces are a tradition in Hawaii, as you know, so complement any outfit with leis in a variety of brilliant colors, ideal for beach parties and luaus.

For a glimpse into the true Oahu and how we live, book a Circle Island Tours with Hoku Hawaii Tours today. We’ll show you what this island is all about, with tour guides that are happy to insert their own funny commentary along the way.