What to Wear in Hawaii This Summer to Give Away Beachy Vibes!

Nikethana. N
Nikethana. N Lifestyle
23 Min Read
By little plant on Unsplash

Summer is here, and so is the time to start your much-needed vacation and might wonder what to wear in Hawaii! Home to lush beaches and active volcanoes, the island state attracts people of all age groups, whether to soak in the sun and scenery or seal their vows. 

Hawaii is a mix of old and new, with a rich historical past and a modern finesse, consisting of adventure sports, finest restaurants, luxury resorts, and many more. 

In this article, let us dive deep into Hawaii and a more personalized styling guide of what to wear in Hawaii this summer,  curated by yours truly. So, grab a mocktail, and let’s get started!

what to wear in hawaii
Kauai Beach Aerial Shot by Karsten Winegeart 

1. Hawaii- The Earth’s Very Own Tropical Paradise

Hawaii, the beautiful archipelago state of the United States of America, has sandy beaches with breathtaking views. Nestled in the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is the only state of the U.S.A. to be located in the tropical region, with Honolulu being the island’s capital.

The state of Hawaii enjoyed sovereignty till 1898 but was later inducted into the U.S. in 1959. Some of the popular destinations in Hawaii are Maui, Kauai, Waikiki Beach, and Pearl Harbor. 

Hawaii has more than 100 stunning beaches and remains to this day a popular tourist and wedding destination for honeymooners and families alike. 

2. What Do People in Hawaii Wear?

Everybody is unique, and so are their styling preferences. The clothing styles are mostly incorporated with one’s culture and the country’s climatic conditions. For example, the wardrobe of an American is different from an African, as the U.S.A. is located in the temperate region, whereas Africa is located in the tropical region.  

As we all know, Hawaii is warm, humid, and sunny most of the year, so the citizens of Hawaii wear light dresses with boho and floral prints. Their clothes are mostly made of cotton and linen so that they can withstand extreme heat conditions. In ancient times, Hawaii was occupied by the Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands.

what to wear in hawaii
Rack full of clothes by Markus Winkler    On Unsplash

It mostly had a tribal population with people caring for necessities. The Hawaiian men used to wear malo (a type of loincloth), whereas the women used to wear pa’u (a type of skirt) paired with a rectangular shawl called Kihei.

Some of the accessories they combined their attires with are the kakau (tattoos) and lei (a flower garland). With European colonization and Christian missionaries denouncing some of the traditional attires worn by the Hawaiians, they have never disappeared from the hearts of the natives to embrace their traditional culture.

Tourists and Hawaiian lovers around the world soak in the Hawaiian spirit by opting for Hawaiian-themed dresses which are both convenient and elegant at the same time. 

3. Color Choices to Blend in Hawaii

A basic idea about the color wheel is important to pull off the perfect beach look. It is based on color theory, which showcases the relationship between primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. Cool colors will match in temperate areas, whereas warm colors will match in tropical areas.  

As Hawaii is located in the tropical region, you will paint the town red if you wear warm colors like red, orange, yellow, and pink. Try avoiding dark colors. Instead, wear animal-printed or graphic-printed shrugs to balance the bright colors. 

4. What to Wear in Hawaii- Wardrobe 101

As we all know that Hawaii is a tropical place, proper attire is important. The temperature on the island state is between 68 F and 87 F, with a dry and humid climate all year round.

With the clothing style varying from island to island and with endless wardrobe choices varying from event to event, proper styling is important to look both chic and comfy. 

Here are some of the dos and don’ts of what to wear the next time you visit Hawaii. 

4.1 Cotton or Linen Clothes

Always wear cotton and linen clothes. The cotton fabric has breathable fibers, easily absorbing sweat and making you more comfortable. Linen, too, is lightweight and makes you comfortable.

Both fabrics will protect you from the harsh UV rays and keep you cool as a cucumber. Cotton tees, linen shirts, tank tops, cotton shorts, linen pants, board shorts, cotton skirts, etc are some of the popular attire that makes you look uber cool in Hawaii.  

