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With its laidback culture and casual dress code, Hawaii may seem like an odd place to wear business attire. However, for important meetings, corporate events, and professional settings, knowing how to dress professionally in Hawaii is key. The good news is you can look sharp without sacrificing comfort in the island heat.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Hawaiian business attire calls for lightweight, breathable fabrics like linen and rayon. Aloha shirts and dresses are acceptable, and you can skip the suit jacket and tie. Just stay polished from head to toe.

Traditional Business Attire with Tropical Fabrics

Traditional Business Attire with Tropical Fabrics

When it comes to dressing for business in Hawaii, it’s important to strike a balance between looking professional and staying comfortable in the tropical climate. One way to achieve this is by opting for traditional business attire made from lightweight tropical fabrics.

Lightweight Suits and Dresses

For men, lightweight suits made from breathable fabrics such as linen or seersucker are a great choice.

These fabrics allow for better airflow and help to keep you cool even in the warm Hawaiian weather. Pair your suit with a light-colored dress shirt and a tie, and you’ll be ready to make a professional impression.

Women can opt for lightweight dresses made from fabrics like cotton or silk. These fabrics are not only comfortable but also offer a touch of elegance. Choose dresses in neutral tones or vibrant tropical prints to embrace the Hawaiian spirit while still looking professional.

Breathable Button Downs and Blouses

If a suit or dress isn’t required for your business setting, a breathable button-down shirt or blouse is a suitable alternative.

Look for shirts made from lightweight fabrics like cotton or rayon that allow for better airflow. Opt for short sleeves or roll up your sleeves for added comfort.

Men can pair their button-down shirts with lightweight trousers or khakis, while women can pair them with skirts or pants made from breathable materials.

Remember to choose colors that are appropriate for your workplace, while still embracing the vibrant Hawaiian spirit.

Colors and Patterns of the Islands

Hawaii is known for its vibrant colors and beautiful patterns, and incorporating these elements into your business attire can add a touch of the islands to your professional look.

Men can opt for Hawaiian-print ties or accessories, while women can incorporate tropical patterns into their outfits through scarves or statement jewelry.

When choosing colors, consider the tone of your workplace and the message you want to convey. Bright and bold colors can exude confidence and creativity, while softer pastel hues can give off a more relaxed and approachable vibe.

Remember, while it’s important to embrace the Hawaiian culture in your attire, it’s equally important to maintain professionalism. Avoid overly casual clothing like shorts, flip-flops, or tank tops, unless specifically stated by your workplace dress code.

For more information on Hawaiian business attire and fashion tips, you can visit

The Aloha Shirt

When it comes to Hawaiian business attire, one iconic garment stands out – the Aloha shirt. Known for its vibrant colors, bold prints, and relaxed style, the Aloha shirt has become synonymous with the laid-back island lifestyle.

Whether you’re attending a business meeting, a conference, or a casual networking event in paradise, knowing how to incorporate the Aloha shirt into your outfit can help you look professional while embracing the spirit of Hawaii.

History of the Aloha Shirt

The Aloha shirt has a rich history that dates back to the 1930s. It was originally created by a Japanese immigrant named Ellery Chun, who wanted to make a comfortable and stylish garment for locals and tourists alike.

The first Aloha shirts featured traditional Hawaiian motifs, such as hibiscus flowers, pineapples, and palm trees. Over the years, the shirt’s popularity grew, and it became a symbol of the Hawaiian culture and lifestyle.

Did you know? The Aloha shirt was officially recognized as the “Aloha Friday” uniform in Hawaii in 1966. This allowed employees to wear the shirt to work on Fridays, starting a trend that eventually spread to other parts of the world.

Guidelines for Wearing

While the Aloha shirt is a versatile piece of clothing, there are some guidelines to keep in mind when wearing it in a professional setting:

  1. Choose a well-fitted shirt: Opt for a shirt that fits you well and flatters your body shape. Avoid shirts that are too loose or too tight.
  2. Stick to muted colors: When selecting an Aloha shirt for a business setting, choose one with more subdued colors. Avoid overly bright or flashy prints.
  3. Pair it with dress pants or a skirt: To maintain a professional look, pair your Aloha shirt with tailored dress pants or a skirt. Avoid wearing it with casual shorts or jeans.
  4. Accessorize appropriately: Complete your outfit with appropriate accessories, such as a belt, dress shoes, and minimal jewelry. Avoid wearing flip-flops or overly casual footwear.

