Congressman wants Aloha wear allowed on House floor

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — A Hawaii Congressman wants Aloha wear to be allowed on the House floor on Fridays, a change from the current rule that requires full business attire.

U.S. Rep. Mark Takai, a Hawaii Democrat, said in a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan that he wants his fellow federal lawmakers to be able to observe Aloha Fridays just like Hawaii's Legislature. On Fridays, it's common for business people to wear Hawaiian shirts_the loose-fitting button-downs featuring flora, ukuleles, surfers, and other island themes.

Takai, the ranking member of the House Small Business Committee's Subcommittee on Contracting and the Workforce, wrote that allowing Aloha shirts would support small business and promote a custom that is unique to Hawaii. He said the modern Aloha shirt started being sold from a Chinese dry goods shop in 1931. By 1962, they were being promoted as workplace attire. Aloha Friday was officially set in 1966.

"Today, Aloha shirts are more popular than ever," the letter says. "What started off in a small store on North King St. in Honolulu is now a major fashion enterprise and a half a billion dollar a year industry."

But the request is about more than adopting casual fashion, the congressman said.

"The Aloha shirt is a tangible symbol of the Aloha Spirit - it embraces diversity, inclusion and friendliness that pervades throughout the State of Hawaii," he said in the letter. "Embracing the Aloha shirt will allow members to embrace the Aloha Spirit - something that Washington could use a little more of."

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