4.2 Light-Coloured Clothes

Remember to wear light-colored clothes for lesser absorption of sun rays. Floral and coconut tree prints are the most common styles in Hawaii. Both men and women can choose aloha-themed dresses to be more comfortable and to blend like a Hawaiian local. 

Vacation Outfit Ideas 2022 | What I Wore In Hawaii

4.3 What to Wear in Hawaii -Floral Prints

This is for the ladies out there. If you do not like tees and want something more feminine, try choosing cute blouses with floral prints. Crop tops, cold shoulder tops, and off-shoulder tops with floral prints are always timeless classics in the summer wardrobe. They can be paired with cotton shorts and pants and even look good with skirts. Floral printed jumpsuits and rompers can add flair to your summer collection.

Ladies, if you are wearing sleeveless tops or tank tops, consider wearing these different types of shrugs like floral cardigans, cropped shrugs, kimono shrugs, etc. Always choose shrugs or cardigans made of cotton or linen to look more comfortable and understated. 

4.4 Shorts for Men

This one is for men. If you don’t want to wear shirts in Hawaii, opt for vests with plain colors or aloha prints to rock the Hawaiian look. You can also opt for being shirtless in Hawaii, as there are no restrictions there.

4.5 Say No to Denim!

Never, ever bring your denim jeans or shorts for your Hawaii vacation. Denim fabric mostly traps the available heat and keeps you warm. As Hawaii has a hot and humid climate, wearing jeans or denim shorts will make you hot and sweaty, ruining your vacation.

Though jeans give a more comfy and laid-back look, it is not at all recommended to wear them while sightseeing or hiking in Hawaii. Instead, opt for linen pants, cotton shorts, and hula skirts that will look very on-brand!

A word of advice for everyone. Please don’t wear athleisure while sightseeing in Hawaii. It might not look elegant. Try using it for outdoor activities like hiking or bungee jumping, but not during casual outings. 

denim jacket fashion blue background
By Benjamin Voros on Unsplash

4.6 Swimwear

Who doesn’t love to swim in the breathtaking Hawaiian blue sea? So, before packing your good ol’ swimwear, bear this in mind; choose swimsuits or trunks with lighter colors, as they absorb less heat than the darker ones.

For a more fun vibe, opt for boho-printed or neon-colored swimsuits with good support for your private areas. Also, pack more than one swimsuit to avoid any hijinks! If you are confident with your body, consider wearing a bikini with floral prints to show off your curves!

4.7 Flip-Flops to Top it Out!

Regarding footwear, say goodbye to your loafers and high heels and say hello to flip-flops! As Hawaii has sandy beaches everywhere, wear sandals or flip-flops to avoid getting excess sand on your toes. You can also choose to wear sports shoes for hiking or sightseeing in Hawaii.

To indulge in the Hawaiian spirits, you can also wear their traditional rubber flip-flops called the ‘slippah’, to indulge in the Hawaiian vibe. As flip-flops are unisex, both men and women can wear them and look like a local! However, removing your sandals or flip-flops in some areas is best to immerse yourself in Hawaiian spirits. 

Vacation Outfit Ideas 2021 | What I Wore in Hawaii

4.8 Hats and Glasses!

Is not vacationing in Hawaii a perfect excuse to indulge in hats? Though wearing hats is not in vogue, summer hats are not going anywhere. Protecting ourselves from UV rays is very important, with the sun always shining in Hawaii. Combining sunscreen with summer hats will prevent sunburns and, in addition, makes you look elegant.

There are many types of summer hats to choose from; straw hats, visor hats, floppy sun hats, panamas, and many more, with multiple options for both sexes. 

The correct eyewear will go a long way to level up your laid-back and stylish look. As Hawaii is sunny all the time, protecting your eyes is important. So, opt for bigger shades with dark-tinted lenses for more protection. Polarized sunglasses, Aviators, cat-eye sunglasses, etc., are gender-neutral and will make you look cool while protecting you from the harsh rays. 

4.9 Accessories!

A dress without the necessary accessories is like a wedding without a bride and groom! As beachwear gives away boho vibes, the accessories should complement the dress. Shell necklaces, shell bracelets, pearl earrings, beads, etc., will elevate your look instantly.

