Last Updated on July 10, 2023 by Umer Malik
A tea party is a formal and elegant social event, often characterized by tea, sandwiches, and pastries. The attire for a tea party is traditionally formal and sophisticated, focusing on classic, timeless styles. In this guide, you will learn about tea party attire in detail.
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Importance of tea party attire
The attire worn at a tea party is an essential aspect of the event as it sets the tone and atmosphere for the gathering. Dressing appropriately for a tea party shows respect for the occasion and adds to the overall elegance of the event.
Traditionally, tea parties were associated with upper-class society, and the attire worn was formal. Women wear a dress or skirt and blouse, with accessories such as gloves, a hat, and pearls. Men would wear a suit and ties. However, the attire worn at modern tea parties can be more relaxed, but it is still important to dress nicely and in a way that is appropriate for the occasion.
For a casual tea party, a sundress or khakis and a button-down shirt may be appropriate for women and men. However, a longer dress, suit, and tie would be more suitable for a formal tea party.
It is also essential to consider the location and setting of the tea party, as attire that may be appropriate for an outdoor garden party may not be suitable for an indoor event at a fancy hotel.
In addition to clothing, attention should also be paid to grooming and personal hygiene. It includes ensuring hair is styled, applying makeup, and shoes are polished. Make sure you pay attention to details like jewelry and accessories as they can add an element of elegance to any outfit.
Types of tea party attire
· Formal attire
For a formal tea party, attire should be elegant and refined. In the case of men, they should wear a suit and tie, while in the case of women, they should wear a traditional dress or a dressy pantsuit. As the focus should be on the outfit itself, accessories should also be kept to a minimum. Gloves, hats, and elegant jewelry can be worn to add a touch of sophistication.
· Semi-formal attire
There is a certain level of elegance required with semi-formal attire, but it is more relaxed than formal attire. Men can wear a blazer or a sports coat with dress pants, while women can wear a cocktail dress or a dressy skirt and blouse. Accessories can be worn to add a personal touch, such as a statement necklace or a pair of stylish earrings.
· Informal attire
Informal attire is the most flexible option for a tea party. Men can wear a collared shirt and dress pants, while women can wear a sundress, blouse, or skirt. Accessories can be worn to add a pop of color, such as a brightly colored scarf or a fun pair of earrings.
· Traditional attire
The attire for a traditional tea party is typically a long dress or skirt and blouse for women and a suit and tie for men. The length of dresses and skirts should be knee-length or longer, and blouses should be high-necked and have sleeves. It is recommended that men wear a dark suit and tie, along with a crisp white shirt. An elegant look can be achieved with accessories such as gloves, hats, and pearl necklaces.
· Modern attire
For a more modern take on tea party attire, consider a tea-length dress or a midi skirt and blouse for women. It is possible for men to wear slacks and a button-up shirt instead of a full suit. Bright colors and bold patterns are also acceptable for a modern tea party.
· Creative attire
You can have more fun with your casual or creative tea party attire. A sundress or maxi dress for women and shorts and a button-up shirt for men are both great options. Incorporate vintage or vintage-inspired pieces into your outfit as well as experiment with colors and patterns.
Basic steps to wear tea party attire
· Determine the level of party
Attending a tea party requires an understanding of the event’s formality. If the invitation specifies “black tie” or “formal attire,” it is best to wear a formal gown or evening wear. If the invitation sets “business casual” or “informal,” it is appropriate to wear a lovely dress or pantsuit.
· Choosing the right color
When selecting an outfit for a tea party, choosing colors appropriate for the occasion is essential. It is best to stick with classic colors such as black, white, or navy blue for a formal tea party. You can experiment with brighter colors and patterns for an informal tea party.
Accessories can add a touch of elegance to your tea party attire. Consider wearing a statement necklace, earrings, and a clutch for a formal event. Consider a statement scarf or a pair of statement earrings for an informal event.
· Shoes and hosiery
For a formal tea party, wearing closed-toe heels and hose in a neutral color such as black or nude is best. For an informal tea party, you can wear open-toe heels or flats.
· Makeup and hair
Complementing your outfit with your hair and makeup is important. It is best to wear your hair up in a sleek bun or chignon for a formal tea party. You can wear your hair down in loose waves or curls for an informal tea party. A natural makeup look is appropriate for both formal and informal tea parties.
