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If you ask 20 people for a definition of "semi-formal," you could get 20 different answers -- that's a good thing, though, not a bad thing. The beauty of semi-formal is that even the definition is semi-formal, because it's so open to interpretation. This means you can add your own personal influence when you dress in semi-formal attire, especially when you're vacationing somewhere as picturesque as Cancun, Mexico. Whether you're on vacation or attending a destination wedding, semi-formal attire in Cancun is the best way to look classy while staying comfortable.
A typical interpretation of "semi-formal" isn't particularly strict. For example, you might wear a cocktail dress, or a dressy skirt and blouse. In the states, you generally stick to darker, more formal colors like black, gray or navy during a nighttime affair, though if you're attending something in the daytime, you can get away with lighter, brighter, more playful fabrics like yellow, blue or pink.
When you're vacationing in Cancun, you have to remember that the climate and color palette is different than in the United States. For example, Cancun is sunny 253 days out of the year, meaning that you can almost always count on bright, sunny and warm weather. Stick to lightweight fabrics, and don't shy away from festive colors, even at night -- Cancun has a warm, festive, carefree environment that encourages you to let loose a little bit and ignore the rules that usually dictate your fashion choices.
If you're attending an event on the beach, that changes everything -- even when you're supposed to dress semi-formal. You have to not only look good but also handle the elements like the sand and the water. A formal sun dress, for example, pairs perfectly with flat sandals so that you can walk comfortably in the sand. When you wear a dress or a skirt, stick to something no shorter than knee-length -- this may be Cancun, but you aren't a co-ed on spring break.
Accessories are the perfect way to dress up a semi-formal outfit, especially one that may be colorful or beach-inspired. For example, don't wear basic thong flip-flops. Instead, dress up your feet with gladiator sandals that wrap around your ankles and calves -- bonus points if you go for a metallic finish. Wear your hair in a naturalistic style, not anything extravagant like a blowout, and give it a pop of Mexico-inspired personality with a colorful ribbon or a stylish hair clip.