One of the most frequently asked questions, to Hilton Head Island Concierges is; “do we have to dress”. The obvious answer is simple and always the same, of course you have to dress; there are ordinances against nudity on Hilton Head! Chris Katon, co-owner of Aqua Grill and Lounge, one of the island’s premier eateries, is fond of saying (with his “hand in the cookie jar” grin), “shoes and shirts required – pants optional”. Callahan’s, a popular New Orleans Road watering hole, proudly posts a sign reading; “men without shirts will not be served, women without shirts will not be charged”.
All joking aside, “dressing for the occasion”, on Hilton Head, is pretty much governed by the common thread of thought that people on vacation (especially vacation on a resort island) rarely pack suitcases with evening gowns, suits and ties and a practically never bring tuxedos. There are those, in fact, who have reportedly sought to introduce legislation which would permanently out-law the wearing of neckties or bow ties within the town limits! “Island Attire” has become not only a new term to describe a code of dress, but also, acceptable apparel at just about any Hilton Head venue. In fact, dress codes are more stringent on the golf courses than they are at the overwhelming majority of island restaurants: All golf courses require players to wear shirts with collars, whereas most restaurants are happy to see patrons wearing any kind of shirt at all; especially clean ones that aren’t covering wet bathing suit tops!
“Island Attire” is basically relaxed golf course attire. A dry T-shirt (preferably a clean one, void of logos, pictures of demons or foul language) is, more often than not, acceptable. When in doubt, throw on a polo or golf shirt or, the islands most popular: Hawaiian (or tropical) print, button front, short sleeve shirt – tails out! For the fairer sex, practically any top on the conservative side of lewd is perfectible acceptable. Short pants are fine for anyone, just about anywhere, and shoes, as might be expected, are always required; with sandals being the most popular footwear on the island. If you should find yourself in doubt of what appropriate dress may be just remember; you are on vacation and everyone here knows it. Don’t you remember “Tacky tourist Day” in high school?