Part of feeling good is looking good, and we don’t want to have to stress about what to wear on vacation, which is why I’ve created this helpful guide. Mexico is one of my favorite destinations and a country I’ve been to more than any other. Whether the beaches of Tulum, Cancun, or Playa del Carmen on the Riviera Maya, or Los Cabos on the Pacific Coast, and many other coastal cities in between, through my travels I have really mastered the art of what to wear in Mexico.
This guide is your invitation to explore a curated selection of Mexico outfits for every budget, whether you’re basking in the sun’s rays on a tropical shore or discovering hidden coastal gems. Let me help you take the guesswork out of packing for Mexico (or any other tropical destination for that matter) in this detailed buying and packing guide.
Make sure to stick around until the end, where I share an easy Mexico vacation packing list with a save-able and printable image!
Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please see my Disclosures page.
What to Wear in Mexico – Mexico Vacation Outfit Ideas for Every Budget
I’ve included a category for every piece of clothing you should consider packing for your trip, with options for small, medium, and big budgets. I’ve also included shoes and accessories so that you really don’t have to stress about a single thing when it comes to packing.
The following guide includes recommendations based on best sellers and most popular items. So you can count on looking good as much as good material and fit.
Maxi Dresses for Mexico Vacation
The maxi dress is the epitome of effortless elegance, seamlessly blending sophistication with laid-back charm. They’re easy, breezy, and can be worn as a bathing suit cover up, exploring the resort, out in town, or to dinner. A simple and minimalistic black or white maxi dress is always an elegant choice, but feel free to lean into the beach aesthetic with sunset colors or tropical patterns and prints. Maxi dresses effortlessly transition from beachside to table-side, making them a versatile and essential piece for your beach vacation wardrobe.
A Mini Sundress for Mexico Vacation
A mini sundress effortlessly captures the essence of fun, flirty, and carefree, making them an essential choice for your vacation wardrobe. The sun-soaked atmosphere calls for breezy fabrics and vibrant patterns that embrace the free spirit of summer, or classic and timeless blacks and whites for the chic minimalist. When it comes to colors and prints, anything goes. Radiate a sense of tropical bliss with vivid floral patterns, capturing the vibrant hues of exotic blooms, or channel the soothing coastal ambiance with serene pastels, reminiscent of the soft hues of seashells and ocean waves.
Versatility is key with sundresses, as they easily transition from sun-soaked days on the beach to charming seaside strolls and even sunset cocktails. Layer with a denim jacket for those cooler evenings (recommendations later in this post,) or accessorize with a colorful scarf that can double as a stylish hair accessory.
Whether you’re indulging in candlelit beachside dinners or going out for a night on the town, these evening dresses are designed to make a statement under the starry skies and humid nights.
Opt for silhouettes that celebrate femininity, such as sleek and form-fitting sheath dresses, little black dresses, or flirty wrap dresses. lean into fabrics that reflect the romantic ambiance of the evening, such as luxurious silk, satin, or form-fitting body-cons.
While the little black dress will always be a staple, when it comes to colors, venture beyond the traditional and embrace the buzzing energy of the night. Rich jewel tones like sapphire blue, emerald green, and amethyst purple evoke a sense of regalness, while metallic shades like gold, silver, and bronze lend a touch of glamour to your look. Whether you’re wondering what to pack for Cancun, Cabo, or any other Mexican City with an exciting nightlife, don’t be afraid to experiment with intricate patterns, such as florals and palm prints, or shimmering sequins that catch the light and add an alluring dimension to your outfit.
Denim Shorts – Clothes for Mexico vacation
When it comes to embracing a casual and effortlessly cool style during your beach vacation, denim shorts are a must-have wardrobe staple. These versatile and timeless pieces employ a laid-back aesthetic that perfectly complements the relaxed beach atmosphere. Whether you’re strolling along the shoreline, exploring coastal towns, or enjoying beachside activities, denim shorts are a go-to option for comfort and style.
Choose a well-fitted pair of denim shorts that flatter your shape and allow for ease of movement. Opt for classic styles like cutoffs, distressed, or high-waisted designs, depending on your personal preference and the look you want to achieve. I personally prefer lighter washes which reflect a sun-bleached vibe.
