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3 Easy Ways to Put Together Cruise Vacation Wardrobes: Tips for Summer Travel Nautical Outfits

read how to put together a nautical cruise wardrobe the easy way with tips that I never follow

by Tina Boomerina (Christina Gregoire)

Read tips about packing for a cruise and what kinds of things make a good nautical wardrobe. I don't do it right, but I pack way too much stuff. Learn from my mistakes.

Tips for Cruise Wear Clothing

There’s more than one way to come up with a functional travel wardrobe that you can fit in one suitcase, but here are some tips that work for me. Well, in all honesty, I always end up taking a ton of outfits and only wearing one or two, but… do as I say… not as I do. Anyway, here are my tips for putting together a nautical-ish cruise vacation wardrobe for women.

Don't laugh. I try hard to fit all my stuff into a small bag, but in reality... well... you can only imagine.

Cruise Wear Outfits for Women

If you’re going on a cruise, you’ll probably want to wear different outfits than if you’re hanging out on the beach in Hawaii or the Caribbean. I mean… you CAN wear aloha prints and wild Jimmy-Buffet florals, but I like solids, color blocks, and stripes better for ladies aboard ships.

You can add splashy florals to your basics, but it seems easiest to start with bright solids and geometrics. I assure you, there are many ways to add festive touches with accessories.

Sounds basic and boring… right?

Well, I want you to remember that I only wear boho outfits on land, so I’m not trying to steer you wrong. And, I never wear sporty anything… unless I’m at sea.

However, outfits like I’m showing you in this article really do look right when you’re on a cruise.

1. Nautical Red, White and Blue Outfits

Yes, red, white and blue sounds cornball, but it’s so easy… and you can’t screw it up… unless you try to match reds. Most blues go with most blues, but reds that are next to each other can be very tricky. So, the easiest way to create a nautical cruise wardrobe is to start with navy and other blues. After that, you'll be able to see what to add so you don't look like a boring old lady from Kansas.

OK, nothing against Kansas. If you live in the Midwest, you're probably ready to get out of Dodge and into the ocean blue.

read about nautical fashion for cruise vacations

Red White n Blue Nautical Wardrobe

The most important thing with a red, white and blue outfit is to add a few unexpected accessories, like rhinestone sunglasses or striped shoes. So, remember how I promised to show you a few things that will keep you from looking like your grandma. Oh, I didn't say that? Well, I am now.

I do like the nautical look, but it does not like me. My face and body just don't do sportswear. That's why I HAVE to add crazy things like rhinestones and big hats and funky shoes and humongous statement earrings. You don't have to do that, but just don't wear little ditzy things that are too conservative. Really! It just looks bad on older women.

You need to add pizazz. Hey, if you haven't figured out how to pull off your own special style by now... well, I'm going to have to yell at you. "ADD GROOVY STUFF THAT NO ONE ELSE IS GOING TO BE WEARING!"

Please, I beg you, please add at least one (or two) unexpected accessories that don't match, that don't "go", that people don't expect. There is nothing worse than a woman with no style... except for an old lady with no style.

read about cruise outfits for old ladies and younger women

Fun Cruise Accessories for Women

Cruise Shoes and Accessories for Fun Vacation Wear:

Here's why the accessories in the photo will jazz up your typical red, white and blue (or blue and white) nautical outfits:

  • The red statement earrings are huge.
  • The handbag has pink and yellow.
  • The dark sunglasses are cheap and sparkly... and perfect for a hussy like you or me.
  • The red shoes are easy to walk in on a ship because they have a chunky block heel.
  • The white sunglasses have studs in the shape of dots and stars.
  • The blue and white sandals are freaking floral.

None of these offbeat accessories are something you can't pull off... just wait... I may come up with crazier things in a bit.

read about nautical clothing

Nautical Flag Colors

2. Bright Nautical Flag Color Outfits

If you're not into red, white and blue, another type of cruise wardrobe is something I call nautical flag colors. You can see the actual colors for inspiration above, but I don't want you to limit yourself to the real nautical colors... unless those are your favorites.

read about colors for nautical cruise wear

Flag Colors for Vacation Clothing

I actually consider all bright colors to fit this vacation wardrobe theme... and even though you're used to the red, white and blue of the USA, the UK, and France, there are quite an assortment of flag hues from places you've never heard of... and ... quite frankly... I've never heard of. So, pretty much all bright, bold colors fit this "nautical flag" idea. And, somehow it works when putting outfits or a whole wardrobe together.

For cruisewear, the flag idea is definitely found in tops, dresses, and accessories with color block patterns and, to a lesser extent, stripes. Well, actually, most stripes are just a type of color blocking.

read how to put together a cruise wardrobe of cute outfits

Color Block Clothing in Blue

Just looking at these pieces gives you something of the "flag" feeling I'm trying to express. In reality, most color block clothing and accessories have a base color like blue, black, white, navy, or some other neutral. If you're smart, you'll choose that color as the basis for your travel wardrobe.

