Decoding Resort Casual Attire – 10 Laid Back AND Sophisticated Looks

What exactly is a resort casual dress code? You’re finally getting away for a few days of sun-drenched bliss and the last thing you want to lose sleep over is what to wear. There’s no room for worry nestled between those rustling palms and sandy shores! Some resorts have dress codes which can actually make it easier to decide what to pack, and even more importantly, what not to. The resort casual dress code is a cool and chic mix of effortless casual clothing that has the perfect combination of comfort and elegance. We’re sharing 10 outfits that are resort casual approved as well as some key packing tips to help you look amazing while also packing efficiently.

In this travel capsule wardrobe post we share 40+ outfit ideas with just 14 pieces, plus helpful packing tips for any getaway.

Resort Casual Attire ideas

What is Resort Casual Attire?

Resort casual attire is a dress code adopted by country clubs, upscale resorts, and cruise lines. In the world of vacation attire, resort casual dressing reigns supreme! It’s a delicate balance between laid-back comfort and sophisticated style. You want to seamlessly transition from beachside lounging to sunset happy hour to a moonlit dinner without missing a beat. To master the resort casual dress code, fabric and functionality are key. Here are 3 things to consider before shopping or packing for your next resort vacation…

  1. Fabric – Look for light breezy fabrics that look effortlessly chic. Nothing too heavy, or structured.
  2. Versatile Shoes –Think double-duty. Sandals that work for the pool and beach, but also look great with shorts and dresses. Sneakers you’ll wear sightseeing, shopping, and/or traveling to and from the resort. For dressy nights or dinners, remember those cobble-stone walkways and consider wedges, platforms, or block heels vs. stilettos!
  3. Dual Duty Fashion – Dresses, lightweight pants, or maxi skirts that double as coverups, matching sets that can be repurposed as separates, versatile tops, and lightweight layers for breezy nights.

resort casual attire dress

resort casual attire exampleshoes for resort casual attire

striped bikini

Resort Casual Outfits

#1 | White Shirtdress & Coverup

In this first look, Erin is wearing an airy cotton midi collared shirtdress by Milly. It’s great for wearing over your swimsuit during the day as a coverup and offers some sun coverage for an outdoor lunch. It has a front button closure, a drawstring waist, and inset panels with small beads throughout. Erin’s wearing a striped nautical Milly bikini underneath. The top is a bandeau style top with removal straps and the bottoms offer moderate bum coverage. If you’re wearing this as a dress to dinner without your swimsuit underneath, you’ll want a slip like this one for some additional coverage.  Erin did say that the beads add a bit of weight to this dress so if you’re worried about weight restrictions when packing, the next double-duty dress in Look #2 might be a better option for you!

Erin finished her look with a chic raffia tote bag by Loewe and some chic See by Chloe wedges. The tote is great for travel day, pool day, and shopping. The wedges are very lightweight and packable. The gold metallic is the perfect neutral to go with all of your resort casual outfits.

best swimsuit coverups

red swim coverupsColorful Midi Dress & Coverup

#2 | Colorful Midi Dress & Coverup 

Here’s another elegant coverup dress that can be worn poolside, for shopping, or dining. We love the gorgeous red abstract print, and the breezy chiffon fabric won’t take up any room in your suitcase. It has a flattering V-neckline, a drawstring waist, and long sleeves with an elastic cuff. It also has a button front that allows you to control how much skin you do or don’t want to show. It’s beautiful paired with the matching one-piece swimsuit as well! You’ll want to wear a slip underneath this one if wearing it sans the swimsuit. Erin’s wearing the same espadrille wedges and glam aviator sunnies by Isabel Marant from the previous look.

Resort Casual Attire for momsBreezy Pants & Gauzy Top

#3 | Breezy Pants & Gauzy Top

Next, we wanted to share a few different resort casual outfits including comfortable pants. First up…these cotton pull-on pants by Rails. We were SO excited to see these back in stock! They were a best-seller 2 years ago when Erin wore them for a trip to Malibu, CA. They are lightweight without being see-through and they’re super soft. And they have a flattering wide-leg silhouette, small split hem, comfy elastic waist, and are made of a lovely fabric that doesn’t wrinkle. Making them perfect for packing! These have a 32” inseam so at 5’4” Erin needs to wear a wedge heel with them. But if you’re taller, you’ll probably be able to wear flat sandals.

Erin paired them with her tried and true Rails white button-down shirt made of similar breezy fabric that is always a vacation go-to. It looks so chic with the pants, but it will also pull double duty with shorts or even as a coverup (just size up!). For a resort casual dinner look, just add a statement necklace or other elevated jewelry.

Breezy Pants, Tee & Blazer

#4 | Breezy Pants, Tee & Blazer

Here’s another way to style the same Rails pants from the previous look. If you liked the casualness of look #3 but want something a little more polished, swap the relaxed button-down for an elevated tee and add a blazer! The Cinq a Sept blazer has been a heavy hitter for Erin across multiple spring and summer seasons. It has cool ruched, ¾ sleeves which are the PERFECT length…they add a thoughtful style detail and you don’t have to worry about trying to keep them pushed up. This blazer is great to throw over your shoulders on cool nights or when the AC is blasting inside. You can wear it over a dress, with white jeans and a tee, shorts and a tee…lots of options and it will instantly elevate your outfits.