Pair your denim shorts with bodysuits or swimsuits, off-the-shoulder blouses, or lightweight linen shirts. Embrace the coastal theme by incorporating nautical-inspired stripes or vibrant tropical prints. Tie-front tops or crop tops especially make for a fun and playful silhouette. Recommendations for tops will be made later on in this post.
The linen pant is sometimes a tropical vacation packing list essential that can get overlooked. These lightweight and breathable garments combine style and functionality, making them an ideal choice for both daytime excursions and evening adventures. Linen pants embody a relaxed yet refined aesthetic, allowing you to revel in the beach atmosphere in a way that can look very chic and effortless when styled right. Choose neutral tones like crisp white, soft beige, or sandy khaki for a fresh and beach-inspired look.
Pair your linen pants with a tighter fitting top to balance the silhouette, or a loose linen blouse to create a look that easily transitions from beachside relaxation to exploring coastal towns. Tuck or half tuck in a loose-fitting top or tie it in a knot to define your waist, or opt for a relaxed untucked look for a more laid-back appearance. Linen pants also complement bohemian-inspired tops or off-the-shoulder blouses, adding a touch of femininity to your outfit.
When it comes to selecting tops for your beach vacation, it’s all about finding pieces that embody both comfort and style, allowing you to go from sun-soaked days to breezy evenings. From lightweight blouses to casual tees, here are some top options to consider:
Bodysuits: Bodysuits always pull an outfit together as the tight and tucked fabric give you shape and look great whether worn with denim or linen. You can wear them on their own or paired with a button-down shirt or denim jacket draped over the shoulders for an evening look.
Crop Tops: Enjoy the carefree spirit of the beach with crop tops in soft fabrics like cotton or crochet. Pair them with high-waisted shorts or skirts for a playful and casual look.
Button-Down Shirts: Button-down shirts are a timeless and versatile choice for beach vacations whether worn buttoned or open. Opt for a lived-in look with lightweight linen or cotton fabrics in classic white or bright colors. You can also never go wrong with a fun print like floral or a Hawaiian-inspired button down.
Graphic Tees: For a laid-back and casual vibe, graphic tees are a fun option. They’re also great for travel days paired with leggings or joggers. Choose from tees with beach-inspired motifs, typography, or vintage designs to showcase your personal style.
My favorite “tequila” shirt linked below also doubles as an oversized shirt-dress (I wear them with bike shorts that peak out underneath.)
Matching Sets – Easiest Outfits for Vacation in Mexico
Matching two-piece sets offer the convenience of a complete outfit while executing a polished and put-together look that you can just throw on and go. Whether it’s a crop top and shorts, a skirt set, or a button down and shorts, there are seemingly endless options for coordinated looks. Matching sets provide a cohesive and fashionable option for your beach vacation wardrobe but don’t be afraid to mix and match with your other packed clothing items either. When in doubt, they allow for easy outfit planning while ensuring a stylish and put-together appearance. Select sets that suit your personal style and lean into the vibrant colors, patterns, and relaxed silhouettes that embody the essence of the vacation.
|$88 (sold as set)||$88 top / $148 bottom||$99 top / $150 bottom|
|$88 (sold as set)||$138 top / $98 bottom||$200 top / $200 bottom|
Jackets – More Essential Clothing for Mexico Vacation
Denim jackets are the way to go for breezy and cool nights after a sunny day at the beach. They simultaneously keep you warm yet feel lightweight enough to not make you overheat. A denim jacket is a staple that combines style, comfort, and functionality. It adds a touch of cool to your beach vacation outfits and allows for easy transition between different activities and temperatures. Don’t forget to embrace the lived-in look of denim as it naturally fades and softens over time, making each jacket unique to its owner. Opt for a light-wash denim or a light neutral color such as white, cream, or tan.
Cover-Ups For Your Beach Day Packing List
My favorite style of bathing suit cover-up is the oversized white linen or cotton button down because of its versatility. In general, a shirt like this should absolutely be part of your vacation check list because it pairs so well with virtually every other piece on your packing list for a tropical vacation. For something that makes more of a statement, a kaftan, tunic, or kimono/robe-style coverup is perfect for on the beach or around the resort.
