What To Wear In Hawaii

Jet-setting to a foreign destination is a common fantasy that most people share. In the top 10 list of places to visit, Hawaii is definitely up there. Romanticized by pop culture, it’s the tropical paradise often forgotten as an American state. 

It’s a great place to visit if you’ve had your fill of the Las Vegas strip or Seattle’s Cloud Gate. Home to poke, festive luaus, and scenic beaches, it’s only natural to dress appropriately for such a culturally diverse island. 

While it’s common to don the classic Hawaiian shirt, you’ve probably clicked on this article for more innovative ideas. Dressing for tropical destinations requires some originality, creativity, and of course—practicality.

You don’t want to wear a stifling pair of Levis in 30-degree weather. 

So, what should you include in your Hawaii packing list? To help reduce vacation anxiety, we developed a helpful guide for trendsetters.

We’ll show you what to wear in Hawaii using 10 outfit ideas. Hopefully, by the end of this article, our readers will understand: 

  • What to wear to a luau in Hawaii 
  • What side to wear flower in hair Hawaii
  • What to wear hiking in Hawaii 
  • What are some Hawaii clothing essentials 

What To Wear In Hawaii

Hawaii is a tropical destination famous for its beaches, scenic views, and warm weather. Due to the humidity, it’s common to wear summer-appropriate clothing as a more comfortable alternative. 

If you’re wondering what to pack for Hawaii, we suggest a mix of skirts, dresses, tees, shorts, and tank tops. Insulated garments, such as sherpa-lined jackets and wool pants, should be left at home.

With that being said, we do recommend bringing a rain jacket, considering that it gets pretty wet in Hawaii. 

In some instances, you may be introduced to the hula skirt or flower lei. It’s worth noting that wearing these types of garments can be considered cultural appropriation. If you are interested in learning about Hawaiian traditions, we suggest asking a local. 

I’m sure that most tourists are keen on seeing these customs practiced as intended, as opposed to trying them on in person. In that case, it’s always a good idea to support the local arts community. 

Without further ado, let’s jump into this ‘what to wear in Hawaii’ guide. From floral dresses to linen pants, we’ve got fits for all genders to enjoy. 

5 Outfit Ideas To Wear In Hawaii For Women

I don’t know about you, but I sweat pretty easily. I don’t fare well in warm weather, especially if the day calls for 30-degree humidity. For those who suffer the same fate, a matching linen set can help you stay cool during the heatwave. 

This type of material is quite breathable, which helps prevent excessive perspiration. This outfit consists of a front-tie top, elasticated shorts, and headwrap as a complementary accessory.

This is what to wear in Hawaii for those who can’t stand sweltering weather conditions. 

If you’re wondering what to wear on vacation in Hawaii, how about this stylish set? Composed of a midi-cut ruffled skirt, a white crop top, and gladiator-style sandals, it’s the perfect look for picnics and scenic walks. 

Plus, this ensemble makes for a great beach cover-up, as the petticoat comes with a nifty waist tie. We highly suggest topping the look off with a puka shell necklace and a pair of cool shades. 

There’s nothing more exciting than jet-setting off to a foreign destination for your bestie’s wedding. Aside from scenic views and great food, travel posits a unique opportunity to dress extravagantly. 

Take, for instance, this jaw-dropping dress from Agua Bendita. Made out of cotton silk, this romantic number features an intricate pattern of floral accents. The draped effect on the front further accentuates the look.

Plus, it provides the illusion of a cinched-in waist. If you’re wondering what to wear to a wedding in Hawaii, this is the outfit to opt for. 

Sure, you can spend the rest of your summer vacation surfing and snorkeling—but you can’t leave Hawaii without completing a scenic hike.

The region is home to lush, tropical fauna, impressive volcanoes, and rolling green hills. Plus, it acts as a nature bath if you reside in a bustling metropolis. 

In terms of clothes, we recommend a loose tee, a pair of form-fitting biker shorts, trainers, and a bucket hat for added protection.

If you’re wondering what to bring to Hawaii, we suggest adding a fanny pack for hiking excursions, as backpacks often lead to soreness and slouching. 

While it may seem counterintuitive to wear pants in 30-degree weather, linen culottes are considered more breathable than jeans.

Loose in silhouette, these bottoms are free, loose, and comfortable for Hawaiian heat waves. 

The tie-up blouse and the statement earrings help provide that needed ‘oomph’ to the outfit. For those in need of Hawaii packing list female necessities, they should totally include a rattan bag and a pair of low-heeled sandals to the mix. 

If you want to wear a flower as a hair accessory, we suggest fashioning it on the right side, as the left symbolizes marriage and unavailability. 

