Plus Size Cruise Wear

Posted by Jen Anderson on

Plus Size Cruise Wear

A cruise pulls you out of your usual routine - which is part of the appeal. Once you're on the ship, you don't have to worry about anything except showing up to dinner on time. It's so relaxing. But do you have anything to wear? 

There's more pressure to dress just so on a cruise than on other vacations. You're going to be seeing the same people for the whole trip, so you want to make a good impression. Plus size women are used to being judged every time we're in public, but we're also used to ignoring the opinions of strangers. It's a bit harder to do that when you keep running into them on the way to breakfast.

Casual? Dressy?

When you start planning your cruise wardrobe, you'll need to find out exactly which tone you want to strike. You're going to be a lot dressier on the Queen Mary than on other ships. Also keep your destination in mind - obviously Alaska requires different clothes than the Caribbean.

woman wearing a sheer print cardigan

Your itinerary may indicate when and where you'll need to be Smart Casual or Formal or whatever.  Google your cruise line and destination to get an idea of how casual or formal your clothes should be. There are blogs and message boards where cruise veterans share this sort of info.

If everyone else will be wearing t-shirts or sundresses over bathing suits, that doesn't mean you have to. If you want to, go right ahead. But you shouldn't feel obligated to be that exposed and unsupported.

Let's Get Specific

If you're going to be swimming (either on the ship or at your destination), bring two bathing suits so you won't have to pull on a wet one. Rash guards (swimsuits that resemble long sleeve or short sleeve tees) may not be glamorous, but they can help you avoid sunburn which can ruin any vacation.


woman wearing a sheer jacket
Sheer Toppers are going to be your secret weapon. Throw them on over Crop Pants and a Shell or Sleeveless Tunic and you've got a fabulous look that could be smart casual. Make it long Pants or a Skirt and you're formal. A long topper might make a good coverup over your bathing suit.


Most of our Dresses can be Casual, Smart Casual or Formal depending on what you wear with them. Take the Jewel Neckline Maxi Dress for example. With simple costume jewelry and sandals it's dressy casual. With bolder costume jewelry and nicer sandals, it's smart casual. With the real stuff (or fabulous fakes), it's Formal.

Mix It Up

You'll probably change your clothes several times a day, so you can wear them more than once even without washing them in the tiny bathroom sink. If you don't want to repeat an entire outfit, play around with different combinations. You don't need to plan out every single outfit you'll wear in advance. Leave room for spontaneity. Bring pieces in colors that work together, add some great toppers and a few neutrals and you'll be fine. 


woman wearing the mermaid vest over green separates
Don't Forget to Relax and Have Fun


You don't have to be dressed exactly like everyone else to enjoy yourself. Most people will be too self absorbed to pay attention to anyone else. The few who do walk around judging everyone are miserable jerks and you should just feel sorry for them.

Check out our other posts about plus size travel.

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