How to Dress Kids in Hawaiian Style


Hawaiian-style clothing is simple, comfortable, and a result not only of cultural influences, but also of the year-round sunshine that the islands are known for. Hawaiian-style clothing for kids is similar to the adult-size versions, so look for Aloha- and Polynesian-print fabrics, hats, necklaces, and flowers to get the look. Contemporary Aloha and Polynesian prints include flowers, canoes, scenery, sea turtles (honu), fish, boats, and palm trees. Bright colors tend to reflect the energy and vitality of children, so brightly colored prints and accessories are the best option for dressing kids in the Hawaiian style.

Hawaiian scenery
(kauai,Hawaii Poipu Beach image by W.Scott from

Things You'll Need

  • Aloha- or Polynesian-inspired shirts, shorts, or dresses
  • Sandals
  • Puka, kukui nut, makua, turtle, or flower necklace(s)
  • Coconut frond hat or straw sun hat
  • Fresh or artificial plumeria, orchids, or carnations
  • Hair pins
Step 1

Choose shirts, shorts, and dresses with Aloha-print or Polynesian-inspired fabric. Boys and girls can wear traditional Hawaiian button-down shirts, which are generally available in a variety of prints and colors. The shirts can be paired with khaki pants, shorts, or skirts. Girls can also wear Aloha- or Polynesian-print dresses or muumuus, which are long, formless dresses.

Aloha shirts
Tropical Shirt II image by Sophia Winters from
Step 2

Look for simple and comfortable sandals, or "slippers," as they are called on the Hawaiian islands. For formal occasions, boys can wear closed shoes, such as slip-on dress shoes.

Sandals or "slippers"
on the beach image by Joy Fera from
Step 3

Accessorize to complete the Hawaiian look. Children can wear puka shell, sea turtle, makua, or shell necklaces. Makua necklaces have a fish hook charm and represent good luck and prosperity. To feminize the Hawaiian style, girls can don jewelry with flowers, such as the hibiscus or plumeria. Traditionally, kukui nut leis or necklaces are worn by boys.

Shell necklace
beads from sea shell image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from
Step 4

Top off attire with greenery. A freshly woven coconut frond hat will add authenticity to the Hawaiian-style outfit, but if you don't have one, choose a basic straw sun hat for both boys and girls. Fresh or artificial flowers can be used to make a flower lei for boys and girls, or girls can place flowers in their hair and secure them with pins. Plumeria, orchids, and carnations are the more popular variations of flowers used in the islands.

pink frangipani image by giemgiem from

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