Wide-Leg Pants & Gauzy Top resort casual attire

#5 | Wide-Leg Pants & Gauzy Top

Here’s another pair of pants that have recently been restocked! These Free People pull-on pants are extremely comfortable, slimming, and elongating since they have a high rise (14”!). They’re made of a midweight seersucker fabric and have a smocked elastic waistband and on-trend wide-leg silhouette. Talk about the most perfect combo where comfort meets chic! Erin paired them with a cotton top in a breathable fabric. It’s that perfect versatile vaca top you can throw over a bathing suit, wear with shorts or a skirt during the day, or wear off the shoulder to dinner. It has a gathered hemline that’s the perfect length to wear with your high-waisted bottoms. It does have a cropped length so if you are tall or have a longer torso you should take that into consideration.

To complete her outfit, Erin’s wearing a pair of comfy platform sneakers. This would be the perfect resort casual outfit for a day of sightseeing or shopping. Casual attire can still look very polished and put together!

Denim Shorts and Neutral Sweater

#6 | Denim Shorts and Neutral Sweater

Shorts can absolutely be appropriate for most resort casual dress codes and it’s tough to think about packing for a resort vaca without them! This first pair of denim shorts by Pistola are high waist, have roominess in the leg, and have a bit of distressing and stretch to them. Erin’s wearing them with an open-knit pullover by Velvet (which would also look great as a swim coverup top!) and a pair of Vince wedges. If you’re looking to elevate the look of your white denim shorts, this monochromatic pairing is a simple way to do so.

resort outfits for women

summer shorts setLightweight Shorts and Shirt Set

#7 |  Lightweight Shorts and Shirt Set

This next pair of shorts is a bit dressier, and we love that you can mix and match the separates depending on what you’re doing at the resort. Both pieces are made of a lovely lightweight fabric that travels well and doesn’t easily wrinkle. The top has pretty puffed sleeves and beaded buttons down the back. The matching shorts are a flattering length and cut, have pockets, and come with a matching belt. You could wear the top with the white denim shorts from the previous look or wear the set with the white blazer from look #4 to dress things up for dinner. These pieces are prime examples of separates that can pull double-duty and easily mix and match on your trip!

Erin styled the short set with a pair of Sam Edelman platform heels with a pretty rickrack detail and a raffia clutch with beaded trim by Cult Gaia.

resort casual attire for women

resort casual attire women over 50Shorts Romper

#8 | Shorts Romper

Our final shorts look is a floral print, 100% cotton romper also by Farm Rio. It’s so gorgeous! The pretty ocean blue pattern is perfect for your resort vacation. It has a button front, band collar, a self-tie waist belt, and pleated puff shoulders. The inseam is about 4″ and the leg opening is roomy with a super flattering cut. Having a one-and-done romper like this in your suitcase makes getting dressed a breeze. Pair it with wedges like Erin’s wearing above for dinner or throw on your sneakers for a day of exploring. The light cotton fabric will keep you nice and cool.

pink resort outfitMini Dress resort outfit

#9 | Mini Dress

Now for a couple of dresses that fit into our resort casual dress code. This first dress by Hemant and Nandita is one of Erin’s favorites for a resort vacation. With the bright bold color, sexy one-shoulder style, and gorgeous fabric, we can see why! It highlights the waist with a detachable tie and has the most beautiful eyelet trim details. It’s also very lightweight so it’s super easy to pack. It’s a great length on Erin at 5’4” but might be a bit too short if you are tall.

With the dress, Erin is wearing a pair of See By Chloe espadrille wedges. Yep, they are the same style as the gold wedges featured in many of the other looks. These are one of Erin’s go-to vacation shoes. And while they’re a slam dunk for vacation, you’ll wear these all spring/summer too. They add maximum height (great if you are on the petite side!) and have an ankle strap for added stability. The white rubber bottom makes them not only incredibly lightweight (seriously you won’t believe it!) but extra comfortable to walk in. You can wear them with everything from shorts to dresses.

spring summer outfit for women

green dress and beaded bagStaud beaded bag

#10 | Fit & Flare Midi Dress

Erin called this her “spring dress of dreams” and we totally agree! This beautiful green patterned midi dress by Staud is fresh, elegant, and fun. The color and print are perfect for spring and summer, and the fit-and-flare silhouette is incredibly flattering. Erin loves that the straps are a bit thicker for additional comfort and support. It’s also very versatile! You can easily swap out your shoes and accessories for a more dressy or casual look. It fits the bill for any resort evening wear activities you might attend…and you can also dress it down with sneakers for daytime activities or shopping. Most resort casual wear dress codes don’t require a cocktail dress, but this beautiful dress is versatile enough… it could definitely work for that too!

Erin styled the dress with the same platform heels from Look #7 and a gorgeous Staud beaded bag in a coordinating print. The dress is selling out SO fast so we linked it where we could find it. Also linked below is a matching set and mini dress in the same pattern, and a similar option.

Do you have any resort vacations coming up this spring or summer? If so, where are you going? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to receive some incredible and exclusive style resources. We released a Spring Occasion Lookbook with 40+ outfits and it’s a MUST see. You can access it here.

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2 thoughts on “Decoding Resort Casual Attire – 10 Laid Back AND Sophisticated Looks

  1. Super helpful inspo Erin! I already have a few of the pieces from last years resort wear and will bring them with my again to Coata Rica in a few weeks! Hope you have some fun travels planned too😎

    1. SO glad this is helpful and at just the right time for you, Mary!! Have the BEST time on your trip! ~Erin xo

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