One of the most popular activities in Maui is to attend a luau ceremony. In fact, almost everyone who has gone on holiday to Maui will try to convince you to attend this traditional ceremony. A luau is an important part of the Hawaiian culture and is usually held to celebrate special occasions with family and friends.

Aside from dancing and live music performances, a typical luau ceremony will also involve eating traditional Hawaiian cuisines, such as taro, salmon, and a wide variety of desserts. There are also fun games and a variety of entertainment to delight both adults and kids.

For those who are attending a luau party for the first time, one of the questions that we are often asked is what to wear to a Hawaiian luau. So, in this article, we’ll share some tips and suggestions on what both men and women can wear while having a fun evening out at a luau party in Hawaii.

1. Aloha Wear

The traditional aloha attire consists of colorful shirts for men and floral dresses for women. A typical aloha shirt for men features tropical prints that are usually bright-colored. Most of these shirts are collared and have short sleeves. They are often made of cotton or rayon and are very comfortable to wear under the Hawaiian heat. The aloha shirt doesn’t need to be tucked in when worn. It can be paired with khaki shorts, slacks, or any pants with light fabric. For those who are attending a luau ceremony at a luxury hotel such as those in the Lahaina and Kaanapali areas, it’s more appropriate to wear pants with your aloha shirt.

Women can wear any dress with floral prints for the luau ceremony. Of course, women can wear an aloha shirt too, but a dress is the most comfortable choice. A longer dress is more formal and is more suitable for luau ceremonies with a formal theme. Short dresses and breezy mid-length dresses are more popular in a casual setting. In the end, there are no right or wrong choices for the type of dress to wear to a luau. Most of the luau ceremonies in Maui will not impose a dress code for the guests, so you are free to wear any type of clothing you want. You can wear whatever dress makes you feel comfortable.

2. Traditional Hawaiian Clothes

Although the most popular clothing that you will see at a traditional luau party is the classic Hawaiian shirt and floral dresses, you’ll also find some people wearing more traditional Hawaiian clothing. For this look, women can wear the traditional long dress with floral prints, also known as the “muumuu” or muʻumuʻu. It is a loose dress worn by Polynesian women and hangs from the shoulder, so it’s very comfortable to wear. Just like with any traditional Hawaiian clothing, the muumuus have bright colored prints.

On the other hand, the traditional Hawaiian garments for men are the “malo” or loincloth, usually made of plant fibers. The malo is worn by wrapping it around the body and tying it in different ways. Nowadays, the malo is only worn by local men during ceremonial occasions, such as when performing at a luau ceremony.

3. Hawaiian Accessories

To complete your traditional Hawaiian look, consider accessorizing as well! Regardless of what outfit you choose to wear at a luau party in Maui, you can accessorize with traditional Hawaiian jewelry, such as a necklace made from puka shells. You can also drape fresh flower lei around your neck, although you will most likely be given a lei upon entering the venue. A single flower tucked behind the ear is also a popular Hawaiian accessory for women. Hawaiian tradition states that single women should tuck the flower in their right ear, while married women should tuck it in their left ear.

Ankle bracelets are also one of the traditional Hawaiian accessories that local women wear. These bracelets are made from different materials. However, the ones worn by locals are made from dog’s teeth or whalebone. When you go shopping at the local flea markets in Maui, you will find a wide variety of Hawaiian accessories at very affordable prices.

4. Footwear

When attending a luau party, forget about the dress shoes, heels, and sneakers. You don’t need to wear any of these. Besides, they won’t go well with your Hawaiian attire. Instead, wear a pair of flip-flops, slippers, or sandals. If you want to go bare feet, then feel free to do so! In fact, you will notice that the performers of these luau parties are not wearing any footwear at all. Of course, if you are not comfortable with the idea of going barefoot in the sand, feel free to wear a pair of slippers or sandals.

Do Luau Parties Have Dress Codes?

Attending a Hawaiian luau is one of the best things to do in Maui, especially for first-time visitors. You will not only witness fun performances, but you can also indulge in delicious Hawaiian foods, which are usually in the form of a dinner buffet. When it comes to the clothes to wear, remember that you are not obliged to wear Hawaiian attire. In fact, most of the luau parties in Maui do not have any dress codes, which means guests are free to wear anything they want. But if you want to get into the aloha spirit and make the most of your experience, have fun creating your perfect luau party look.

As you can see above, you have plenty of options when it comes to the clothes to wear at a luau. Women can put on a floral dress, while men can wear a colorful Hawaiian shirt. And if you are feeling extra festive, throw in some accessories as well to complete the look.

If you have not packed any Hawaiian clothing, don’t worry. You can go shopping at any of the shopping malls in Maui. Here, you will surely find affordable Hawaiian clothes that you can wear to a luau, from floral dresses to Hawaiian shirts, accessories, and flip-flops!