Save money on your next flight

Skyscanner is the world’s leading flight search engine, helping you find the cheapest flights to destinations all over the world.

Heading to a luau in Hawaii and wondering what the dress code is? You’re in the right place. With Hawaiians known for their casual and relaxed dress, luaus follow suit. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: wear bright, festive colors like Hawaiian shirts or sun dresses.

Bring a bathing suit and sandals too since some luaus feature fun water activities.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to dress appropriately and comfortably for an authentic Hawaiian luau, including specific clothing item recommendations for women, men, and children.

We’ll also provide tips on footwear, what to bring, and fashion faux pas to avoid at these Polynesian celebrations.

The Basics: Luau Dress Code and Attire

Aloha Shirts & Festive Sun Dresses Are a Must

When heading to a Hawaiian luau, be sure to embrace the festive spirit by sporting traditional island apparel. For men, aloha shirts in bright, floral prints set the mood. For women, don tropical-print sundresses or flowy maxi dresses.

Just make sure your luau attire is casual and comfortable – you’ll likely be on your feet dancing the night away!

Opt for Casual, Tropical Styles

Luaus are celebrations full of music, food, and good vibes, so dress accordingly. Stick to casual styles in breezy, lightweight fabrics like cotton, rayon, or linen. Tank tops, shorts, strappy tops, cropped pants, and gladiator-style sandals capture the essence of island style.

And don’t forget the floral hair clips, flower crowns, or festive leis! The more color and flair, the better.

Don’t Wear Anything Too Revealing

While Hawaii’s culture exudes freedom and acceptance, avoid showing too much skin out of respect. Revealing bathing suits, very short shorts or skirts, and transparent tops should be saved for the beach or resort grounds. The luau is a family-friendly event.

Keep your look tasteful – a sheer cover-up is a great way to stay stylish while keeping covered.

What Should Women Wear to a Luau?

Luau-Worthy Sundresses

When attending a luau in Hawaii, sundresses are a perfect option to stay cool and look stylish. Light, flowing sundresses made of breathable fabrics like cotton or linen allow the breeze to pass while soaking up the island vibes.

Opt for tropical prints featuring hibiscus flowers, palm trees, or even pineapples for an authentic Hawaiian look. Solid colors also work well, with bright hues like fuchsia, turquoise, or coral complementing the lush scenery.

Adjustable spaghetti straps offer versatility, as does a flared skirt that sways with your hula dance moves. Pair your sundress with sandals or wedges and a flower in your hair for luau-ready style.

Tropical Print Rompers and Jumpsuits

In addition to dresses, tropical print rompers and jumpsuits make perfect sense for a Hawaiian luau. These fun and flirty one-piece outfits provide comfort and mobility for participating in luau activities like limbo competitions or learning traditional dances.

Flowy wide-legged pants or shorts keep you cool in the island heat. Bold Hawaiian floral prints in vivid colors like crimson, lime green, and sapphire blue capture the lush landscapes and colors of paradise.

Whether a strapless jumpsuit or romper with handy pockets, adjustability is key for an ideal, personalized fit. Complete the look with plaited sandals, statement earrings, and a fresh flower crown or lei.

Swimsuits for Water Activities

Many luaus take place right on the beach, so wearing a swimsuit allows you to fully take part by swimming, snorkeling, or paddling an outrigger canoe. Flattering swimsuits like tankinis, cut-out one pieces, and sporty bikinis guarantee you’ll make a splash at the luau.

On-trend Hawaiian prints interest those wanting an island-inspired suit. Bright solids in shades like aqua, hot pink, and marigold complement sun-kissed skin. Mix and match tops and bottoms to find your perfect fit.

Swim skirts or sarongs add a touch of flow and coverage while retaining quick-drying functionality, allowing you to transition seamlessly from sea to shore. Water shoes safeguard feet during water play. Later, throw on a breezy caftan or cover up for luau festivities under the palms.

What Should Men Wear to a Luau?

When attending a luau in Hawaii, knowing what is appropriate attire can ensure males fit right in. Most luaus are casual events, but you still want to show respect for Hawaiian culture. Here are some top recommendations for men’s wear that will have you celebration-ready.

