The muumuu or muʻumuʻu // is a loose dress of Hawaiian origin that hangs from the shoulder. Like the Aloha shirt, muumuu exports are often brilliantly colored with floral patterns of generic Polynesian motifs. Muumuu for local Hawaiian residents are more subdued in tone. Muumuu are no longer as widely worn at work as the aloha shirt, but continue to be the preferred formal dress for weddings and festivals such as the Merrie Monarch hula competition. They are also frequently worn as a uniform by women working in the hotel industry. Muumuu are also popular as maternity wear because they do not restrict the waist.
Etymology and history
The word muʻumuʻu means "cut off" in Hawaiian, because the dress originally lacked a yoke. Originally it was a shorter, informal version of the more formal holokū. Holokū was the original name for the Mother Hubbard dress introduced by Protestant missionaries to Hawaii in the 1820s. The holokū featured long sleeves and a floor-length unfitted dress falling from a high-necked yoke. Over the years, the holokū approximated more closely to European and American fashions. It might have a fitted waist, and even a train for evening. As the holokū became more elaborate, the muumuu, a shortened version, became popular for informal wear.
In popular culture
- In the U.S. sitcom Three's Company, the character Helen Roper is exclusively seen wearing muumuus.
- In the comic strip Zippy the Pinhead, Zippy usually wears a polka-dot muumuu.
- In The Simpsons episode "King-Size Homer", after gaining 61 pounds in order to claim disability and work from home, Homer wears a muumuu, as his regular clothes no longer fit him.
- In Lilo and Stitch, Lilo is often seen wearing a red muumuu with palm tree leaves.
- Jonathan Coulton's song "Lady Aberlin's Muumuu" refers to a character on American children's television program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
- Jon Fishman, drummer of rock band Phish, is known for wearing a blue and red muumuu during live performances.
- In the animated US sitcom Drawn Together, Toot Braunstein wore a muumuu in the episode "Toot Goes Bollywood".
- In the movie Snakes on a Plane, Mrs. Bova, an overweight passenger portrayed by actress Ann Warn Pegg, wears a blue muumuu. Later, a snake is seen going up through her muumuu.
- Gary Luke and Susan R. Quinn, Americanisms: The Illustrated Book of Words Made in the USA (Sasquatch Books, 2003).
- "Muumuu". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
- Joan Burnham (March 24, 1960), "Show Will Trace Muu-muu Origins", Los Angeles Times
- David Daley (May 30, 2000), "Nothing Finer Than a Diner 'Zippy' Creator at Home in Shining Silver Palaces of Short-Order Food", Hartford Courant: D.1
- Bill Griffith (2008), Marketing Through Minefields, Harvard Business Press, p. 87, ISBN 978-1-4221-9992-3