5 Outfit Ideas To Wear In Hawaii For Men

Floral tees practically scream ‘I’m jet-setting off to a tropical destination.’ If you’re blessed enough to visit Honolulu, we suggest wearing this fashionable outfit.

Composed of a printed button-down, yellow shorts, and white Converses, it’s the perfect look for those wondering what to wear in Hawaii men. 

The sunnies paired with the cream fedora act as the final cherry on top. Without it, the ensemble borders on ‘suburban barbeque’ rather than ‘cocktails on the Maui beach.’

Speaking of printed tees, this vibrant number is devoid of flowers but decorated with palm leaves instead.

Tropical, fun, and perfect for casual use, this outfit reinvents the cheesy tourist button-up into a Vogue-approved moment. 

It’s paired with shorts, runners, a matching bucket hat, and white socks to help break the monotony of black and yellow. We think this is a notable contender in our ‘what to wear in Hawaii’ series, don’t you agree? 

I get it; outfit coordination doesn’t always have to be a runway moment.

But, I’m guessing that most of you want to look stylish, but without the unnecessary effort. In that case, we recommend this simplistic outfit. 

Considered a great example of basic styling, this ensemble features a pair of white shorts, an oversized green button-up, cream socks, and dad shoes. The sunnies and the yellow crossbody bag make or break the OOTD.

Without them, the ensemble is at risk of looking too cheesy. With an outfit as practical as this, you should have no problem figuring out what to wear in Hawaii. 

Shorts are not for everybody, which is why we included this alternative fit in our ‘what to wear in Hawaii’ guide.

Featuring a pair of linen bottoms and a red pinstripe button-down, it’s the go-to ensemble for trendsetters who prefer the minimalist aesthetic

If you intend on visiting the beach with this look, we suggest swapping your sneakers with Birkenstocks instead. In terms of accessories, a cream-colored tote bag and a pair of sunnies can help elevate this ensemble to a 10. 

Retro stripes imbue the best summer vibes. Cheesy in silhouette, this 90s-inspired outfit features a multicolored shirt, a pair of light wash denim shorts, Nike socks, and matching trainers. 

The piece de resistance is the glasses, as it provides that final touch of Prince of Bel-Air fuzz that the ensemble is going for. Perfect for surfer boys, poke joints, and window shopping, this is certainly a look to consider in our ‘what to wear in Hawaii’ lineup. 

What Types Of Hawaii Outfits Can You Get?

There is no strict Hawaiian dress code. But, given the weather conditions, it requires you to plan more carefully when it comes to packing. Tourists usually bring comfortable, breathable clothes, such as shorts, tees, and dresses. 

But, if you’re a veteran trendsetter, chances are that you prefer a unique take on wardrobe basics. Below, we’ll show you what to wear in Hawaii by featuring a few popular styles to consider:

  • Shorts and the classic button-up: Considered a styling basic, this simple combo can easily be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion. We suggest playing around with different colors or patterns if you desire a bit of pizazz. 
  • Monochrome outfits: The easiest way to tackle the ‘what to wear in Hawaii’ question is to opt for a matching set. With that being said, we don’t recommend wearing all black. Instead, whites, yellows, and creams are better suited for warmer climates. 
  • Floral dresses and skirts: Nothing screams tropical vacation than a peony-printed gown. If the garment comes with self-ties, it can make for an excellent beach cover-up. 
  • Oversized tees with biker shorts: Not only is this outfit comfy and casual, but it’s practical enough for hiking. We recommend topping the look off with a pair of running shoes. 
  • Linen pants and crop tops: Did you skip leg day? If so, you can always swap your shorts with linen pants instead. Since most bottoms are offered in a high-waisted cut, it’s best to wear crop tops instead of full-length shirts. 

How To Choose The Best Hawaii Outfit

Shopping for vacation clothing requires the same level of consideration as ‘everyday’ garments. We don’t recommend shopping at fast-fashion retailers unless you’re on an extremely limited budget. 

Stores like Shein, Romwe, and Zaful aren’t renowned for their quality. Plus, you’ll probably encounter a few loose threads, thinly made fabrics, and raw seams if you opt for one of these places. Perusing the designer route isn’t the best option either, considering the price tag. So, with that in mind, how exactly do you choose the best vacation outfit? 

For one, it’s not about the brand. It’s about the buyer and the garment in question. Responsible shoppers consider 5 things when purchasing new clothes: price, quality, material, fit, and breathability. 

Premium fabrics, such as cotton, linen, chiffon, and silk are pretty durable when under stress. Plus, they’re quite comfortable to wear in 30-degree humidity.

If you’re jet-setting off to Hawaii, it’s important to pack loose clothing to help prevent sweating. This means staying away from stiff denim, canvas, wool, and leather. 

Fit isn’t exclusive to body-con silhouettes. You’re free to wear oversized clothing, as long as it compliments your figure and doesn’t hinder your movement.

