When you plan a big, extravagant trip, the first thing that tends to come to mind when the excitement of pressing “book” fades is “Oh wow…what do I wear?” Deciding what to wear to a resort or what to wear to a beach resort is an art form, and it happens to be one that we excel at.
Resort wear is one of our favorite genres because it’s fun, chic, light, and lets you bring some elegance and glamor to your hard-earned vacation. While things like weather and the purpose of your trip (destination wedding, anniversary) will play into the resort outfits that you choose, understanding the ins and outs of resort wear will help you select looks that honor the importance and excitement of your vacation plans.
Let’s start with the basics…
What is Resort Wear?
If you’re looking for a simple definition, resort wear embodies any ensemble that meets resort dress codes. Usually, outfits in this genre are reminiscent of something you would wear to a summer BBQ or beach bonfire. In short, they’re vacation clothes that look a little more sophisticated than your average beachwear or warm-weather looks.
The genre of resort wear was born in the 1960s. As air travel became more affordable and more people were able to travel to resorts and more exotic locations, resort wear gained real footing among designers and their clientele. In the beginning, resort wear was more basic and aimed to simply answer one question “what to wear to a resort?”.
When you think of Jackie Kennedy sipping mai tais in a gorgeous silk cover-up and larger-than-life beach hat…that’s classic resort wear. Like most clothing genres, resort wear has evolved over time, moving from daywear and beach looks to a category that encompasses evening wear and formal attire.
Most resort wear shares the following characteristics:
Fabric: Linen is a resort wear favorite, but even if your resort outfit is not made from this chic vacation favorite, chances are it features natural fibers that give you tons of breathability, flexibility, and comfort.
Fit: With a few exceptions, most resort outfits tend to be on the looser side, giving you that relaxed, flowy look that resort wear is famous for. While tighter fits have come onto the scene as resort wear has grown and evolved, the classic flowing look still reigns supreme as the ultimate resort wear vibe.
Color: Again, this rule is not steadfast, but resort wear tends to feature light colors that evoke feelings of calm and relaxation. We’re talking about white, tan, beige, yellows, oranges, and other colors that evoke images of lush plants, gorgeous sunsets, and breathtaking beaches. A classic resort look is also not afraid to dawn a bold pattern, bringing brightness, light, and energy into your vacation clothing choices.
What to Wear at a Resort: A How-To-Guide
When deciding what to wear at a resort, or what to wear at a beach resort, the first thing you should do is look at the weather. Like all things clothing-related, weather is your first bible to what’s going to work and what might not make the cut. Once you’ve done that, check to see if the resort that you’re staying at has clearly defined dress codes. Some resorts are strict no shorts, and no flip-flops outside of the pool zones while others are more lax about what you can wear around the property.
After you’ve looked at the weather and dress code, ask yourself “what is the goal of this trip?” If you’re traveling to a resort to celebrate a big life event or achievement, you may want to look at clothing options that honor the significance and formality of the moment. Conversely, if you’re simply taking a much-needed vacation and things are more casual, you will likely want to focus on looks that are more relaxed and informal.
Let’s talk more about resort wear dress codes. Like any event, resort wear dress codes fall into three basic categories:
Formal Resort Wear:
Formal and resort wear may seem like a misnomer, but this category is one of our favorites. Formal resort wear is a bit more relaxed than regular formal wear and gives you more options. Long dresses, jumpsuits, and even skirts with a nice, flowy blouse can work here with one caveat: do not show up to a formal resort event wearing sandals. It may seem tempting to wear a nice open-toed show to a resort-centered event, but wearing the wrong footwear threatens to bring down the elegance of your look and could accidentally shift you into a more semi-formal category.
Casual Resort Wear:
Casual resort wear looks and feels like other forms of casual clothing. In this category, sandals, bathing suits, shorts, t-shirts, and day dresses are all acceptable and as long as you’re not violating any “no shoes no service” guidelines, you’re free to dress like you would at any cafe, park, or beachside restaurant.
Elevated or Elegant Casual:
Elevated casual is probably the resort wear image that people are most familiar with. These are the looks that involve the button-down linen blouses paired with gorgeous flowy beige pants or capris.
Elevated casual resort wear takes the “casual” genre and just makes it a little more elegant. Day dresses would work here as would skirts with loose blouses or a nice top with a slightly elevated pair of pants.
Evening Resort Wear:
Evening resort wear is anything that you would wear to a nice restaurant or more formal dinner, but with a resort twist. Think maxi dresses with bold and bright patterns (floral looks are some of our favorites!), skirt/blouse combos, or a jumpsuit that serves vacation elegance in the purest sense of the term.
Since this is resort wear and not typical evening wear, depending on the venue and resort this genre could even include jeans and more casual dresses, but before erring on the casual side make sure to check your resort and see what the general feel of your destination ends up being.
Accessories Matter. When styling your resort outfits don’t be afraid to experiment with layered necklaces, bright and bold totes, and of course, flip flops that elevate and accentuate. We love bulkier, chunky pieces that bring light and energy to your overall resort wear look.
Fame and Partners: Better Clothes, Better Vacations
At Fame and Partners, we’re here to help you make your resort wear dreams a reality. Our collections are modern, fresh, chic, and diverse, giving you vacation looks for day, night, and everything in between. Our clothes are all made-to-order and 100% customizable which means that we design the looks and you make them your own. Neckline, length…the choice is yours.
Better clothes make better vacations. Wear life your way.