5 Outfit Ideas to Wear to an Afternoon Tea Party
Updated: Feb 22
It was only in 2022 that I started partaking in the high tea society. I had always been intrigued by the idea of dressing up for afternoon tea. It seemed to be a foreign (British?) concept and being the bougie person that I am, I was drawn to it. I was able to organize and attend my first high tea party during the summer of last year and it was so much fun.
There is this tearoom in Ottawa called Vanitea Room and they serve many delicious small bites and desserts. They also offer a large selection of all sorts of teas served in fancy China. It was the perfect excuse to dress up for what became brunch. The décor, ambiance and finger sandwiches were a different vibe from my usual modern restaurants.
Although we did not show up dressed like we came from the Victorian era, out outfits were definitely different from what we would normally wear to brunch. This got me thinking, ‘do folks wonder how they can dress to high tea events’?’ There is indeed high tea attire which is different from your everyday wear to some extent. This is because a tea party is typically a semi-formal event.
In today’s blog post, I would be sharing some great tea party outfits you can try out if this is your first high tea experience. Tea parties are a fun and different way to share a meal with friends and/or family. Sometimes, they are themed events requesting strict dress codes. I would be sharing outfits that could work for most high tea events.
Image source here
You may already own most of the items I would be mentioning but to stand out at your next tea parties, you may have to add a couple of things to your wardrobe. Depending on how subtle or attention-grabbing you want your outfit to be, you could add or subtract things from these looks. The most important thing is to look stylish while sipping on some cream tea.
*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, at no cost to you.
What to wear to a tea party
1) Palazzo pants and a shirt
If you are going to wear pants to a tea party, they cannot be your basic dress pants. Everything deserves to be a little exaggerated when it comes to tea party attire. Wide-legged pants like palazzo pants can be paired with a structured blazer to create a chic look worthy of this special occasion. Wear a simple blouse underneath to make the pants the main focus.
Get the look HERE
A button-down collared shirt is a good choice to go with to make your outfit more formal. For a less formal event, choose a cropped white collared shirt and pair with palazzo pants in a bright color. Tuck in your button-down shirt for a clean look. If this is a garden party, complete your look with a large hat.
I also love this burnt orange option HERE
2) Midi dress
Longer dresses such as midi dresses are more appropriate for an afternoon tea party. This is not the time to pull out your favorite mini dress. Fancy dresses are most welcome and a good idea when it comes to tea parties. If your event is a garden party, you could wear a midi dress with floral prints.
Get the look HERE
For an Easter tea party, try going for a midi dress in one (or many) pastel colors for a fresh Spring look. A high tea dress is typically flared and not form-fitting. Think of A-line dresses or a pleated dress. This adds some elegance and sophistication to your outfit. If this is a themed tea party, try slipping a petticoat or underskirt to make your dress more dramatic.
3) Blouse and maxi skirt
Long skirts paired with sleeved blouses make for great tea time attire. This is a chic feminine look you could pair with either ballet flats or a pair of high heels depending on your personal preference. Choose a blouse in a solid color if your skirt is a little busy. You can also create a monochromatic look by choosing a blouse and skirt in the same color. A puff sleeve blouse creates a classy look with your long skirt.
Get the look HERE
To make your high tea outfits stand out, add flower crowns to your head. They are the perfect statement piece to draw attention to you and start conversations. A flower crown also adds some color to your outfit.
You could pair it with a simple white midi dress to create the perfect outfit for a late afternoon outdoor tea party in New York. Complete your look with a pair of heels in a neutral color.
Get your flower crown HERE
4) Maxi dress
Maxi dresses are great options to wear to a tea party. They are long enough to be paired with low heels while maintaining a stylish look. During the summer months, you can create a chic afternoon tea outfit by pairing a strapless summer maxi dress with a light shawl and some bold accessories. If your dress features lots of colors or prints, choose a pair of nude heels.
Get the look HERE
Maxi dresses that are more conservative and considered high tea style versus body-hugging maxi dresses. If you find your maxi is exposing a lot of skin, throw on a bolero or scarf to cover your arms and shoulders. Some tea parties, such as baby showers, have a smart casual dress code and so you could expose more skin.
Don’t forget to add a petticoat under your dress if you want it to be more poofy. I suggest THIS ONE.
For some more tips on covering your arms while wearing a strapless or sleeveless dress, check out my post: 8 items you can wear over your cocktail dress.
5) Off-shoulder top with a midi skirt
The general rule when it comes to high tea etiquette is to show less skin. However, an exception to this rule is if you are pairing a shoulder-bearing top with a reserved bottom. Think of poofy skirts such as tulle skirts. You can create a classic look by airing an off-shoulder top in a solid color with a flared midi skirt and adding a fascinator.
Image source here
Fascinators are always a wonderful choice when it comes to tea parties. Pair them with your skirts and dresses at social events to really stand out elegantly. Complete your look with a pair of dress shoes such as loafer or a pair of heeled sandals. During the warm months, opt for bright and light colors.
The accessories worn at tea parties are really what take the looks to the next level. I recommend you invest in one or two of the following if you want to create looks worthy of a traditional afternoon tea party:
- A fancy umbrella like THIS ONE
- A fascinator such as THIS ONE
- White gloves
- A flower crown
I hope you have gotten lots of outfit inspiration for what to wear to a tea party. I hope you enjoy delicious food and great conversations while looking oh so fabulous. Take your high tea look up a notch by adding any of the accessories mentioned above. Let me know which one is your favorite.
Check out my post: 8 outfits you can wear to a garden party for some more chic looks you can wear to fancy social events.
Until the next post,