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If you’re heading off on a luxury resort vacation, you’ve probably seen resort attire mentioned in your brochure or on the resort website. Of course, you’ll be packing your swimsuit, coverup and flip flops for that Mexican beach or pool in the Caribbean, but maybe you’re not sure what terms like ‘resort casual’ and ‘resort formal attire’ mean. You might even be feeling worried that you’ll pack clothes that aren’t suitable for your resort vacation.

Don’t panic! 

My guide to resort wear for women will help you to pick out the right vacation outfits. I’ll explain the main categories of resort attire and which types of clothing to pack for each category, so that you’ll know exactly what to pack for a resort vacation.

Our simple guide to resort attire for women will help you pick the perfect resort vacation outfit for any and all resort holiday events.

A Simple Guide to Resort Attire for Women

Not sure about the difference between resort casual and resort elegant casual? We’ve got you.

Resort Casual

When you go on a resort vacation, you will wear resort casual attire most of the time, especially during the daytime. The resort attire for women casual dress code is the general standard for most of the resort and it looks pretty similar to how you would dress when you go out for breakfast or lunch with friends.  

Resort casual wear is the most informal style of dress. It covers anything from swimwear with a cute coverup to jeans and shorts with your favourite shirt or top, or a flowy summer maxi dress. Shoes can be flats, sandals, tennis shoes or even flip flops. Resort casual is also the most popular cruise wear style when aboard ship or on shore.

Feel free to show off your own personal style but make sure that you feel comfortable as well as stylish, so that you can relax and enjoy your vacation.

woman by pool with tropical drink

Evening resort wear

When the sun goes down at your resort, it’s time to ditch the shorts, t-shirts and flip flops and dress up a little. Evening resort wear isn’t very formal but it’s a step up from your resort casual clothing. 

Basically if the dress code is resort evening attire, you should pick something similar to what you’d wear for dinner with friends in the summer months. So you probably already have plenty of suitable outfits in your closet.

Slip on a gorgeous casual dress or romper, or wear your favorite linen pants or jeans with a fashionable top and some chic travel accessories to enhance the look.

You should swap your flip flops for a pair of strappy sandals or flats, but you probably don’t need to bring out your heels or wedges. Now you’re ready for a fun evening out at your resort!

Resort Elegant Casual

Elegant casual can also be known as smart casual, and as the name suggests, it’s a mid-point between casual and formal attire. You will want to pick out a slightly more formal outfit than you would normally wear for an evening out with friends. It might help to picture this as the sort of outfit that you would wear to a smart restaurant or for dinner at a country club.

Jeans would not be appropriate here but a pretty dress or a smart pair of linen pants or a skirt with a dressy top would be perfect.

Make sure that your footwear meets the smart-casual resort dress code as well. If you don’t love heels or wedges, then a pair of dressy sandals or elegant flats will still fit the bill for elegant casual resort attire.

Resort Formal Attire

You probably associate resort vacations with relaxing on the beach or by the pool so you might find it hard to imagine wearing formal resort attire. But there are some times when upscale resort wear is called for, such as a cocktail party, formal dinner or even a resort wedding. An event with a formal dress code means dressing to impress!

Resort elegant attire or a formal dress code at a resort is likely to involve wearing a smart dress or an elegant top and skirt or pants.

You’ll probably want to pair your elegant resort wear with a pair of eye-catching shoes. A block or wedge heel will give you some extra support but if the event is on a beach, you might prefer to wear a fabulous pair of strappy flat sandals instead.

women in pool with pink hat

A few final packing tips for a resort vacation

Now you know the different resort dress codes and what vacation clothes fall into each category. So here are a few extra packing tips for your resort vacation outfits:

Pack for comfort

Just because you’re going on a resort vacation, don’t think that you need to prioritize style over comfort.

Try on your different outfit combinations at home so that you know everything looks and feels great. Making sure that you’re comfortable with all of the outfits that you’ve packed will help you to feel confident when you’re wearing them on vacation. 

Pack for variety 

If you’re trying to minimize your packing list, make sure you pack some items that can be mixed and matched, and dressed up or down depending on the dress code.

For example, you might like to pack a dress that looks great with flip flops during the day, but which can be dressed up with some strappy sandals and accessories for evening resort wear.

Pack for fun

Don’t stress too much over dress codes. Your resort vacation should be a chance to embrace fun clothing with patterns and styles that have a tropical vibe. As long as you pack your suitcase with cute resort attire for women vacation outfits that make you feel full of confidence, you’re sure to look fantastic and have a great vacation!

Heading out on a winter vacation? Check out our guide to 11 cold weather gear essentials for women.

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Claudia Laroye
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