The History of Hawai‘i From Our Files: A Man’s Point of View On Fashion

For 133 years HONOLULU Magazine has kept its readers and advertisers at the vanguard of fashion, insight and fun. Starting out as “Paradise of the Pacific” in 1888 with a commission from King Kalākaua, we’re the oldest continually publishing magazine west of the Mississippi. Here's a look back at March 1961.


0854 001



Fashion changes over the years, in style and in philosophy. In 1961, HONOLULU’s fashion feature hinges on picks for women based on a man’s opinion. What the frock? “Needless to say, men, at least the ones women like to please … want a woman not only to look, but to be well-groomed,” HONOLULU writes. “If she is wearing a cotton dress they want it to be crisp, fresh and immaculate. In fact the immaculate look actually takes precedence over the sexy look on most men’s list.” It dives deeper into the specific styles men apparently prefer, nationally and locally. “Most men say they like clothes that are appropriate for the occasion, that fit well and that are not conspicuous, too tight or too fussy. … ‘Simple’ is a word a man often uses in describing the type of feminine fashion he prefers. … But, here in Hawaii, the majority of men seem to like the muumuu so long as it’s not worn all the time.” Well, the mu‘umu‘u might make a comeback, but a man deciding how often a woman wears it, that’ll stay in the past. Right next to leg warmers.


SEE ALSO: Comfy House Dresses From Local Designers


The article does state that women in Hawai‘i may not consciously strive to please men with their clothes, but shops during that time targeted these trends. As we roll our eyes far back, to the back of our heads, we also understand that fashion is always evolving. And, the pearls of wisdom we’ve learned along the way—what is important in a dress is the woman who’s wearing it—are threaded into the fashion we see today.


SEE ALSO: Mu‘umu‘u Month! It’s A Thing Now


In our spring style feature in the March issue, we celebrate the beauty of finding joy alone. Dressing up for a house party of one can be exciting, especially when there’s cake, confetti and the latest runway collections. And, no, no man was involved in selecting the looks we photographed. One wasn’t even invited to the party.



03 21 Fof Web Covers


Learn more about the evolution of covers in HONOLULU Magazine and Paradise of the Pacific: 125 Years of Covers, available at



Find more photos from Honolulu’s past every Thursday on Instagram @honolulumag.