Stunning Resort Wear & Dresses Ideas for Women

What is resort wear?

Originally clothing produced mid-season for wealthy customers to wear on their winter holidays to warm climates, resort wear has expanded into a year-round style. It still transcends fashion’s clear-cut autumn and winter divide, which has become increasingly important as affluent customers spend more and more time travelling and even living in warm-weather areas. Resort wear is also known as cruise wear – ‘cruise collection’ has even become the name for mini-collections that big designers produce in between seasons.

Thanks to its origins in millonaires’ holidays, resort wear tends to be sophisticated, casual, fashionable, and suitable for warm climates. Nautical influences are very common, and colours tend to be fresh and bright. Designers of resort wear collections often draw inspiration from popular holiday destinations such as the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, and South America, and exotic prints are very popular. The general aim of resort wear is to balance comfort and practicality with elegance, so there is a preference for designs and fabrics that are easy to pack and transport. Fabrics like cotton, silk, denim, microfiber, straw and poplin are especially popular.

Dresses are a particularly important part of women’s resort wear because they fit this combination so well. Resort wear dresses can be thrown on over a bikini, or worn to the more formal events on cruises or in expensive resorts. They are pretty much an essential part of any resort wear wardrobe, so if you’re headed off on an exotic holiday, it’s time to figure out which resort wear dresses you should pack!


Resort Wear Mini Dress

Mini dresses are great as resort wear dresses. They are informal and comfortable, and have the extra advantage of helping you keep your tan topped up! Remember to look for dresses that will be comfortable in warm weather – avoid fitted silhouettes, and try lightweight, flowing materials. Dresses with fitted waistlines and looser skirts will work well for slightly more formal situations where you want to look elegant without sacrificing comfort. Summery fabrics like crisp eyelet cotton and lightweight chiffon are also a great idea.



Resort Wear Floor-length Dresses

Floor-length or maxi dresses are equally important in a resort wear wardrobe. These dresses are so versatile – the same single piece of clothing can work both as a bikini cover-up and as an elegant evening outfit! There are so many gorgeous resort wear maxi dresses out there that you’ll be spoilt for choice. Try a tropical inspired print, or soft summery colors. The most flexible dresses will be those with loose, relaxed silhouettes and soft draping, so that they aren’t too hot during the day, but still look stunning at night.


Where to buy resort wear

Traditionally, resort wear was made by some of the biggest designer names, but as more and more people travel on exotic holidays and cruises, resort wear dresses have become more widely available. Most big department stores will now offer a resort selection, and mid-range designers have joined leading designers in producing cruise or resort collections. Here are just a few ideas for places to get resort wear dresses:


Department store Macy’s offers a great selection of resort wear dresses for a range of budgets. You can find some really gorgeous holiday wear in exotic prints and bold colors – perfect for whatever glamorous destination you’re headed off to!

 Buying Resort Wear Online

As well as going to brick-and-mortar department stores like Macy’s, there are plenty of online shops offering gorgeous year-round resort wear.


Top resort wear brands

If you’re one of the lucky few who can afford to buy your resort wear dresses from the world’s top designers, then you certainly have plenty to choose from! Designer resort wear isn’t actually as impossible to achieve as you might think, though – resort wear tends to be cheaper than the main collections. These days, a lot of designers produce resort wear dresses, but a few stand out, either because they were the first, or because of the beautiful resort wear designs they produce. These are not the only designers making resort wear dresses, though – these days, almost all of the big names produce an annual resort collection, so be sure to look up your favorite designers!


J.Crew specializes in bright, vivid colors, and its resort wear dresses are no exception! Neon colors and simple shapes are perfect for hot weather, as are there lovely white lacy versions.

Banana Republic

One of the original brands to produce a resort wear collection, Banana Republic still annually shows its gorgeous summery resort collection. This is a great brand for a beautiful but affordable resort wear dresses!

Lilly Pulitzer

Lilly Pulitzer is famous for bright and bold prints, which translate beautifully into resort wear. This is a fantastic brand for vibrant colors inspired by exotic locations, and lovely breezy fabrics. Lilly Pulitzer dresses would definitely be perfect for a tropical vacation!



Dior has produced some gorgeous resort collections in lovely summery colors. If this is a brand within your budget, then be sure to check out their latest resort looks!



One of the world’s most famous brands, Chanel does resort as well as it does everything else! If you want to look perfectly elegant and polished, there is nowhere better than Chanel to buy the ultimate resort wear dresses.


 Ralph Lauren

This famously preppy brand’s style works brilliantly for resort wear. The 2015 resort collection was especially lovely, with relaxed shapes that would work perfectly in a tropical climate.


Gucci is fantastic for bold and beautiful printed resort wear dresses that will make you stand out wherever you go on vacation! Their 2015 resort wear collection also offered some great denim dresses to just throw in your suitcase without too much fuss.


 What resort wear dresses should I pick?

Now you know what resort wear dresses are, and where to buy them, it’s time to choose a resort wear dress for yourself! First of all, you’ll need to work out what you’ll be doing on holiday – there’s no point buying fancy evening dresses if you’ll only be on the beach and in your room! Here are some of the main types of resort wear dresses that you may or may not need:

  • Bikini cover-up – this can be super simple, or a much fancier dress that can take you from the beach to the bar.
  • Lightweight maxi dress – perfect for sightseeing or eating at a nice restaurant. Also great on the beach!
  • Summer mini – a great everyday dress
  • Elegant maxi dress – pack it for evening, but wear it during the day as well!
  • Cocktail dress – perfect for evening, but not too fancy
  • Evening gown
  • T-shirt dress – great for casual occasions or just hanging around your hotel



Which resort wear dresses are your favorites? Where are you planning to wear your new dresses- anywhere exotic? Let us know in the comments below!