• Sat. May 8th, 2021


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At a nontraditional convention, some sartorial traditions endure.

Shirlene Ostrov was looking forward to her first convention.

As a Hawaii delegate and chairwoman of the state’s Republican Party, she was anticipating a trip to the mainland with five other delegates. After the in-person roll call in Charlotte, N.C., on Monday, Ms. Ostrov ended up in Washington, attending a limited program that was optional for delegates. Still, one tradition remained: the themed convention outfit.

Every four years, the various delegations make waves with clothing that shows off their home states. While many of Ms. Ostrov’s fellow delegates wore red, white and blue aloha-print shirts, she went with more traditional garb.

She wore a kihei, a ceremonial garment worn over the shoulder, in a pattern of an amau, a kind of fern, that she said related to President Trump and his administration.

“When a volcano erupts and lava flows over the land, this fern is the first fern to grow through the lava,” she said. “It’s a symbol of rebirth and growth.”

Ms. Ostrov wore a lei of shells from Niihau Island that she said were very rare: “kind of like Hawaiian diamonds.”