Resort Casual Attire

Woman in resort casual wear

For many travelers, the words “resort casual attire” make them nervous because of their uncertainty about the proper dress requirement. However, packing for vacation or a cruise does not have to be problematic, as most resorts and cruise ships have a common definition of this dress code.

Definition of Resort Casual Attire

The level of formality of resort casual attire varies according to the venue or cruise ship, but as a general rule, the type of clothing worn to a country club or upscale restaurant is considered appropriate. It is wise to avoid extremely short dresses and shorts and ultra-revealing clothing. For day looks, opt for dresses or skirts, skorts or walking shorts and blouses or tops. Eveningwear runs the gamut from evening pantsuits to cocktail dresses to ball gowns depending on the event and venue.

Types and Colors

Bright colors, pristine whites and lightweight fabrics are all signature hallmarks of casual resort wear. Beautiful floral prints and primary colors like red, blue, and yellow dominate the palettes of most designs. Some wonderfully breathable fabrics to consider are cotton and cotton blends, linen and flax, silk and silk blends, and knit fabrics. These fibers wick moisture away from the body and keep you cool and comfortable no matter where you travel or vacation.

Due to space limitations when packing, most individuals plan their wardrobes around tops and bottoms, and opt for mix-and-match separates so they can look like they are always wearing a new outfit. Consider types like:


Depending on whether you are headed to a warm or cool location, you may include a cardigan, sweater, or summer-weight jackets for chilly nights. Include some pareos and shawls in tropical colors and prints, because you can use them to change the look of an outfit and extend your wardrobe choices.

For instance, wrap a vividly colored shawl low on the hips over bottoms, or create a halter top from a cleverly wrapped and twisted scarf, and you are ready to party on the beach or ship’s deck. Collared golf shirts, tanks and tees, and blouses are all appropriate resort wear choices. Choose packable, wrinkle resistant knits or blends for best results.


Capri pants, pants, and walking shorts are appropriate for casual resort wear. Skorts offer the best of both worlds because they give the look of a skirt with the convenience of shorts. Coordinated outfits look tailored and sharp, but do not be afraid to break up sets for better mixing and matching alternatives.


Sundresses, tank and tee dresses are cool but chic daytime looks. Dressy jackets over a white or black sundress create instant evening looks. Accessorize with jewelry and shoes for a polished look.

Shopping for Casual Resort Wear

Shop for resort wear at local boutiques, specialty stores and off-price stores, or patronize online retailers like these:

  • Patchington: Whether you need a new outfit for fun times in some tropical location or dress up for a formal event aboard a cruise ship, there is a budget friendly solution available from one of the many fabulous styles and designs at Patchington.
  • Women’s Cruise Wear: Fill your suitcase this stunning cruise wear and be ready for any event on your cruise or at the resort. Save money by shopping their closeout section, and spend your windfall on trip souvenirs.
  • Avenue: This just might be the ultimate one stop shop for all your resort casual and cruise wear needs. Pick out some mix and match separates or some new outfits, and finish the look with shoes, shape wear, and other accessories.

Finishing Touches

Finish the look of resort casual wear with accessories. Simple, inexpensive pieces like belts or shoes can add an instant designer look to ensembles without busting the budget. Here are some must-haves to consider:


Belts dress up or down an outfit based on their style and materials. For instance, an exotic material like alligator or snakeskin communicates elegance, while a chain-link belt conveys a more casual style. Use skinny belts to define waistlines or low-slung belts to disguise hips and midriffs.


Resort handbags in various styles and materials like hobos, satchels, totes, and bucket styles are perfect for daytime excursions and offer a convenient place to stash sun hats, sunglasses or sunscreens. Tuck a mini gold or silver evening bag in a corner of the suitcase for evening galas.


Sun hats can be fashionable as well as functional. Tie scarves around the brim to change the look and dress them up for different occasions. Crushable styles take up the least space and look great all day long.


Opt for multi-colored stones or beads when packing jewelry and get the most bang for your buck. These glittering beauties go with every color and look festive and tropical. Other good choices are neutrals like Lucite jewelry or classics like pearls.


Pack comfortable, fun styles for day and a pair of dressy heels for evening. Embellished and adorned flip-flops and thongs, with or with heels, or ballerina flats are great daytime looks. Kitten heel slides and strappy sandals are the perfect companions for hours of dancing under moonlit skies or late night intimate dinners. Remember, whether this is your first resort vacation or you are a veteran traveler, packing the appropriate resort casual attire and accessories ensures a pleasurable experience.

Putting It All Together

When the right elements come together, you can be confident that your resort wardrobe is the epitome of polished and comfortable sophistication. Experiment with accessories, colors and cuts to create a vacation wardrobe that is at once fun and functional.

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Resort Casual Attire