"Resort" Clothing: What's That All About Then?

The term "resort" clothing is confusing for plenty of people—even those who know about fashion. For example, many know the difference between spring/summer and autumn/winter and when each collection becomes available to buy. You also know your Vetements from your Off-White. You worship at the altar of Alessandro Michele and Gosha Rubchinskiy. But you still find yourself scratching your head when it comes to resort collections. What are they for exactly? Who even shops them? And do you actually have to be in some sort of resort to wear the aforementioned pieces? We've answered these questions so you can confidently say you know what they are. 

Resort, also sometimes referred to as "cruise," is admittedly a little strange, not least because it's no longer about being in an actual resort. And it's not about getting on a cruise ship either (well, not unless you wanted to). Originally, the resort or cruise collection was created for those lucky souls who needed separate updated wardrobes for their holidays that would fall around the end of the year. It was a way for people to get ready for a fancy vacation (think those headed for Mustique or St. Barts) with fancy clothes when everything else in the stores would traditionally be catering to winter weather.

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Getty Images PICTURED: Chanel Resort 18

Traditionally showcased in May, these collections used to scream out "holiday clothes" in the most literal sense: all gladiator sandals and striped tops with a noticeable influence from nautical fashion. However, these days, resort clothing has moved on somewhat and now it's more of an extra drop of newness between winter and spring that does cater to the vacationing folk but also to anyone looking to pick up some clever transitional wares. Thanks to a broadening clientele all over the world, just summer clothes would mean at least half a hemisphere wouldn't be able to wear the pieces, so these days the collections even contain cosy outerwear.

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Getty Images PICTURED: Valentino Resort 18

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Getty Images PICTURED: Dior Resort 18

What's more is that these more commercially focused ranges have resulted in buyers seeing a greater return on their investment—the pieces are also on the shop floors for longer, which naturally generates more sales over time. This means stores are ploughing a significantly larger chunk of their money into resort orders, and there it's no surprise to find that the resort catwalk shoes are becoming a far bigger deal.

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Getty Images PICTURED: Gucci Resort 18

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Getty Images PICTURED: Louis Vuitton Resort 18

Of course, it's not just that the designers have invested in creating new collections and committed to showing them on a catwalk, there's a whole strategy that revolves around creating a buzzy grand spectacle to amplify the message. From Chanel's Ancient Greek extravaganza in 2017 to Dior taking over Blenheim Palace in 2016, they're becoming as memorable (if not, more so) than the traditional shows during September and February. Now keep scrolling to see more resort looks and shop key pieces now.