What to Wear At a Resort

Are you heading out on an exciting vacation to a luxurious resort but are unsure of what to wear at a resort? You’re not alone! It can be a challenge to know what to wear during your resort vacation to make sure you are meeting the resort dress code while still showing off your sense of style. We want to help make sure that you don’t feel unsure of what to pack and can instead prepare for your vacation with a clear idea of what types of sexy designer bikinis and clothing are appropriate for wearing at a resort. The focus of your vacation should be having fun and enjoying your time doing the activities you love. Our informative guide on what to wear at a resort is designed to simplify your packing process and give you a baseline knowledge of resort wear that you can carry with you for all of your future resort vacations. Along the way, we’ll walk you through what resort casual is, the basics of resort dress code, and our top tips for how to dress at a tropical resort so that you look and feel your best while falling within the parameters of resort dress code.

What is Resort Wear?

Before we dive into the specifics of resort dress code, first we want to walk you through what resort wear is. If you’re on the hunt for information about what to wear to a resort vacation, you’ve most likely come across this term, but without any information about what resort wear is, it can be challenging to know how to interpret the information you are provided and why that information is important to know.

When you’re on a tropical vacation, we know you’ll want to be able to spend time in your favorite swimsuit lounging poolside, soaking up on the sun on the beach, and out on the town seeing the sights. However, when you are at the resort, you will have to be mindful of what type of dress code is in place and how that can shift during different times of the day and in different areas of the hotel. As you may already know, the hotel staff won’t want guests to be walking around in their bathing suits through the lobby. It’s always a good idea to wear shoes or sandals as well as a cover-up any time you are inside. Resort wear is clothing designed to be worn on vacation at a resort, such as out to dinner at one of the restaurants in the hotel or to a bar on-site with friends. At a base level, resort attire is the outfit that you wear over your swimsuit or once you are done with beach activities for the day and are ready to go out on the premises of the resort and enjoy the night. For men, this can mean clothing like collared shirts, a nice pair of pants, boat shoes, and dress shoes and for women, it can be resort dresses, rompers, beach skirts, linen pants, tops, a lightweight sweater, and more. Knowing what types of resort attire is appropriate is dependent on the resort you will be going to and what types of activities you’ll be partaking in while you are on vacation.1

When visiting a resort for your vacation, you want to be able to enjoy all of the activities and experiences possible, including the amenities and activities offered on-site at the resort. Some resorts have specific guidelines on what their guests must be wearing to be able to visit certain restaurants or participate in certain activities. For you to maximize your fun on your resort vacation, we want to make sure you have a suitcase packed with all of the clothes you’ll need to be able to go anywhere in the resort that you want and enjoy your vacation as much as possible. We always recommend consulting with your resort in advance of your departure for your vacation to check and see if they have any specific guidelines on the dress code that you should be aware of. We will break down some of the common dress code terminologies you may hear in the response from your resort below and what each of those means for your packing process so that you can avoid worrying about whether you packed the right types of clothing and footwear for your vacation and start enjoying your trip!2

The Basics of Resort Dress Code

When you think of a tropical vacation, the first thing that comes to mind is probably not the dress code at the resort, but thinking of this in advance can prevent stress and worry in the future or on your vacation. Once you know what the different resort dress codes are and what you are planning to do on your vacation, your packing process will be simple and you can focus on the more fun parts of preparing for your trip, like finding the perfect new bikini! Below we’ve broken down the basics of resort dress code to help you understand what different types of resort dress codes are and what types of clothing will fall within each category.

Resort Casual

One of the most common resort dress codes you will come across is resort casual wear, which is typically the dress code for most of the common areas of the resort. When you think of resort casual attire, we recommend having your frame of reference be whatever you would wear out to a casual restaurant for lunch with friends. For resort casual, you should be wearing clothing over your swimsuit and shoes, so think of it as a step up from what you would wear down at the beach. We think of ideal resort casual clothing as things like a fashionable swimsuit coverup, denim shorts and a cute top, jeans with a shirt, a flowy fun dress, or a fitted romper paired with stylish sandals, tennis shoes, or flats, to name a few. When it comes to this casual dress code, there are many different combinations of clothing you can wear so you can show off your unique sense of style.