Where it’s Acceptable

Aloha Shirt

The acceptability of wearing an Aloha shirt in a business setting can vary depending on the location and the company’s dress code. In Hawaii, the Aloha shirt is widely accepted as business attire, especially on casual Fridays.

However, in more formal industries or corporate environments, it may be best to reserve the Aloha shirt for more relaxed occasions, such as company retreats or team-building events.

It’s always a good idea to check with your employer or event organizer to ensure that wearing an Aloha shirt is appropriate.

For more information on Hawaiian business attire and fashion tips, visit Hawaii Magazine.

Accessorizing for a Hawaiian Look

When it comes to dressing professionally in paradise, accessorizing is key to completing your Hawaiian look. Adding the right accessories can elevate your outfit and give it a touch of tropical flair.

Here are some tips on how to accessorize for a Hawaiian look:

Hats and Light Layers

One accessory that is both practical and stylish in Hawaii is a hat. A wide-brimmed straw hat not only protects you from the sun but also adds a touch of elegance to your outfit. You can also opt for a colorful floral headband or a trendy fedora hat to add some personality to your look.

Another way to accessorize is by incorporating light layers into your outfit. A lightweight scarf or a sheer kimono can add a pop of color and help you stay comfortable in the warm Hawaiian climate. Choose fabrics like linen or cotton that are breathable and flowy.

Footwear Options

When it comes to footwear, comfort and style go hand in hand. Opt for sandals or flip-flops that are both comfortable and stylish. Look for designs with tropical prints or embellishments like seashells or flowers.

If you prefer something more formal, a pair of espadrilles or loafers in a vibrant color can add a touch of sophistication to your Hawaiian look.

For those who want to explore the adventurous side of Hawaii, consider wearing water shoes or reef shoes. These shoes are designed to provide traction and protect your feet while you explore rocky shorelines or hike through lush rainforests.

Tropical Accents

To truly embrace the Hawaiian spirit, incorporate tropical accents into your accessories. Consider wearing a lei, which is a traditional Hawaiian garland made of flowers or leaves. Leis are worn as a symbol of welcome and are a beautiful addition to any outfit.

You can also add tropical accents through jewelry. Look for pieces with seashell, pineapple, or palm tree motifs. Opt for vibrant colors like turquoise or coral to add a pop of color to your look.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match different pieces to create a unique and personalized Hawaiian look.

Remember, accessorizing is all about expressing your personal style and embracing the Hawaiian culture. Have fun with your accessories and let your personality shine through!

Grooming and Beauty Considerations

Hairstyles for Humidity

When it comes to choosing a hairstyle that can withstand the humidity in Hawaii, it’s important to opt for styles that are low maintenance and resistant to frizz.

One popular option is to embrace your natural texture and go for beachy waves or loose curls. This not only looks effortless but also works well with the island’s laid-back vibe.

Another option is to wear your hair in an updo, such as a bun or a braid, which can help keep your hair off your neck and prevent it from getting sweaty or frizzy.

Additionally, using products like anti-humidity sprays or serums can help control frizz and keep your hair looking sleek throughout the day.

Makeup That Lasts

With the warm and humid climate in Hawaii, it’s essential to choose makeup products that can withstand the heat and humidity. Opt for lightweight and long-lasting formulas that won’t melt or smudge easily.

Start with a primer to create a smooth base and help your makeup stay in place. For foundation, choose a lightweight, oil-free formula that provides coverage without feeling heavy on the skin.

Waterproof mascara and eyeliner are a must to prevent smudging, especially if you plan on spending time by the beach or engaging in outdoor activities. Don’t forget to set your makeup with a setting spray to keep it looking fresh and intact throughout the day.

Nail Polish and Pedicures

When it comes to nail polish and pedicures, the tropical vibes in Hawaii allow for a variety of fun and vibrant options. Bright and bold colors like coral, turquoise, and tropical pink are popular choices.

If you prefer a more neutral look, light pastel shades or nude tones can give your nails a fresh and elegant appearance. Consider getting a gel manicure or a shellac polish, as these tend to last longer and are more resistant to chipping.

Additionally, don’t forget to take care of your feet with regular pedicures, especially if you plan on wearing open-toed shoes or spending time on the beach. Moisturize your feet and keep your toenails trimmed and polished for a polished and put-together look.

Read more: What To Wear For Hawaiin Day?


Hawaii’s laidback culture doesn’t mean you can’t look professional for important events and meetings. Focus on lightweight, breathable fabrics and styles like aloha shirts that align with the island vibe.

Stay polished from head to toe and you’ll make a great impression, island-style.

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