· The finishing touches
In order to dress appropriately for a tea party, it is important to pay attention to details. Maintain a clean, wrinkle-free, and pressed appearance. Consider carrying a small handbag or clutch to hold essentials such as your cell phone, keys, and lipstick.
For men, the traditional attire for a tea party is a suit and tie. It is appropriate to wear a classic, tailored suit in a neutral color such as black, navy, or gray. If possible, wear a French-cuffed white dress shirt underneath the suit jacket. A tie, either a solid color or a subtle pattern, should be worn with the suit and shirt.
Accessories such as a pocket square and a lapel pin can add a touch of elegance to the outfit. A classic watch and dress shoes, such as oxfords or loafers, should be worn to complete the look.
For women, the traditional attire for tea parties is a dress or skirt and blouse ensemble. It is appropriate to wear a classic, fitted dress in a neutral color such as black, navy, or gray. It is recommended to wear knee-length dresses or skirts and to wear a blouse with sleeves that are neutral in color. Hats, either fascinators or cloches, are optional accessories.
Top 10 best tea party attire ideas
1. Classic and elegant
A tea party calls for classic and elegant attire, and a black or navy blue dress, paired with pearls and heels, is a perfect choice. Consider a dress that falls just above the knee and has an elegant, sophisticated design.
2. Vintage charm
For a tea party, a vintage-inspired dress can add a touch of charm and elegance to your outfit. Make sure the dress has a high neckline, long sleeves, and a full skirt. Pair it with a pair of vintage-inspired heels and a small clutch.
3. Feminine and flirty
A tea party is a perfect opportunity to wear something feminine and flirty. A pastel-colored dress with a floral print, paired with heels and a small clutch, is a great option. Add a hat or a fascinator for a touch of elegance.
4. Chic and modern
For a more modern and chic look, opt for a sleek and simple dress in a neutral color, such as black or white. Add a statement necklace and heels to complete the look. Add a blazer or a cardigan for a touch of warmth.
5. Classic little black dress
A timeless and sophisticated choice, the little black dress is a must-have for any tea party. Pair it with pearls and heels for a chic and elegant look.
6. Floral maxi dress
A flowy, floral maxi dress is perfect for a garden or outdoor tea party. Choose a dress with a feminine print and pair it with wedges for a casual yet put-together look.
7. High-low hem dress
A high-low hem dress is a modern twist on a classic tea party look. Choose a dress with a modest neckline and pair it with heels for a playful yet sophisticated look.
8. Elegant and timeless
A tea party is a perfect opportunity to wear something elegant and timeless. A long, flowing dress in a neutral color, such as beige or cream, paired with heels and a simple clutch, is a great option. Add a hat or a fascinator for a touch of elegance.
9. Preppy and polished
A tea party is a perfect opportunity to wear something preppy and polished. A button-up shirt, paired with a knee-length skirt and loafers, is a great option. For a touch of warmth, wear a cardigan or blazer.
10. Bohemian and casual
A tea party is a perfect opportunity to wear something bohemian and casual. A maxi dress or a long skirt, paired with a blouse and sandals, is a great option. Add a statement necklace and a wide-brimmed hat for a touch of elegance.
Difference between high tea and afternoon tea
High tea and afternoon tea are both traditional British meals, but they have distinct differences in their history, customs, and menus. High tea, also known as “meat tea,” is a hearty meal typically served in the late afternoon or early evening, usually between 5 and 7 pm.
It typically includes a main course, such as roast beef or fish and chips, and sides, such as potatoes and vegetables. High tea was traditionally served to working-class families as their main evening meal, and it was often the only hot meal they would have all day.
On the other hand, afternoon tea is a lighter meal usually served between 3 and 5 pm. A selection of sandwiches, scones, and pastries typically accompany a cup of tea or coffee. In the past, afternoon tea was traditionally served between lunch and dinner by the upper class. As well as socializing, it was an opportunity to show off one’s wealth and status.
Regarding presentation, high tea is usually served on a large table with simple, practical tableware, whereas afternoon tea is often performed on tiered stands with delicate china and silverware.
When attending a tea party, it is essential to dress in a manner that is traditional and sophisticated. Men should wear a suit and tie, while women should wear a dress or skirt and blouse ensemble.
Accessories such as pocket squares, lapel pins, pearl or diamond jewelry, and a classic handbag can add a touch of elegance to the outfit. Hats are optional but add a touch of sophistication. Remember to keep it classic and timeless, and you’re sure to make a great impression at your next tea party.