How to Dress for a Tiki Party

How to dress for a tiki party

When it comes to themed events a  tiki party is definitely in the top 10 of fun theme parties to attend.

Polynesia and Tiki culture have held a fascination for the public since way back in the 1930s, when world traveler Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gant opened Don’s Beachcomber Cafe in Hollywood.

And the trend continued to grow  based on several factors,  including soldiers stationed overseas during the Second World War who brought back souvenirs from Hawaii and other Polynesian islands , movies like South Pacific, From Here to Eternity and Blue Hawaii and the increase in jet travel, making the Pacific a more accessible tourist destination.

During the 50s and 60s tiki decor and music was all the rage.  Many homes had tiki bars where exotic cocktails were whipped up for parties and everyone had to dress in tropical attire.

Even today there is a large community of tiki culture enthusiasts, with large events held across the US.  I have gone to the Fort Lauderdale Hukilau in the past and it was a blast!

Here’s a list of the biggest and best. They’re held every year and they’re very popular, so attendees know to book way ahead of time.

Hukilau in Fort Lauderdale
Ohana, Luau at the Lake, Lake George N.Y.
Tiki Caliente in Palm Springs
Tikikon, Portland. Oregon
Tiki Oasis in San Diego, coming up August 18th.
Tiki Beach Festival at Long Beach, Ca. coming up August 20th.

So if you ever decide to attend a large scale tiki event or just a smaller local party at a restaurant, bar or a friend’s house,  you have to dress for the theme. And you can certainly throw on any old tropical print sundress, put a lei around your neck and be done with it.

But if you want to really get decked out (and why not, that’s half the fun!) then here are some style tips that will ensure you’ll be the talk of the tiki party!


 Of course, there is the traditional “muu muu”. Ho hum. But there are also many other Hawaiian or tropical printed options out there. And to really stand out you should try and put together an authentic vintage outfit or get yourself a vintage inspired dress and accessorize with vintage accessories.

Earlier vintage Hawaiian dresses are pricier due to their collectibility and rarity. But there are still some really cool choices from the later 60s and beyond that are more budget friendly.

Authentic Vintage

tiki party dresses1.  70s black and pink hibiscus print Hawaiian dress. 37b/27w $125 at VintageVirtuosa
2. 70s Alfred Shaheen Hawaiian Maxi Skirt-Size M. $48 from MorningGloriousVintage
3. 50s Kamehemeha Hawaiian sundress. 40b/34w $295. At PoshGirlVintage
4. 60s Paradise Hawaii sarong dress. 38b/28w. $225 at BlueVelvetVintage

Vintage Inspired

50s vintage inspired hawaiian dresses1950s inspired Hawaiian print halter  dresses , 100% cotton, boned bodices, and skirts with pockets!
Made in the USA. Available exclusively at Blue Velvet Vintage.


Go all out with kitschy, tropical inspired jewelry. Think seashells, pineapples, bamboo, tikis, hibiscus and orchid flowers.

tiki party jewelry

1.Red coral and bamboo bracelet. $68 at Revolving Door on Ruby Lane
2. Vintage enamel tropical flower clamper bracelet-  $25 at VintageMagnifique on Etsy
3.Retro tiki necklace and earrings set $49 at SummerBlueJewelry
4.Vintage seashell bracelet/earrings set $32. From
Vintage Gin on RubyLane
5. Pineapple earrings $34.99 VintageRamberg on Etsy
6.Vintage repurposed mother of pearl shell statement necklace. $35 at TimelessDesigns on Artfire

When it comes to the most fabulous shoes ever to complete a tiki party outfit, you can’t beat Lucky Lou. They’ve got a great selection and sell other accessories as well.  And Project Pinup is a site I discovered that has some beautiful tropical flower hair accessories.  And, don’t forget,  according to Polynesian culture wearing a flower on the left signals you’re married or in an exclusive relationship, on the right means you’re available!

tiki party outfit accessories1.Lucky Lou Rockin Tiki Stilleto $112
6. Lucky Gypsy Rose wedge $80
2.Rattan and seashell purse. $32. LulaLuxVintage on Etsy
3.Vintage Hawaii woven straw tote $65 at DesiredPath on Etsy
4 and 5. Project Pinup orchid flower hair clips

And last, but not least. No tiki party outfit would be complete without a yummy tropical drink made in a funky tiki mug like one of these from RetroPlanet.

Tiki mugs from Retro Planet



By | 2016-07-20T11:13:56-04:00 July 20th, 2016|Events, Fashion|6 Comments

About the Author:

Hi, I'm Theresa, owner and chief classy dame at the Blue Velvet Vintage online boutique. Lover of mid century fashion and home decor, classic films, Old Hollywood, pretty dresses, red lipstick, swing dancing and retro culture in general. Between my ecommere site and vintage style blog my mission is to revive the eras of classy dressing and inspire women to add more glamour to their lives! So don't be shy! I love to hear from others who share my appreciation of the styles of the past.


  1. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell July 23, 2016 at 10:39 am

    Totally agree, Jessica. Everything about tiki culture is just plain fun! And having a tropical theme party in the winter is guaranteed to cheer everyone up 🙂

  2. Avatar
    Jessica Cangiano July 22, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    Fabulous post! I love the tiki look and style. It’s imbued with so much cheerfulness that is really in keeping with my general style and outlook on life. Perhaps then, that explains why I tend to be most drawn to it during the dead of winter, where the world is usually so grey and chilly. Tiki wakes that situation up instantly and is the second best thing to actual trip to the tropics. 🙂

    xoxo ♥ Jessica

  3. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell July 20, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Aren’t those shoes fab? I’ve got a pair of their wedges. Bought them at the Hukilau one year actually. Lucky Lou had a booth there. They’re really cute and comfy too!

  4. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell July 20, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Does anyone in Toronto have tiki parties? If not, maybe you could start a trend. Tiki is pretty popular in Florida. Of course, we’ve got the palm trees, which helps create the proper atmosphere!

  5. Avatar
    Vicki July 20, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    So many cute things. I do love anything tropical themed. And those Lucky Lou shoes are great. Really unique. I wouldn’t need a tiki party to wear them either. I’d be sporting those babies any time. Will have to check out their site.

  6. Avatar
    Suzanne July 20, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    This makes me want to seek out a tiki party to attend!


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