What’s Up With The Fez?

Tiki Kon 2017 Home Bar Tour

Standard attire for embracing the tiki lifestyle for guys is an aloha shirt. But another common item is the fez. Why is that? Is a fez “Tiki”? Let’s find out…

The fez is named after the Moroccan city of Fez. It is part of the traditional clothing of Cyprus, which is in the Middle East. The Middle East is as far away from Polynesia geographically and culturally as you can get!


So why are there men sipping Mai-Tai’s wearing a fez and an aloha shirt?

Duke and Lola of BossaNova Life at Tiki Kon 2017
Duke and Lola of BossaNova Life at Tiki Kon 2017

Americans have always been fascinated with any “exotic”. Before air travel became common, places like the Orient, the Middle East and Hawaii were places the average person would never get to see in person. The fact that everything about these exotic locations were so drastically different from what we knew here in the US made the allure that much greater. Martin Denny’s Exotica album pulls influences from all these exotic locations not just tropical islands in the South Pacific.

Martin Denny Exotica
Martin Denny Exotica

Many fraternal organizations like the Shriners adopted or borrowed some the iconography from the Middle East. Along with having temples the Shriners borrowed the fez as standard attire for its members.

The Shriners
The Shriners

Men’s fraternal organizations are still around but they were huge back in the 50’s and 60’s. This was the same time that Tiki was popular as well. For many people their love of Tiki stems from their love of mid-century. You will always find a fez for sale at an antique store and it is truly a piece of Americana.

The Shriners
The Shriners

Another subculture to adopt the fez as part of their attire… surf bands!

The Surfside IV
The Surfside IV

Retro culture became popular back in the early 90’s. There was a renewed interest in swing dancing, lounge and surf. Want your band to look cool, uniform and retro? Just have everyone wear a fez!

Surf Band wearing fez's

So, technically a fez isn’t tiki. It has nothing to do with Polynesia or Hawaii but let’s be honest, guys don’t have too many options when it comes to tiki fashion and some of us are bald! What’s a better accessory than a fez!

Fez-O-Rama at The Island Marketplace -Tiki Kon 2017
Fez-O-Rama at The Island Marketplace -Tiki Kon 2017

Looking to buy your own fez? Click here.

5 thoughts on “What’s Up With The Fez?

  1. Mark Whitehead

    What’s bald got to do with it?

    I’m bald, and I have a fair collection of fez’s that I almost never wear. If Imagonna wear a hat with my Aloha shirt, it’ll be either a canvas fedora, or a straw-like had of some style.

    • Ray Post author

      It’s funny. I’m bald as well but I don’t like wearing hats. At all!

  2. Devon

    Don’t forget the influence of Laurel and Hardy in “Sons of the Desert” where their two characters in a fraternal organization have to go on a “trip” to Hawaii (where, in actuality, they’re on the way to a convention).

  3. Trista

    And Peter has like 30 and never wears them. He should. People sure have fun with them at his party.

  4. BeemerBurner

    I take issue with the FEZ as Tiki attire.
    It has completely NOTHING to do with the recipes, the culture or the Countries that the ingredients come from.
    On the contrary, I take offense to those wearing a garment that represents a religion that prohibits the very behavior and attitudes of “Tiki” and in some countries, could lead to a death sentence!
    When I see someone wearing a Fez, I just shake my head….

Comments are closed.