Many Fijians still dress very traditionally, though some of the younger generations do dress in more of a modern style as well. The clothing the Fijian people wear is lighter and more casual rather than formal and elaborate, also because of the islands’ warm and tropical climate.
The sulu, which is similar to the sarong or pareau, is the traditional clothing in Fiji. It grew especially popular among the Fijian people after the military coup of 1987. This native kilt is worn by both women and men, and the dress can be worn in many different styles, especially among women, so the sulu is also considered the trendsetter of Fijian clothing.
Fijian men wear these skirts to events, especially at ceremonial occasions and at work or school. Women generally wear skirts, while elderly women prefer skirts that fall down to their feet. However, younger women dress more in short-length skirts and dresses.
Though the Fijian people are quite easy-going, it is also important to show respect toward them. While you can wear bikinis and other more revealing clothing within the premises of hotels and resorts, you should cover up more when you are outside of these places to avoid offending the local residents. Both men and women should not wear shorts, and women should be careful not to show their shoulders and arms. If you need to cover up, you can wear a light jacket or sarong.
It is especially important to dress modestly when you are invited into a Fijian village. While in the village, you should also take off your hat, since wearing one is an insult to the chief. You should also leave your shoes outside of the door when entering a home. Keep in mind that it is offensive to touch the heads of both adults and children as well.
Packing clothing for your trip to Fiji
Fiji has a beautiful tropical climate, so you should pack light clothing. Light-weight long pants and long-sleeved shirts, as well as a hat, are especially recommended, for both modesty reasons and to protect yourself from diseases you can be exposed to through insect bites. A hat, sunglasses and sunscreen protect you from the harmful effects of UV sun rays, too. The evenings can get cool due to Fiji’s tradewinds, so bring a light jacket or sarong.