Shoppers can easily test this by conducting some simple stretches and bends in the try-on stall. I know, it may seem silly to do, but it’s essential to ensure a perfect fit. 

You don’t have to spend an excessive amount of money on vacation clothing. Depending on what you already own, we suggest a $300 budget for some decently-made pieces.

Within your shopping excursion, make sure to include a cute bikini set or a pair of swim trunks for those inevitable beach days. 

How To Style Your Hawaii Outfit

Sometimes, the best way to tackle the ‘what to wear in Hawaii’ query is to address accessories first. A few trendsetters prefer to base their outfits around a necklace, a hat, or a unique bag.

If this sounds like a good idea to you, here are some ways to style your vacation ensemble:

  • Dainty jewelry: Hawaii posits a unique opportunity to surf, snorkel, and swim to your heart’s content. If you hate taking off accessories, we suggest wearing dainty bling instead of statement pieces. Just be sure that they’re tarnish-free and come with a reinforced backing. 
  • Hats: The Hawaiian sun is cruel and unforgiving. To prevent heat strokes, we suggest donning a straw hat, a baseball cap, or a bucket hat to keep you cool. 
  • Espadrilles and tennis shoes: Beaches call for rattan accents, sandals, and simplistic shoes. We don’t recommend wearing socks if you’re walking on sand. 
  • Incorporate beach cover-ups in your everyday ensemble: For those wondering what to wear in Hawaii women, we suggest transforming your scarf into a top or a wrap skirt into a fashionable dress. The options are literally limitless. 
  • Sunglasses: Of course, our list wouldn’t be complete without a pair of sunnies. Take this an opportunity to have fun with frames, whether that be aviator-style or cat-eye. 

Fashion Tips To Avoid With Your Hawaii Outfit

The tourist aesthetic is not a fashion statement. In fact, it’s a style that should be avoided at all costs. As we mentioned before, there is no strict dress code in Hawaii, but there is some fashion faux pas that you should take note of.

To mitigate embarrassment and distasteful stares, here are some tips to avoid with your vacation outfit. 

  • Cultural appropriation: We covered this in a previous segment, but regardless—it’s an important topic to discuss. Despite what pop culture says, you should never wear hula skirts, flower leis, and other traditional garments ‘lightly.’ It’s also important to respect one’s culture, as you should never mock their dress sense by adding onto stereotypes. 
  • Anything that’s wool: Hawaii gets pretty hot. Unless you love the look of sweat stains, we recommend staying away from wool, fleece, or any super warm fabrics. 
  • Cargo pants: Considered an intrinsic part of dad core and tourist fashion, cargo pants are just too cheesy to be made fashionable. 
  • Boots: Unless they’re for splashing in rain, you should probably leave your Doc Martens and Uggs for colder climates. 
  • Leather bottoms: Trust me, nothing’s cringier than a sticky pair of leather trousers in 30-degree weather. This also applies to motorcycle jackets as well. 

How To Take Care Of Your Hawaii Outfit

Let’s say you’ve spent a portion of your vacation swimming, hiking, and exploring. There’s a good chance that your clothes accumulated lots of sweat, debris, and stains along the way.

For those still on vacay day number 2, here are some ways to take care of your Hawaii outfit at the hotel:

  • Request laundry services if your clothes require deep cleaning. 
  • Handwash your garments in the bath using lukewarm water and a bit of soap.
  • Line dry using the bathroom towel rods. 
  • Separate swimwear with regular clothing using a plastic bag. This is especially important if you swam in saltwater or a chlorine bath. 
  • Stick smelly clothes in the fridge. I know, it’s a weird way to remove smells, but it works. Just make sure to take it out before the cleaning lady arrives. 

Best Places To Buy A Hawaii Outfit

So, you finally bought that $500 plane ticket to Hawaii. Depending on your budget, you probably have a bit of money left over to purchase new clothing.

If so, here are some recommended places to shop before you board your flight:

  • Urban Outfitters
  • The Girlfriend Collective 
  • Free People 
  • Reformation 
  • Etsy 
  • Nordstrom 
  • Moda Operandi

Final Thoughts

Jetsetting to a tropical destination is an exciting moment. If it’s Hawaii, you can look forward to scenic beach days, picturesque hiking trails, and lots of great food. 

For the average trendsetter, it provides a unique opportunity to wear something fashionable.

Whether it’s VSCO, classic streetwear, or Californian summer girl, there are dozens of aesthetics to consider

We’ve featured 10 outfit ideas for vacationers to wear. We included the best-of-the-best, so rest assured you’ve got OOTD inspiration to last for days. Hopefully, you’re one step closer to figuring out what to wear in Hawaii. 

Looking for more jet-setting fashion inspo? We’ve got you covered:

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