Bright Hawaiian Shirts

Aloha shirts, also known as Hawaiian shirts, are a quintessential luau staple. These brightly patterned button-ups allow you to channel the laidback island vibe. Go for designs featuring tropical motifs like hibiscus flowers, palm trees, surfboards, sea turtles, etc.

Not only will the vibrant colors and prints keep you cool in the balmy weather, but they make it easy to get into the festive spirit.

According to, today’s Hawaiian shirts are not just souvenirs but fashionable pieces handmade locally on the islands. When shopping, look for high-quality materials like rayon or silk. For an authentic touch, buy from Hawaiian brands like Tori Richard or Kahala Sportswear.

Khaki Shorts

You can’t go wrong pairing those Hawaiian shirts with khaki shorts or trousers. As luau attire tends to be casual, shorts allow you to stay cool and move comfortably between beachside activities. Opt for a lightweight, breathable fabric like cotton or linen.

Khaki is a great neutral that doesn’t distract from your statement top. Cargo styles work well too thanks to all the pockets for stashing sunscreen, etc. Just avoid anything too long or baggy.

For a smart alternative to shorts, khaki chinos or pants keep things polished but cool. Go for a slim or straight fit that falls above the ankle. This allows you to roll up the hems if you want fewer layers or need to wade into the water.

Swim Trunks If Getting Wet

Many luaus take place right on the beach, so wearing swimwear under your outfit is a wise move. That way you are ready to fully take part in any water activities. Most males opt for swim trunks in a solid color or simple pattern.

Having a quick-drying fabric like nylon is key so you won’t be soggy for long. For functionality, look for styles with an adjustable waist, side pockets, and mesh lining for support and comfort while swimming or paddleboarding.

According to a 2022 survey from Aqua Sphere, the most popular swim trunks for men are just above the knee in 7-9 inch inseams. Going for this versatile length allows you to seamlessly transition into and out of the water without needing to change.

So you can make the most of aquatic activities between hula dances and Mai Tai toasts!

What Kids Should Wear to a Hawaiian Luau

Matching Family Hawaiian Shirts

Coordinate matching Hawaiian shirts are a fun way for the whole family to get into the island spirit. Vibrant floral patterns in traditional Hawaiian designs look great in photos and convey the festive atmosphere. Breathable cotton or rayon shirts will keep kids comfortable in the warmth.

For variety, parents can opt for complimentary patterns rather than identical shirts.

Sundresses and Shorts for Girls

Girls will stay breezy and cute at a luau in bright sundresses or shorts outfits accented with flower hair clips and leis. Lightweight cotton sundress styles with tropical prints pair nicely with sandals. To be active with water play or hula dancing, athletic shorts sets allow freedom of movement.

Rash Guards and Swim Trunks for Water Play

Since many Hawaiian luaus feature fun water activities like pool time or ocean sports, UV protective rash guards and quick-drying swim trunks enable kids to splash safely. Bold prints with turtles or palms keep their ocean looks stylish.

Over 78% of family reviewers on Amazon recommend vibrant Kanu Surf designs for boys and girls.

Luau Footwear – What Shoes to Wear

Island-Style Flip Flops

When in Hawaii, do as the Hawaiians do! Opt for a comfortable and casual pair of island-style flip flops or slippers for a luau. Popular brands like Rainbow, Reef, and Olukai offer flip flops with soft, contoured soles and smooth leather or suede straps for all-day comfort under sunny skies or on the sandy beach.

Flip flops allow your feet to easily slide in and out of shoes between activities – from swimming and surfing to hula dancing under the moonlight. Their open style also ensures quick drying, preventing soggy shoes after water play.

Many flip flop brands have models designed specifically for wider or narrower feet for customized comfort and support.


In addition to flip flops, sandals make excellent luau shoes, providing a slightly more secure fit with straps across the toes or around the ankle. Opt for neutral colors like black, brown, tan, or white sandals to complement the bright colors typically worn to luaus.

Brands like Teva and Chaco offer sporty sandal styles made for hiking and outdoor wear, with features like sturdy traction soles and quick-drying webbing ideal for an active luau agenda. Or choose dressier leather gladiator or strappy sandals to dance the night away in island style.

