The key to packing light for your cruise? Clothing that’s versatile. Check out how we dress this frock up for formal night, and down for the afternoon. All you need is a blank canvas and chic accessories. Use our picks as inspiration for outfits that effortlessly shift from casual to formal.
Start with a:
1. Maxi Dress
The formal vibe of a floor-length gown meets the ease of a short sundress. Go with a knit jersey style: They’re forgiving, comfortable, fold easily — and magically emerge from your suitcase without wrinkles. Where white can feel bridal and black leans toward evening, a jewel tone offers day-to-night versatility. Modern Surplice Maxi Dress, $98, garnethill.com.
For daytime, add a:
2. Patterned Scarf
Prints tend to telegraph a daytime mood. Choose a scarf with a multicolored motif, and let those hues dictate the rest of your accessories. Lightweight fabrics are best for sunny climates, and keep you warm in an air-conditioned dining room. Katarina scarf, $21, shopsosie.com.
3. Straw Hat
This vacation essential offers protection from the sun and tops off your look with texture, whether it’s a floppy, wide-brimmed sun hat or a tomboy-chic fedora. Fringed edge fedora, $98, hatattack.com.
4. Flat Sandals
Shoes you can walk in comfortably are inherently casual — and the key to nailing your daytime maxi dress look. Skip the flip-flops and go for a flat that feels special, with perforated leather, shell accents, or beads. Kia sandal, $39, zappos.com.
The perfect mix of sporty and glam, this classic style suits any activity, from shore excursions to lunch by the pool. These rose-tinted lenses offer 100-percent UVA and UVB protection, which is critical at sea. Kylie sunglasses, $72, guess.com.
6. Small Pouch
No need to lug around a tote: This zip pouch is perfectly sized for your room key, cash, and travel-sized sunscreen — everything you need for breakfast on deck or a short port visit. Small pouch, $20, baggu.com.
7. Delicate Jewelry
Keep it simple during the day. Think understated and easily removable for swimming and spa treatments. Golden anchor necklace, $80, theoneilovenyc.com.
For evening, add a:
8. Statement Necklace
Go bold: An oversized necklace makes a simple dress Captain’s Table-ready in a flash. A pair of sparkly, shoulder-dusting earrings delivers the same effect. Our advice? Choose one or the other. Midnight bouquet bib, $56, baublebar.com.
9. Shoes With Shine
You already know heels are in order, but how to choose? As versatile as black or nude, metallic styles deliver instant glamour and look gorgeous on a dance floor. Peppa sandal, $98, vincecamuto.com.
10. Glitzy Clutch
Nothing says evening more than a party-sized gem of a handbag. Kenney minaudiere, $58, ninashoes.com.
11. Cocktail Ring
It pulls everything together. This piece, for example, picks up the gold metal in the necklace but won’t overpower your other jewels. Sparkling Marquis ring, $38, houseofharlow1960.com.
12. Sparkly Hair Accessory
If you have long enough hair for an updo, now’s the time: It’s the ultimate special-occasion hairstyle, especially when accented with a crystal comb, clip, or barrette. Wear yours in the back or to one side so you shine from all angles. Broadway comb, $68, henribendel.com.