For a more traditional Hawaiian vibe, try wearing a ‘lei’ or a flower garland made of carnations, jasmine blossoms, kika flowers, ginger blossoms, orchids, etc. You can also wear anklets made of sea shells and beads that look mermaid-chic.

Pack With Me For Hawaii | Tropical Vacation Outfits + Travel Must Haves

4.10 Straw Bags!

Regarding bags, try choosing straw and cloth tote bags instead of the bags that you use daily. Straw bags are appealing in Hawaii to give off beachy vibes. Also, try buying from the local markets to have more choices and to support local businesses.

Keep your phones in a waterproof pouch to prevent them from getting damaged while relaxing on the beach or swimming. Men can opt for backpacks but try to buy cloth bags to carry around.

You can purchase them all in local Hawaiian stores to support local businesses. But, if you have no time to shop, try nearby retail stores like Zara, H&M, Forever 21, Nordstrom, Allen Soly, Vanhuesen, etc to explore varied choices or order them on sale via Amazon or eBay.

assorted hats and bags display
By Kevin-lessy on Unsplash

5. What to Wear in Hawaii -Styling Tips to Look Good!

Hawaii is one of the best places in the world, with colorful events popping up here and there. The island state hosts various festivals around the year, oozing culture and tradition. Whether it is a local festival or your bestie’s wedding, here are some styling tips to avoid sticking out like a sore thumb at Hawaiian parties.

  • If you are attending a friend or a colleague’s wedding in Hawaii, a breezy cocktail dress is perfect for the ladies, and for the gentlemen, a suit paired with a plain or an aloha shirt is perfect. For a more casual approach, you can wear shorts or jumpsuits if the guests of honor approve. 

  • For the wedding couple, both the bride and groom should choose dresses that can be easily navigated in the sand, paired with boho accessories like pearls, sea shells, and beads, giving away beachy vibes! Flower crowns are also very popular among brides to look like a fairy princess on their special day. To match the bride, the groom can wear a lei adorned with tropical flowers or sea shells. 

  • Hosting bachelor parties in Hawaii is always the fan favorite. Isn’t it the best time to look sexy while spending the last night of your singlehood? Bandage dresses with floral prints and sarong wrap dresses are perfect for the ladies, whereas loose tees and aloha shirts and vests are one of the top choices of men’s outfits.

Hawaii Outfits Haul 🌺 | my first haul

5.1 Festival and Styling Tips!

  • While Hula dancing, women can opt for pa’au’ (skirt) and malo (blouse), with flower crowns and garlands. Leaf skirts are also common, paired with blouses. The men can choose aloha shirts or can choose to be shirtless. 

  • Hawaii’s most famous Honolulu Festival displays traditional Hawaiian culture. The festival celebrates the vibrant culture by showcasing Hawaii’s food, dance, and music. It is celebrated for three days, coming to a close after the Grand Parade and a fireworks display. To blend like a local, opt for sundresses and vests to party the night away. 

  • To appreciate the finer things in life, Hawaii hosts the International Food and Wine Festival in Maui, bringing together food and wine lovers worldwide. Rompers, jumpsuits, sleeveless dresses, and plain shirts paired with shorts or pants are perfect.

  • The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is for coffee lovers out there. The festival is conducted in November, celebrating the world-famous Kona coffee. Wearing Brown and cocoa-colored outfits while sampling Kona coffee will look so good!

  • If you want to explore the marine life of Hawaii, try participating in the Duke’s Oceanfest conducted in August every year. The festival kicks off with many water sports events like surfing, paddleboard racing, kayaking, water polo, beach volleyball, and many more. Basic swimwear will do the trick, but choose floral and aloha-printed swimsuits and trunks to accentuate your look. You can opt for traditional Hawaiian swimwear as well.

Aloha Festivals in Waikiki Hawaii

6. Beach-Friendly Bath and Body Care

Though beachwear will elevate your look, proper makeup and a good skincare routine will go a long way. Though you can avoid makeup, skincare is very important as exposing yourself to harsh sun rays while sightseeing or relaxing! The below-mentioned tips will benefit both men and women. Without further ado, let’s dive deep into the skincare wonderland!

