31 Days of Life in my Hawaii Day 27:: Culture, customs and traditions: Aloha Friday

In many work places around the country, employers have adopted the idea of “Casual Friday” — one day in the week to dress more, well, casually than you do Monday through Thursday.

Did you know that this custom originated in Hawaii? Yep, right here in downtown Honolulu. It all started over 50 years ago, when Aloha Friday came into being.

After the war, around 1947, Honolulu businessmen decided to eschew coats and ties at work for the month between late October and late November, during which Aloha Week is observed. Instead, in the spirit of spreading the aloha, they wore aloha shirts — what people in other parts of the world call Hawaiian shirts.

After Aloha Week, they would go back to their traditional, mainland-style work garb, but over the next 10 to 15 years, the idea began to be floated that we should do more to celebrate and express our Hawaiian heritage, and make the whole aloha shirt-wearing deal more of a regular thing.

In 1962, state legislators adopted resolutions that would encourage the wearing of aloha shirts during the summer months, and by 1967 the state legislature and the Hawaii fashion industry had set it up so that every Friday, everyone had the green light to wear aloha attire — aloha shirts for the men, muumuus for the women — to work.

It’s come to the point where nowadays, for most working men, basically every day is Aloha Friday: a nice, crisply ironed aloha shirt, tucked into your dress pants, is pretty much the white collar working man’s uniform. (If you’re downtown and see a man in a dress shirt and tie, he’s probably a lawyer on his way to court. Or the defendant.)

Alas, women don’t take as much to muumuus as they used to, back in the day. I’m not sure why that is. For some reason their popularity among working women has fallen off dramatically; you hardly ever see ladies wearing them at work. On Friday or any other day. I used to have a closet-full of muumuus — my Friday wardrobe — but now I only have one or two, for special occasions.

The Coach, however, has lots and lots of aloha shirts:

And so do all his friends.

The guys always have something to wear on Aloha Fridays.

This is the twenty-seventh post in my series, 31 Days of Life in my Hawaii. Click here to get the links to the other posts in the series.

1 thought on “31 Days of Life in my Hawaii Day 27:: Culture, customs and traditions: Aloha Friday

  1. Debbie

    I’d wear one! Your hubby has a good assortment of shirts there. Nice to learn about the history behind casual/aloha Friday.


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