Remember to choose cover-ups that are easy to slip on and off, quick-drying, and offer adequate coverage for your comfort. They should also provide protection against the sun while allowing airflow to keep you cool. Select cover-ups that match your personal style and complement your bathing suit, allowing you to switch from the beach to other activities that require a little more coverage. The Mexico dress code will vary by establishment, but most restaurants on and off the resorts do not allow swimwear, so a coverup is the perfect piece for a before or after beach meal.
Sandals – An Essential for Your Mexico Travel Packing List
There are a few different types of sandals to consider for your beach vacation. Flip flops or slides for the beach and pool; something with a sturdy sole and arch support that’s good for walking around town; embellished or otherwise more stylish option that can be worn to dinner or evenings out; and ideally something that can can transition between all three! My go-to styles are Birkenstocks for their comfort and durability, as well as espadrilles and other woven-type of footwear for a classic, beachy look. A sleek black sandal is also a great way to transition beachwear from day to night.
Bags – To Complement What to Wear to a Resort in Mexico
Nothing completes a vacation look better than a straw, woven, or beaded bag. Whether it’s a straw tote, a bucket bag, or a crossbody style, these types of bags offer a natural and beachy vibe. Look for intricate weaves, tassel or handle accents, or even pops of color for added flair. These lightweight bags complement every look from sundresses, maxi dresses, or casual beach ensembles.
Hats + Sunglasses – Mexico Travel Essentials
A hat and sunglasses are two things to take to Mexico that you definitely don’t want to forget. Much like the straw bag, the straw hat is a vacation wardrobe staple that is both functional, and does a lot for making an outfit look more put together. A straw hat is a classic and timeless choice for beachgoers while providing extra sun protection. A medium brim offers a more contemporary look than very wide or very narrow, and come in a variety of crown shapes.
Don’t forget to add a chic pair of sunglasses. a frame that is more square or cat-eye is never a bad choice in my opinion, while smaller sunglasses provide a more trendy and contemporary look.
Bathing Suits – One of the Most Important Things to Pack for Mexico
Bathing suit styles can be a deeply personal choice, but in my eyes the little black bathing suit is my beach vacation answer to the little black dress. Below are the best selling styles for a variety of cuts ranging from cheeky two-piece, to high-waisted and fuller coverage, or flattering one pieces with unique cuts. Pair your black bathing suit with denim shorts and a button down shirt and you’ll be good to go from the beach to town and beyond.
TIP: I recommend packing two bathing suits so you can alternate between days while one may still be wet and drying.
Jewelry – Completing Your Cute Outfits for Mexico Vacation
Want to know what not to wear in Mexico? Expensive jewelry. Leave your valuables and diamonds behind and opt for some simple pieces on the more inexpensive side.
A few minimalist pieces of jewelry can really elevate your outfits to wear to Mexico and overall vacation aesthetic. While gold jewelry flatters most tones and gives off a warm, glowy, and sun-kissed feel, silver jewelry sparkles beautifully in its own right, if silver is your preference. You only need a few simple pieces to really make your look: some hoop earrings, a layered necklace to make things easy, and a dainty ankle bracelet. Jewelry is the key to making any outfit look chic and put together, from something as simple as a white linen button down and denim shorts, to a fun maxi dress or evening mini.
More Essential Things to Bring to Mexico
There are a few more important things you shouldn’t forget to include on your Mexico travel checklist:
Reef-safe sunscreen (Love this one that also gives a glow.)
Sneakers (Wear them on travel days and if you plan on doing active excursions.)
Phone Charger (No adapter needed for US travelers.)
Toiletries (Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hair brush, makeup, skincare, perfume.)
Tropical Vacation Packing List – What to Bring to Mexico (or Any Other Beach Vacation)
Save the following printable vacation packing list or take a screen shot to refer to when you’re packing for your Mexico trip or any other beach vacation.
I hope this guide was helpful for you, and by now that you ,too, are an expert in what to wear in Mexico. Whether you’re lounging by the water, exploring coastal towns, or dancing under the stars, remember that the true essence of beach fashion lies in expressing your unique personality and embracing the elements of sun, sand, and sea. So pack your bags with a mix of comfort and style, and let your Insta or Pinterest-ready vacation begin.