Cracking the Code to Dress Codes

December 16, 2015

Women are constantly saying “I have nothing to wear”. Even with a closet filled to the brim beckoning me to just choose something, I too say it all too often. It gets worse when trying to decide what to pack for a trip or what to wear to a special occasion or event. In these cases, how many times do you ask “What do I wear” or “What’s the dress Code”. Dress code terminology can not only be misleading but sometimes sound like an oxymoron. Nobody wants to be in a situation when traveling where you bring the incorrect items necessary to dine or visit resort outlets, or be horrified when you walk in the room of a special event wearing the complete wrong thing. Check out these tips, hints and outfit suggestions when trying to crack the code to dress codes!


Casual/ Resort Casual/ Informal

Sometimes referred to as resort casual or informal, a casual dress code means not dressed up but not as informal as your PJ’s. Think of this dress code when you imagine what you would wear out to breakfast or lunch. For men, shorts or jeans with a t-shirt or polo shirt are the norm. Sneakers and sandals are usually acceptable footwear for men. For women, shorts, a skirt or jeans paired with a blouse is recommended attire. Sundresses also fit into the casual dress code mold. Sandals, flats or wedges are appropriate ladies footwear. These suggestions stand while traveling at most resorts as well! A general rule to remember while at a resort is that unless the dress code states “Beachwear”, your bathing suit should not be worn to dining outlets without a proper cover-up; and footwear should always be worn.

Casual Outfit Shorts: Tank: Shirt: Sandals:

Bag: Sunglasses:


Smart Casual/ Business Casual/ Casual Elegance

The smart casual, business casual and sometimes called casual elegance dress code can often be the most misunderstood. A general rule of thumb for this dress code would be to think like you are going to the office, a country club or nice dinner. It is appropriate for men to wear long pants (slacks or nice jeans), a dress shirt with sleeves and collar, loafers, dress shoes or dress sandals. At some resorts, nice Bermuda shorts may be acceptable for men as well. Jackets and ties are optional men’s accessories. For women, skirts, slacks, ankle pants or a sundress with dress sandals, ballet flats, wedges or heels are appropriate. Casual flip-flops are not recommended footwear under this dress code.

Business Casual Outfit

Dress: Cardigan: Ballet Flats: Bag:

Bracelets: Necklace:

Cocktail/ Resort Elegant/ Resort Evening

Cocktail dress code, sometimes referred to as resort elegant or resort evening, encompasses all attire that should be worn in an upscale setting. Leave your jeans at home! For men, a pair of nice khakis or slacks with a long sleeve, button up shirt and sports coat is appropriate. A suit would be the ceiling for this dress code. Dress shoes are the norm for men. For women, a nice dress, skirt or slacks with a blouse is most appropriate. Dress flats or heels are the shoe of choice for ladies when it comes to this specific dress code.

Cocktail outfit

Dress: Faux Fur Vest: Heels: Clutch:

Studs: Cuff Bracelet:



The general rule for formal attire is to think like you are attending an evening wedding. A suit with dress shoes is the most acceptable choice for men. For women, an upscale dress (cocktail or floor length) is appropriate when paired with nice heels or dress flats. Formal attire is where women can have some fun with accessories and break out your flashiest costume jewels and diamonds.

formal outfit

Dress: Pumps: Clutch: Necklace:

Rings: Earrings:

Each occasion is different as well as each person’s style so dress how you feel most comfortable. You may also want to research the venue or resort outlets prior to attending your event or trip. When traveling, do not be afraid to contact the destination directly for suggestions and recommendations if you need further assistance. What are some of your dress code tips and tricks?

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