Resort Evening Wear

In some resorts, restaurants, bars, and other establishments on the premises may require resort evening wear at night. What does this mean, exactly? Resort evening wear is one step above resort casual, which means ditching the shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, and flip flops. Instead, think along the lines of a beach mini dress, romper, or blouse with elegant pants or a skirt paired with fashionable strappy sandals or closed-toed flats. An easy way to think of resort evening wear is to consider the dress code as similar to going out to dinner with friends. What would you wear? Chances are that you have plenty of nice items that are perfect in your closet already that you can throw in your suitcase and be ready to head out for a fun-filled evening on your resort vacation.

Elegant Casual

The next dress code we want you to be aware of is elegant casual- although this one can be a bit of a misnomer. Elegant casual is another step towards being more formal than resort evening wear, despite the word casual in the title. Opt for dressing in slightly more formal clothing than you would for resort evening wear and make sure to elevate your footwear accordingly. If you’re opposed to heels or wedges, you can opt for a pair of pointed-toe flats or dressy sandals to still meet the criteria for this dress code. Think of elegant casual as how you would dress if you were attending a dinner at an upscale restaurant or a country club. You don’t have to be overly formal, but slightly more dressed up than you would be for a normal dinner out with friends.

Formal Resort Attire

The final resort dress code we want to introduce you to is formal resort attire. Formal and resorts seem to be at odds because when you think of a resort your mind more likely thinks of relaxing, tropical beach activities and swimsuits, but depending on what you are doing during your vacation, you may find the need for formal resort attire. One common example of a time for formal resort attire is if you are going to a destination wedding and attending a wedding at the resort. Another possible scenario is for an upscale special event that requires more formal clothing. For formal resort attire, think of the dress code as similar to that of a cocktail party. Skip the informal shoes, linen pants, tank tops, and shorts. Instead, opt for a fancy dress or fashionable pants/a fitted skirt paired with an elegant blouse. For footwear, we recommend wearing a heel (you can opt for a block or wedge heel for additional support) or fashion-forward flats to round off your outfit.3

Tips for How to Dress at a Tropical Resort

Now that you know the basics on different types of resort dress code and what types of clothing fall into each category, we wanted to introduce you to a few of our top tips for how to dress at a tropical resort to make your packing more efficient and keep you ready for any adventure.

  • Pack Versatile Options: One of the key strategies to be prepared for any resort dress code is packing items that are versatile and can be styled in a variety of ways to dress them up or down as needed. For example, a stylish yet comfortable, midi beach dress can be dressed down for a day at the beach by pairing it with slip-on sandals, a pair of sunglasses, and a hat, but can also be dressed up for an evening out at dinner with friends by pairing it with a light jacket and a pair of fashionable flats. Thinking through the different ways you can mix and match what you pack will help guide different outfits to wear during your resort vacation and keep your bag lighter.4
  • Prioritize Comfort: Have you ever packed a bag full of clothes you think are going to be great only to arrive on your vacation and find that you don’t feel truly comfortable wearing many of the items you packed? Just because you are on a tropical vacation, don’t stray too far outside of the clothing and footwear that you will feel comfortable and confident wearing. We want to make sure you look and feel your best and can enjoy your time on vacation. We recommend trying on various outfits at home as you pack to make sure you feel confident wearing them on your vacation and they will function well for the activities you have planned.
  • Bring a Cute Cover Up: Beach cover ups are a tropical vacation must-have because they will give you effortless style and a way to cover up your swimsuit at the resort as you walk around the common areas, while also being versatile and stylish for a variety of other occasions. Bonus: They are also lightweight and won’t take up much space in your suitcase!5
  • Remember to Have Fun: Vacation is a time to have fun! You can incorporate more light, bright, fun patterns and styles into your wardrobe to accommodate your tropical vibes. Don’t get too caught up in dress codes and packing lists that you forget to have fun and embrace your opportunity to travel, explore, and enjoy. If you pack a suitcase full of clothes that you feel fun, flirty, and confident in and can wear for a variety of occasions, you’ll be set to have a great vacation at an amazing resort and make memories that you’ll cherish long after you’ve returned home. 

For more advice on the perfect tropical attire for your next vacation, check out our beach attire guide to help you curate the perfect vacation wardrobe! As a final step, we’ve put together a beach bag checklist for you to quickly review in the hotel so you set out for your excursion prepared for whatever comes your way!