Read about what to wear on a cruise... or how to put together a vacation holiday wardrobe... or something like that

Cruise Outfits Black Color Blocking

If you're like me, and you're not smart... because you like every color under the sun, you'll end up with a lot of cool clothing that may or may not go together into a cohesive whole. But, somehow it will work. Actually, color block clothing with both black and blue in the design will take care of the issue, but that isn't always the piece of clothing you fall in love with.

If you've never worn this trend very much, you might want to read my old article on how to wear color block outfits.

read about ways to tie your vacation look together

White Based Wardrobe for Cruise

3. White Cruise Clothing Wardrobe for Women

You already know how to base your vacation wardrobe around basic black, so I'm not going to bother with that. However, white is a great anchor "color" that really works well at sea. It sounds crazy if you're a klutz, but you can find bleach on holiday and as long as you take a few packets (or a few hundred packets) of Shout stain remover, white can be a really elegant warm-weather look.

Of course, you don't want everything to be white. You're not a freaking bride. And, I recommend giving your outfit something like brown shoes so you don't look like you're going to float away on a cloud. Silver is good, too. And, of course, take a few black or navy things in case you're going to be doing something where you might get a bit dusty or dirty. But, white is a surprisingly good tropical color.

And, everything goes with white: tan, pink, beige, orange, black, navy, turquoise, coral, everything.

read about cruise wear and how to spark it up.

Summer Accessories in Bright Colors

Bright Colorful Summer Accessories

And, because I promise you some more fun accessories, check out these brightly hued bags and shoes. So... freaking... cute. And, they will really perk up white or navy or whatever. I love these things.

So, my three tips to try are:

  • 1. Red, white and blue (with some funky accessories)
  • 2. Flag Colored Clothes
  • 3. Mostly White Outfits

But, no matter what, just go. Just get on that damn ship. It really doesn't matter that much what you wear... and there are always places to shop in port, I promise. Bon voyage, sweetie!

read a bunch of hooey about cruise outfits

Main: Cruise Outfit

Photo Credits: Mostly Prshots.com.

  • Main Photo: Red white and blue outfit MandCo.
  • Tips for Cruise Wear Clothing: Studio Eight plus size.
  • Red White n Blue Nautical Wardrobe: Wallis, Monsoon, Simply Be plus size, East, Jigsaw.
  • Fun Cruise Accessories for Women: Red statement earrings Kenneth J Lane Neiman's, sunglasses River Island, color block bag Accessorize, blue sandals Dune, red sandals New Look.
  • Nautical Flag Colors: Wikipedia.
  • Flag Colors for Vacation Clothing: Wikipedia.
  • Color Block Clothing in Blue: Hat BoardwalkStyle, scarf East, blue dress East, blue top Debenhams, plus size blue dress Studio Eight, pink dress Debenhams.
  • Cruise Outfits Black Color Blocking: Black n white dress M&Co, green n black dress Next, black n white pants outfit MandCo, skirt and top Marks and Spencer, short dress Wallis.
  • White Based Wardrobe for Cruise: Marks and Spencer, East, East, Marks and Spencer, Wallis.
  • Summer Accessories in Bright Colors: Striped bag Dune, floral shoes Dune, pink bag Debenhams, checked shoes Wallis.

More Fashion Articles for Fun Loving Boomer Chicks:

Florals for Spring & Summer: Color Your Wardrobe

5 Tips for Asymmetrical Neckline & Cold Shoulder Dresses

Daytime Cruise Wear for Women With Style

What to Wear in Hawaii: Tina's Guide to Hawaiian Chic & More

Classic Tailored Fashion Over 40: Interview With the Style MD for Women Jennifer Connolly

One Piece Swimsuits With or Without Skirts: Pack 3 for Vacations

How to Wear an LBD: 3 Ways to Style a Little Black Dress or Long Black Dress

Can Fat Women Wear Prints? 5 Tips for Plus Size Chicks

Leave a comment below if you're bored. Hugs, Tina

Tina Boomerina (AKA Christina Gregoire) is a Baby Boomer born at the end of 1952. Her mission is to make the internet a kinder and gentler place for Baby Boomer women around the world. Tina's specialty is fashion for women over 50.

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  1. HDF

    Hello, I just found your website. I'm a baby boomer from Canada. I'm 57 and a size 14. Your comments made me smile so many times!! You write honestly and have the ability to look at issues older women face with a great sense of humor without self depreciation. I look forward to reading more.
    I hope there are more readers out there from Canada. Shopping is a bit of a challenge for Canadian women.
    Keep up the good work😊

  2. Lisa Parker

    The article is nice and I like to post an article in the sequence as she has highlighted the dress for this summer, I like to focus on the accessories that can be carried this summer.

    - Glam up Your Look just by Using These Accessories with your Summer Clothes

    I hope Tina, you will give me the writing opportunity to showcase my skill sets too on this reputed platform.

    Looking forward to receive your mail soon.