  • The golden rule of all is; Always use sunscreen! Never skip it! Choose broad-spectrum sunscreen for full coverage. Repeat the process every 2 hours for enhanced protection. 

  • Ladies, In Hawaii, you can skip makeup. But you can use a lightweight CC cream to brighten your face. Instead of lipstick, use any flavored lip balm to nourish them and make them look plump at the same time. Choose waterproof eyeliner and mascara to avoid smudgy eyes. However, it is best not to wear them at all during the day. 

  • Men can opt for a face cream to brighten their faces. They can also use lip balm to prevent their lips from getting chapped. 

  • While attending night parties in Hawaii, women can opt for minimalist makeup. There is no need to go too crazy with the blush and the highlighter, as it might not work with beachwear. Men also can skip wearing any concealer or face powder to night parties.

spa essentials towel lotion candle flowers
By Camille Brodard on Unsplash

6.1 More About Bath and Bodycare Tips You Should Know!

  • Both men and women should never skip the 5-step skincare routine: Cleanse, Exfoliate, Tone, Moisturize, and SPF. The salty waters and the sandy air will make your skin super dry. So, please do not skip this. Also, give extra attention to the face than the skin. 

  • You might sweat a lot due to the weather conditions in Hawaii. So, use body deodorant often to feel fresh. Our recommendation is to use fruit-flavored deodorants to get into the beachy vibes. 

  • For a quick fix, make use of dry shampoo to remove dirt, oil, and excess sebum to give you a fresh look. 

  • After spending the day in the sand and sea, wash your hair to prevent breakage. Apply mild shampoo with a conditioner to lock the moisture and keep your hair bouncy.

  • Hawaii’s hot and humid weather can make your hair frizzy. Invest in a good serum to tame your curly hair. In addition, use frizz-free shampoos to elevate the effects. Also, men can apply beard oil to nourish their beard from getting dry. 

  • Regarding hair styling, use a 3-in-1 hair styler to pull off multiple looks. Gender friendly, both men and women can pull off multiple styles. But if you’re a rookie, try seeking professional help in your nearest beauty salon. 

  • In addition to a hair styler, pack with you a good hair dryer, as resorts or hotels might not provide them or might for a fee. 

There you have it, folks! We hope that the above-mentioned styling tips will help you plan your Hawaiian wardrobe hassle-free and that you might wow the Hawaiian locals with your fashion sense!

My Skin Care Travel Essentials For Beach vs Mountains | Super Style Tips

7. FAQs

7.1 What type of fabric is best to wear to Hawaii in summer?

Linen or cotton clothes are the best in Hawaii as it absorbs excess sweat and keeps you cool all day. 

7.2 Should I pack my denim jeans or shorts for Hawaii in the summer?

Well, you can. But we recommend avoiding them as denim traps heat and will cause discomfort in Hawaii, which is hot and humid all year round. Instead, try wearing cotton shorts and linen pants to look both comfy and elegant. 

7.3 What are some of the accessories to combine with beachwear?

Both men and women can choose accessories ranging from jewelry to sunglasses. Beaded chains, shell bracelets, lei garlands, flower crowns, etc, will elevate your look.

7.4 What colors go well in Hawaii?

Opt for brighter and lighter colors like pink, yellow, and orange. Combine dark shrugs or animal-printed shrugs with light vests to make your outfit neutral-looking. Hula skirts, jumpsuits, crop tops, etc., with such colors, are a huge hit. 

7.5 Can I wear aloha shirts and floral sundresses to a  Hawaiian Luau party?

Of course, you can! It is definitely on-theme and will make you the star of the party. Besides, the festival requires a casual look. 

7.6 Will my makeup last while vacationing in Hawaii?

It might last but opt for a minimalist or no makeup look. But do not ever skip using sunscreen and moisturizer.

7.8 Why is my hair so frizzy in Hawaii?

It is due to the high levels of heat and humidity. Condition your hair with a good shampoo and conditioner, and top it off with an anti-frizz serum. 


There are so many things to take into consideration while planning your trip to Hawaii and getting your perfect beachy days. Hope this article covered everything you needed to know, from styling tips to body care!

Last Updated on by Sanjana

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