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Whether you plan to cruise to the Caribbean, or have a cruise trip planned to the Mediterranean or Alaska, one of the most frequently asked questions from first-time cruisers is "what clothes shall I take?" In the past, cruises stood for the golden age of travel, where people dressed for dinner and took afternoon strolls along the deck.
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The new casual approach
Things have changed now with some boats even offering rock climbing and ice-skating amongst the list of possible activities - so they really are like a mini city on water. This also means that the cruise lines have loosened up their dress codes, and adopted a more casual approach to cruisewear - some have even made formal attire optional or decreased the number of formal nights.
We That’s not to say that cruising isn't glamorous though but cruise liners have adapted to our changing attitudes to clothing - we don't always buy dressy clothes for work anymore so we certainly don’t want to have to buy a whole new formal wardrobe of cruisewear for our holiday that we may only wear the once.

Time to dress up!
On the other hand there are people out there (me among them) who love to dress up, and going on a cruise gives you a great excuse to do this! If you have purchased a gorgeous evening dress with sequins and dazzle, then you want the opportunity to show it off. After all, we all look so glamorous if we make the effort. However, if half the people at dinner are dressed in jeans and t-shirts it can ruin the atmosphere for us more formally dressed passengers!! In addition, many ladies might not want to stand out in the crowd as being overdressed. Although my favourite rule of thumb is "it is better to be overdressed than underdressed."
So, traditional cruise liners tend to have one or two "dress-up" nights on a seven night cruise and it can be a little difficult to advise women what to wear. Cocktail dresses (long or short) tend to dominate - It’s like getting dressed for a nice wedding - but we ladies certainly have more flexibility than men! Maxi dresses are a fabulously fashionable option this season and we’ve got some for you here at Jacques Vert too - glamourous and flattering too.
I love dressing up for dinner, but hate having to pack the extra "stuff". With all the airlines strictly enforcing the suitcase weight guidelines, women should probably only take one or two evening outfits and just wear them more than once or mix and match the pieces. For the other nights, options range from smart casual to that lovely old fashioned phrase "Sunday best"! So, how do you do cruise clothes successfully? Well don't fly into a fashion panic, you probably have everything you need already, and if not we here at Jacques Vert can provide it for you. To make it easy let's split your cruise clothes wardrobe into three categories:
• casual daywear
• informal eveningwear, and
• formal eveningwear
If you look through your cruise documents you should get a general idea of how many evenings fall into the informal and formal categories - or you could always check with your travel agent to make sure whether there is a dress code or not. But for the most part you will probably spend most time in.
This is exactly what it says it is - clothes for everyday activities that you feel comfortable in. Your plans for the day will dictate what you should wear. So for example, a day aboard ship lounging round the pool will call for swimwear, a cover-up and sandals or flip-flops, whereas a day ashore sight-seeing and shopping will be something like some shorts or a skirt with a t-shirt and comfy walking shoes or sandals. Mix and match has to be the byword for cruise packing - everything you take should go with at least two other things or don't bother packing it! If you plan to buy clothing whilst on shore then be brave and make this a part of your cruise wardrobe and pack less items. Cruise Clothes
Evening casual does not mean shorts. Something in me still sees cruises as elegant and stylish, and I just don't see shorts as eveningwear (unless they're made from silk!). Please ladies, stick to easy jersey dresses, skirts and tops, or tailored trousers and tops. By sticking to a palette of three colours at the most and packing some striking accessories, you should be able to mix up tops and bottoms for a different look every night.
A seasoned cruiser passed on a great tip to me, so I'm sharing it with you. The first and last night’s dinner on the ship are always casual. You may not have your luggage with you by the time of the first night’s dinner, and most people have packed already by the time of the last night’s dinner, so don't panic too much about these two nights.
Formal Cruise Clothing
Formal night is fantasy time for most of us Ladies - it is your night to shine, and you'll see ladies in everything from short cocktail dresses to long glamorous evening dresses. Anything goes here from a simple well-cut black evening dress to a glittery sexy dress which turns heads. Silky evening trousers are also a great choice too - they take up no room in the suitcase and don't wrinkle! If you pack two dressy tops as well, then you have two formal outfits at the drop of a hat.
Don't panic too much though about the thought of spending a fortune on an evening outfit you may not wear again. If you've been a Mother of the Bride or Mother of the Groom or bought a dress for a wedding recently, chances are that the outfit you had for that will work perfectly well here- especially if you bought it from Jacques Vert! Of course, if you’re lucky enough to get an invitation to the Captain’s Table for dinner, a fabulous dress or formal suit will be perfect to make you fit right in!
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About Us
Jacques Vert has been dressing the discerning lady for all events in her calendar for almost 40 years. We offer a range of versatile holiday and cruisewear including smart dresses and separates perfect for mixing and matching on your next trip away. Shop the Jacques Vert Holiday and Cruisewear Collection now.