Just beware of heavier sandal soles, which may weigh down feet while dancing hula!

Water Shoes for Activities

Many Hawaiian luaus take place at oceanfront resorts or beaches and incorporate water activities like wading into tide pools or taking an outrigger canoe ride. For luau adventures that revolve around the water, wear a pair of water shoes or sport sandals.

Water shoes have a tighter fit with thicker soles to protect feet on wet or rough terrain, while still allowing the shoes to drain. Their slip-on design makes them easy to kick off for swimming yet secure enough for light hiking.

When shopping, look for water shoes that quickly dry and feature antimicrobial properties to minimize odors.

Popular athletic brands for quality water shoes include Merrell, Keen, and Columbia. Or check out water-ready models from island-inspired companies like OluKai and Vibram for footwear perfectly suited to a Hawaiian luau celebration.

What to Bring to a Luau

Light Sweater or Cover Up

Even though Hawaii is hot, the breeze can get chilly after sunset when most luaus take place. Packing a light sweater, wrap, or cover up is a smart idea (temps can easily drop into the 60s). This will keep you comfortable as you enjoy the entertainment.

Choose something airy in a bright color or Hawaiian print to stay stylish.

Beach Towel

You’ll want a towel for sitting on the ground at a luau, which usually takes place outdoors on grass or sand. Although some luaus provide beach towels, bring your own for hygiene and comfort. An oversized, lightweight beach towel is perfect.

It dries quickly if placed on damp ground and gives you space to lounge. Fold it in half for ample padding beneath you.

Waterproof Camera

A luau often involves fun activities like hula dancing, fire knife dancing, lei making, and more. You’ll want to document the extravaganza with photos and videos. Bring a waterproof camera to capture it all without worrying about damage from ocean mist or accidental drops in the sand.

Great options include:

  • GoPro HERO11 Black Waterproof Action Camera
  • Olympus Tough TG-6 Waterproof Camera
  • SeaLife Micro 3.0 WiFi Waterproof Camera

Waterproof accessories like selfie sticks and floating straps allow you to safely take your camera into water activities while keeping it protected.

What Not to Wear to a Hawaiian Luau

Attending a luau in Hawaii calls for celebratory yet casual attire. While the atmosphere is lively and relaxed, there are certain fashion faux pas worth avoiding to show respect for Hawaiian culture and traditions.

Avoid Overly Revealing Styles

Luaus incorporate customs like the hula which can involve gracefully exposed skin. However, avoid exceptionally revealing shorts, miniskirts, tank tops, or bathing suits, which detract focus. The luau is meant for mindful celebration of community, not solely attention-grabbing antics.

Hawaii’s professional luau operators often prohibit overly exposed guests from entry out of cultural respect.

Skip Formal Wear

While luaus are milestone events, don’t confuse them with black-tie galas. Arriving in gowns, tuxedos, suits or dressy cocktail attire contradicts the casual, festive motif. Stick to breezy, colorful styles instead.

Luau guests across ages, backgrounds and body types aim to mingle comfortably while honoring Hawaii’s history. Overdressing detaches you from that cohesive feel.

Don’t Wear Heels or Dress Shoes

Luau grounds often incorporate sand, grass or uneven terrain unfit for precarious footwear. Consider Hawaii’s tropical climate and tendencies for relaxed merriment—activities like hula dancing thrive in flat, secure sandals.

While your temptation for height-boosting heels or polished oxfords is understandable, luaus require more versatile shoes. You’ll stick out rather than blend into the casually barefoot, flowy-clothed crowd. Pack sporty sneakers, flats or basic sandals instead to fully participate.

By avoiding skimpy, overly formal or tricky footwear, you’ll blend right into Hawaii’s celebratory luau culture. Respectful attire allows you to mindfully focus on the dances, cuisine, communities and customs being honored.


With Hawaiians big on casual comfort and festive flair, wearing bright colors and island styles is your best bet for a luau. Just be mindful of overexposure and avoid overly formal looks. Focus on breathable, tropical fabrics that can handle spills and moisture.

And don’t forget waterproof sandals and your bathing suit for splashing around at this iconic Hawaiian celebration.

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts