What Is Resort Casual? Everything You Need To Know

A “resort casual” dress code can sound pretty complicated, but in reality, it isn’t as daunting as it might seem. If you’re headed on your next getaway and you’re staying at a resort, you might have to follow resort casual dressing guidelines. We’re going in-depth to this vacation style, so keep reading to get all the information you need.

What Is Resort Casual?

What exactly does resort casual entail? It’s not as strict as one might think. It’s more like giving your summer clothes a sophisticated twist. 

Think laid-back, light, polished, but still sexy and casual. For example, if you’re headed to the beach at home, you might wear a pair of jean shorts and a baggy t-shirt. However, you may want to change it up slightly at a resort. While shorts are still a perfectly fine option, opting for a more conservative bottom in a fabric other than denim is best. Other good resort wear to pack include summer beach dresses, pants, flowy maxi skirts, and loose blouses. 

Essentially, resort casual is a mix between comfortable and classy. Some locations may have specific dress codes, and others may just follow the unspoken rules on what is appropriate or not, so planning ahead is key! Thinking about what you’ll be getting up to is also a good way to plan for your upcoming getaway. 

Resort casual is often conflated with business casual or cruise wear, but there are plenty of important distinctions between these styles. There are definitely pieces you wouldn’t be able to wear to a casual business meeting that would be appropriate at a resort and vice versa. 

How Casual Is Resort Casual?

Defining how casual resort casual really is becomes tricky because it depends on who you ask. For a younger person, it might seem like a style of formal dressing, requiring pressed garments and nice-looking jeans. For women, it is often about the length of hem and necklines and the fit of the garment. 

When Should I Wear Resort Casual?

Resort casual most often comes up for beachfront locations. It’s for those days where you’ll be spending most of your day in the pool or at the beach, but you might make a pit stop at the in-house shopping boutique and grab a bite to eat at the restaurant. 

Resort casual is also applicable when you’re headed on a cruise or to a destination with tropical weather. It’s important to be mindful of what you’ll be doing so you can plan accordingly and guarantee that you’ll be comfortable and appropriately dressed no matter what.  

Resort Casual for the Pool, Beach, and Spa

For a casual day around the resort, you’ll do well with a bathing suit, a cute cover-up, and a nice pair of sandals. This is a fail-safe option since it fits perfectly both with the locations you’ll be heading to and the activities you’ll be taking part in. Since you'll mostly be lounging at the pool, hanging out at the beach, or heading for treatment at the spa, there is no need for a super fancy outfit. 

Easy cover-ups such as our Seaglass Shores V-Neck Caftan or our simple Island Fare Resort Button-Down Shirt are both easy options to throw on when moving in between locations. Pair them with our Island Goddess Multi-Strap Cross-Back One Piece or Moonlit Silhouette Bandeau Mio Swimsuit for a complementary look! 

Resort Casual for Shopping and Dining

If you’re headed for a round of shopping and lunch around town, resort casual is still an appropriate choice. Instead of a sheer cover-up, opt for something less see-through and beachy with a more relaxed out-on-the-town feel. Some great options for this are our Draped Darling Strapless Midi Dress or our Draped Darling High Neck Mini Dress

The Draped Darling Strapless Midi Dress is a sophisticated midi dress in a jersey material, keeping it comfortable and lightweight. With a self-tie belt that helps define the waist and a tiered skirt that adds movement to the dress, you have a killer silhouette. It can either be dressed up or down, depending on how you feel. 

Made from the same material, our Draped Darling High Neck Mini Dress is a casual summer twist on the little black dress. With a higher neckline and shorter hemline than our previous suggestion, this is an amazing option for heading into town for a walk if the off-the-shoulder look isn't for you. The A-line silhouette is sure to keep you comfy all day long.   

Resort Casual for the Beach

If you’re spending your time at the beach and the spa, you might only need to pack a couple of casual outfits and dressier options for evenings out. In case you’re heading for a more activity-filled trip like sports or in-town events, you’ll want to pack some looks for those occasions. We’ve got some ideas that can help you out with inspiration.

Boat Excursion Mixed With Beach Time

If your day calls for both a boat ride and relaxing at the beach, you’ll want to be prepared. Going on a boat is a fun adventure, but you can easily get burnt since there aren’t many places you can hide from the sun. To avoid this, choose a cover-up with good coverage in case the sun gets too overwhelming. 

Our Mod For Dot V-Neck Tunic is a good option since it’s still lightweight but has long sleeves. If the plan is simply to head to a beach, this should be the only option you need to take. If you happen to be heading to an island close by or maybe a little town and have some time to walk around, you might want an option that isn’t as sheer. For example, our Mediterranean Breeze Tie Front Mid Length Dress is an excellent choice!

Hiking or Biking During the Day

For a day of hiking or biking, you’ll probably want to pack a more athletic style of outfit. If you’re thinking of checking out any hiking paths or going biking around town, make sure you’re comfortable and that your outfit will protect you from the sun and keep you cool. 

For a hiking day, check out our Sunset Tide Cropped Rashguard paired with our Sunset Tide Reversible Mid Waist Bike Short or Sunset Tide Reversible High Waist Bike Short for more coverage. The rashguard is perfect for protecting you from the hot sun on your hike but still absorbing any sweat and keeping you cool. The bike shorts will let you move freely and keep you comfortable. 

If you’re going into the local town and don’t want to sport athletic wear, opt for our Capri Stripe Tie Front Slit Pant. Pair these either with a t-shirt or simply over a swimsuit that can double as a top. 

Day-To-Evening Look for Dinner and Drinks

There’s nothing better than staying at the beach until the sun sets, but if you have plans for dinner afterward, it can be quite tricky to manage to go from the beach directly to the restaurant. If you already know this will be the case, the best thing is to be prepared with a look that works both day and night. 

A great way to quickly achieve a sophisticated look is going for a monochrome look. For example, our Island Goddess Off Shoulder Ruffle One Piece in black with the Draped Darling Tie Front Wrap Skirt is the perfect combination for an easy day-to-night look. Simply change your shoes to a cute pair of heels and throw on a cute handbag, and you’re ready to go! 


Hopefully, you can now consider yourself a resort casual connoisseur. If so, you’re ready to start packing and book your next resort escape.

Remember to take looks that are both pulled together and comfortable. If you follow these two requirements, you’ll end up with the perfect resort casual look for your destination. When picking out your resort casual clothes, it is still important to make sure the pieces you’re choosing fit all the activities you’ll take part in and reflect your personal style. 

It doesn’t make a difference if you prefer shorts, skirts, dresses, or pants. Make sure that they are of good quality and fit you properly. This is an easy way to instantly look more put together. Above all, have fun and enjoy your vacation to the fullest. After all, that’s why you’re taking it! 


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