Preparing for your cruise’s formal night can seem daunting if you’re not typically the “dress up” type. After all, in many cases, you’ll enjoy dinner and then change afterward to continue your evening activities. Depending on the length of your cruise, packing multiple dresses can take up a lot of room or necessitate an extra piece of luggage, like a garment bag. But with a formal night capsule wardrobe, you can pack light and look great.
Choose the Right Dress
The ever iconic LBD works really well on cruises because you can change the whole look of a garment with your accessories. Pick a dress that’s fairly simple in design; it will give you more options. Polyesters are usually wrinkle free, while cottons are light and airy but tend to need a good ironing. Remember you’ll need to walk, stand, and sit in the dress, so give it a road test before packing it.
Decide on Your Focal Point
You might think that someone will notice if you wear the same dress twice but they won’t, especially if you prepare two sets of accessories. Choose a focal point for each one, and that’s what will draw the eye. Perhaps it’s a wide silk scarf in jewel tones or sparkly chandelier earrings or diamond studs. Or maybe you’re not a jewelry person; pick a pair of red heels or sparkly slingbacks and a matching clutch. The point is, look at your dress as a blank canvas to be dressed up.
In order to keep your dress fresh for more than one wear, hang it up as soon as you return to your room to change after dinner. Steam it by hanging it in the bathroom to relax any wrinkles. Spot treat any stains right away, and consider packing an extra wide shawl or pashmina that you can strategically arrange with a pretty brooch to conceal a stain.
For the Gentlemen
A dark colored suit is always stylish. The easiest way to get more than one wear out of your suit while cruising is to pack a different shirt and tie. Consider packing one traditional look like a white shirt and understated tie and one trendier look, like a patterned or brightly colored shirt and contrasting tie. If you prefer a tuxedo, some cruise lines offer on-board rentals; your garments will be waiting for you in your room and no need to carry them in your luggage!
Cruise ship fashions for formal and semi-formal nights can feel overwhelming at first, but there are ways to prepare that won’t break the bank or tip your luggage weight over the limit. Think simple but creative and you’ll look lovely.