The muumuu // or muʻumuʻu (Hawaiian pronunciation: [ˈmuʔuˈmuʔu]) 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. Muumuus for local Hawaiian residents are more subdued in tone. Muumuus 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. Muumuus 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 wears muumuus exclusively.
- 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. Homer can wear the muumuu from the episode in the 2003 video game The Simpsons Hit and Run.
- 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, portrayed by actress Ann Warn Pegg, wears a blue muumuu. Later, a snake is seen going up through her muumuu.
- In Ernest - Nice Mumu Mrs. Johnson by Jim Varney as Ernest P. Worrell.
- In the video game Undertale, the character Toriel is said to have once worn a flower-patterned muu-muu; others complimented her by saying "nice muu-muu", but she assumed everyone was calling her a cow, so she never wore it again. The dress itself is never seen, however.
- In The Wolf of Wall Street, titular character Jordan Belfort riles up his employees by giving them the scenario of overweight wife dressed muumuu in a lemon car after shopping in a low cost grocery store.
- 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, p. D.1
- Bill Griffith (2008), Marketing Through Minefields, Harvard Business Press, p. 87, ISBN 978-1-4221-9992-3
- Media related to Muumuu at Wikimedia Commons
- Housedress (muumuu), 1970s, in the Staten Island Historical Society Online Collections Database