What Exactly is Resort Casual?

What Exactly is Resort Casual?

Well, this is a tough question in any concrete sense. While the attire is casual, resort casual is neither too casual nor too formal. Resort casual is like an upgrade above normal daywear but a step below formal evening wear. Resort casual is both relaxed yet has an understated sophistication to it that normal everyday wear lacks.

Resort casual is not about dressing up for a day exploring the beach (as much as we love wearing our bikinis) nor is it wearing a t-shirt and yoga pants. Resort casual clothing is also not wearing a cocktail dress and calling it day. Resort casual attire is both functional, yet stylish, understated yet just cool enough to be head-turning.

Resort clothing, in essence, is dressing up for an elegant dinner or evening out on the town that is both relaxed and effortless while being up-scale and classy.

When is Resort Casual Required?

As you begin to pack your suitcase for your trip, whether that’s a romantic honeymoon getaway or just to get out of the house to a fancy resort, it is obvious to pack appropriately and your wardrobe should be reflective of that.

Most cruise lines, resorts, or fancy hotels have some sort of dress code that falls into the category of “resort casual”. Mainly, this dress code is required when using specific facilities such as on-site restaurants or other activities. These types of dress codes are usually in place to allow those who dress appropriately to participate, whether that is eating a delicious dinner at the up-scale restaurant or something else entirely.

Some resorts such as Sandals have both a resort casual wear and a resort evening wear attire dress code that dictates how one should dress while eating at their establishments within the resort. Obviously, such codes may be different and vary from place to place, so it is always a good rule of thumb to check beforehand to make sure you are packing the correct attire to not miss out on any opportunities during your vacation or stay.

Just think of it this way; you would not want to be caught dead at a job interview in your pajamas. Resort casual or resort evening attire is supposed to enhance the overall experience of your vacation.

Difference Between Resort Evening Wear

While some places may only have a resort casual policy, depending on the location, others may have an additional dress code called “resort evening wear” for events, activities, or certain on-site premises. Usually, a resort evening wear policy is a bit more male-oriented, as women’s resort evening wear is a bit more relaxed.

Usually, women’s resort attire can function as both resort casual and evening attire given the wide range of options you have at your disposal. A resort casual outfit can easily be upgraded by swapping out sandals for a nice pair of heels and adding some handmade jewelry to help elevate your style.

Unlike resort casual attire, men’s resort evening attire is a bit more formal often requiring a dress shirt, pants, and closed-toe shoes often being required or the explicit rule. Flip-flops are a no-go! As always, the place to place rules vary so it is a good idea to check ahead before packing more pieces of clothing than is required.

Women’s Resort Casual

Women’s resort casual attire can be a varied and complicated wardrobe, however, by sticking to the below items, you should have no problem meeting any requirements asked of you.

  • Heels or dressy sandals
  • Cotton or linen skirt or sarong
  • Lightweight dress
  • Dress shorts
  • Linen or cotton slacks
  • A dressy pullover top or blouse
  • Sleeveless maxi dress

Men’s Resort Casual

Unlike women’s resort casual wear, men’s resort casual attire is a bit more limited in range, but that is not a problem as that means few items to pack!

  • Loafers or similar topsiders
  • Closed-toe shoes
  • Linen pants or chinos
  • A collared shirt
  • Polo shirt
  • A button-up shirt
  • Belt


  • Be sure to check with the cruise-line, hotel, or resort you are staying at to see if there is indeed a resort casual or resort evening dress codes and what items of clothing they do and do not allow.
  • Do not feel obligated to go out and buy a whole wardrobe to fit the occasion. Often you already have all the essentials around, it’s just about putting “the pieces of the puzzle” together, so to speak
  • It is totally fine to pack accessories such as jewelry, watches, or handbags to compliment your outfit.
  • Pack a few different clothing items to no re-wear the same outfit day in a day out, but also do not go too overboard on packing too many items


By following our suggestions and pro-tips, both you and your significant other should have no issue following any resort casual dress code guidelines and you will be able to appropriately pack for any occasion that your resort, hotel, or cruise-line asks of you. Giving you the confidence in knowing that you can enjoy your vacation worry-free from not meeting the expectations outlined or (even worse), not being able to enjoy any of the amenities offered by your destination. Just remember to keep it casual, yet stylish and you are already half-way there to creating vacation moments and memories that you will cherish for the rest of your life.

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