Hawaiian Attire for ABC Convention

When our president, program chairs, and I met in Hawaii, we discovered, quite quickly, that the standard business attire is very different than our standard conference attire. We agreed that it would be wise to modify the conference attire to meet the standards of the culture for many reasons: comfort, cost – in terms of travel weight, and a strong link to the theme of sustainability, among others. For a picture of another professional conference held in Hawaii and their discussion of dress, see–


While there will be no “dress” code, per se, the following guidance from a variety of websites seems to be useful.  If you have questions, please feel free to email/call ABC HQ.  Travel light; let’s have fun in Hawaii!

Business casual” for men in Hawaii

Due to Hawaii’s year-round warm climate, most workplaces in Hawaii allow “business casual” attire, because it doesn’t require long sleeves. It’s also the dress code you’ll most likely want to follow when going to a job interview in Hawaii. The standard “business casual” uniform is:

  • Button-down shirt (usually short-sleeved, but long sleeves are OK, too, if you prefer). Good-quality aloha shirts in muted colors and subtle patterns are popular. Depending on the workplace, good-quality polo shirts might be acceptable, too. But save T-shirts and “loud” aloha shirts for your days off.
  • Khaki pants or dress slacks – this depends on your workplace.
  • Covered shoes (oxfords, loafers) with socks. No athletic shoes, slippers (flip-flops), or other sandals.
  • If you need to dress a little more formally during certain parts of your workday (i.e. during a meeting with important clients), it is acceptable to put on a suit jacket or sports coat over an aloha shirt, but skip the necktie.
  • If you’re going to a job interview, wear a tasteful aloha shirt with dress slacks so you look “local.” The exception to this rule is if you’re interviewing for a job where you’ll sometimes be expected to dress more formally at work, like in law or finance – then you should probably wear “business formal” attire (see below) to the interview.

Shirts – especially in summer, you wear short-sleeve Aloha shirts. A good store to go to is Reyn Spooner or Tommy Bahama (the elegant ones). Shirts like those are generally $100 and represents the high end. You can go to Macy’s and spend less on other brands. If your budget is on the low end check out Sears. At any of those stores – they will help you with appropriate shirts. The less loud and more conservative the better.

  • Wear dress shoes with socks!
  • Khaki slacks or black dress slacks is the way to go.

Read more: http://www.city-data.com/forum/oahu/1634838-business-attire-honolulu-sales-apartments-how.html#ixzz27hmyAaXY

 “Business casual” for women in Hawaii

So what I have I learned from all of this? I think the Hawaii Business article is a good set of rules when standard “business attire” is called for. But if  “business casual” is what you’re after, I would make these amendments:

  • A formal “suit” is not necessary.
  • Dresses may be worn instead of a two-piece outfit.
  • Neutral and solid colors aren’t necessary.
  • Dressy sleeveless tops or sleeveless dresses are OK in Hawaii, as long as they don’t show too much skin (e.g., spaghetti straps, halter style, plunging neckline, gaping armholes, exposed back).
  • A jacket or cardigan cover-up is not necessary (unless you need to cover up too much exposed skin – see above).
  • Stockings are not necessary.

“Aloha wear” for women

And if “aloha attire” is called for (like on Aloha Fridays, or party invitation), consider the following:

  • Mu’umu’u is appropriate.
  • Another style of tropical-print dress is appropriate.
  • A women’s aloha shirt worn with dressy pants, dressy shorts, or a skirt is appropriate.
  • Any dressy two-piece outfit (top and pants, or top and skirt) that incorporates a tropical-print fabric is appropriate.
  • Sleeveless tops or sleeveless dresses are OK. The setting/occasion dictates how much skin can be shown (e.g., spaghetti straps are OK at a wedding, but not at work).
  • A jacket or cardigan cover-up is not necessary (unless you need to cover up too much exposed skin – see above).
  • Dressy sandals are appropriate.
  • Dressy shoes with more coverage (e.g., pumps) are OK, too.
  • Stockings are not necessary.
Hiromitsu Hayashida, President
Jim Dubinsky, Executive Director
Roger Conaway & Oliver Laasch, Program Chairs