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What is a mu'umu'u?

Mary Kawena Pukui and Samuel H. Ebert in Hawaiian Dictionary define mu'umu'u as:

2. n. A women's underlap or chemise; a loose gown, so called because formerly the yoke was omitted (cf. mu'umu'u 1), and sometimes the sleeves were short. Cf. holokū.

As we know it today, the mu'umu'u is a casual version of the formal holokū (also known as a Mother Hubbard dress) first introduced to Hawai'i by the early Missionaries in the 1820's. The mu'umu'u was worn as a comfortable and loose undergarment and often as a nightgown or a dress to swim in. Later, with the introduction of printed fabrics, the mu'umu'u became a dress able to be worn on its own accord. For Hawai'i's people the mu'umu'u has held a place as the go-to dress for all occasions, from parties to work, church to community events.