• Can You Wear A Hawaiian Shirt To A Party

Can You Wear A Hawaiian Shirt To A Party

Last update: 2023-12-31

The Hawaiian shirt, sometimes called an Aloha shirt, is a casual style of shirt originating in Hawaii. It's known for its colorful patterns and designs, making it a fun and eye-catching garment. But can you wear a Hawaiian shirt to a party? Here's a detailed look at whether or not the Hawaiian shirt is appropriate party attire.

Key Factors to Consider When Wearing a Hawaiian Shirt to a Party

There are a few key factors to think about when deciding if a Hawaiian shirt is suitable to wear to a party:

The formality of the party

This is perhaps the most important consideration. Hawaiian shirts are very casual, so they're best suited to similarly laidback events. Backyard BBQs, beach parties, and other casual summer soirées are all great places to wear a Hawaiian shirt. However, for dressier affairs like cocktail parties, black tie weddings, and formal events, a Hawaiian shirt would be too casual.

Two young men dressed for a Hawaiian party

The time of year

Hawaiian shirts evoke a summery, tropical vibe. As such, they work best during warm weather months. Wearing a Hawaiian shirt to a winter party when everyone else is bundled up might look a bit silly. Save the Hawaiian shirts for summer parties.

The dress code

If a dress code is specified on the party invite, take note. "Casual attire" gives the green light for Hawaiian shirts. However, "cocktail attire" calls for dressier apparel, making Hawaiian shirts inappropriate. When in doubt, ask the host for clarification.

Your personal style

Consider your own fashion sense and what styles you feel most comfortable wearing. If Hawaiian shirts aren't typically your look, wearing one to a party might feel like an awkward costume. Stick to styles you genuinely like and feel confident rocking.

Handsome happy male in hawaiian shirt standing on the street looking at camera

Guidelines for Stylishly Wearing a Hawaiian Shirt to a Party

Okay, so you've decided a Hawaiian shirt is appropriate for the party. Excellent! Here are some tips for wearing it in a stylish, fashionable way:

  • Choose a shirt in colors and patterns that flatter your complexion and hair color. Avoid designs that are overly loud and busy.
  • Select a shirt that fits properly, not too baggy or tight. It should be trim but comfortable.
  • Pair it with neutral basics like flat front shorts or dark wash jeans. This balances the shirt's brightness.
  • Skip the socks and wear leather sandals, espadrilles, or slip-on canvas shoes. This enhances the casual vibe.
  • Finish the look with accessories like aviator sunglasses or a woven bracelet for a relaxed, vacation-ready ensemble.
  • Make sure the shirt is clean, wrinkle-free, and non-stained. Iron if needed.
  • Pop the collar for a chic touch. Just don't wear it buttoned all the way up - leave the top 1-2 buttons undone.

5 Situations Where a Hawaiian Shirt is Perfect for a Party

Here are 5 fun party scenarios where a Hawaiian shirt would fit right in:

Man standing on inflatable mattress and looking forward with friends sitting in the back. Group of men and women partying in the pool at night.

Backyard BBQ - A Hawaiian shirt adds festive flair to a casual BBQ gathering. Pair it with shorts and slip-on shoes for a comfortable, summery look.

Beach Bonfire Party - If the party is on the sand, a Hawaiian shirt is beach-approved attire. Wear it over a t-shirt or tank top and bring a hoodie in case it gets chilly.

Luau Party - This is one party where Hawaiian shirts should be abundant! Coordinate with the tropical luau theme by wearing a Hawaiian shirt in splashy colors and prints.

Summer Rooftop Party - A mid-summer rooftop mixer calls for laidback summertime apparel. A breezy Hawaiian shirt and jeans or shorts is the perfect outfit.

Pool Party - For an afternoon pool party, a Hawaiian shirt worn open over a swimsuit is a fun look. Bring a pair of flip flops and sunglasses to complete the ensemble.

Expert Opinions on Wearing Hawaiian Shirts to Parties

Here are some thoughts from fashion experts on how to stylishly wear a Hawaiian shirt to a party:

Group of friends having Hawaiian party in the evening near swimming pool. Two handsome men and three attractive young women in costumes having fun together. Summertime vibes.

"A Hawaiian shirt is like adding an instant vacation to your party outfit. Just keep the prints fun but not overly bold and pair it with neutral shorts or jeans. Finish with casual footwear like canvas slip-ons." - Stacy London, fashion consultant

"I love a Hawaiian shirt at a backyard BBQ or laidback summer gathering. Just make sure it fits properly. Anything too baggy looks sloppy. Also, unbutton that collar!" - Carson Kressley, television fashion expert

"Pay attention to the fabric. A silk Hawaiian shirt will look dressier and drape nicely, while a lightweight cotton style says ultra-casual. Print-wise, florals and nature motifs are safer than cartoonish or neon designs." - Clinton Kelly, fashion consultant

"Shorts are a must for completing a Hawaiian shirt party outfit. Flat front shorts in a dark neutral color balances the brightness up top. Add leather sandals or slip-on sneakers and you've got a winning summer party look." - Tan France, fashion designer

FAQs About Wearing Hawaiian Shirts to Parties

Are Hawaiian shirts too casual for parties?

Hawaiian shirts are quite casual, but they can work for more laidback parties like backyard BBQs, beach parties, and summer soirets. However, they aren't dressy enough for fancy cocktail parties, black tie events, or formal weddings.

What colors and patterns work best?

Aim for bright, summery colors in fun tropical prints like florals, leaves, and ocean motifs. Just avoid designs that are too large, neon, or cluttered. Patterns and colors that suit your complexion are most flattering.

Can you wear it buttoned up or open over a t-shirt?

Either styling option works! Button it halfway for a relaxed yet put-together vibe. Or wear it open over a plain tee or tank, which diffuses the busy print. Just don't button it all the way up.

What shoes do you wear with a Hawaiian shirt?

Casual, warm weather footwear complements a Hawaiian shirt best. Consider leather sandals, canvas slip-on sneakers, boat shoes, or flip flops.

Should you tuck a Hawaiian shirt in or leave it out?

Leaving a Hawaiian shirt untucked creates a relaxed, vacation-inspired look. If tucking it in, opt for fitted flat front shorts versus baggy cargo shorts. This streamlined silhouette looks sharp but still laidback.


The classic Hawaiian shirt brings a festive, summery vibe perfect for warm weather parties and gatherings. When styled fashionably, it can be appropriate party attire for casual soirees like backyard BBQs, beach parties, and outdoor mixers. Just be mindful of the event's formality, dress code, season, and your own personal style. With its fun loving spirit and breezy island aesthetic, the Hawaiian shirt is forever a stylish summer staple.

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