Afternoon Tea Attire: How to Nail the Perfect Look

Afternoon tea attire is an elegant experience.

If you didn’t know, afternoon tea was introduced back in 1840, by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford.

It was well-known that she became hungry in the late afternoon, because of which she began requesting a tray of tea with bread, butter, and sandwich fillings.

This shortly caught on among her peers and became what we now refer to as afternoon tea.

The occasion has now become a popular outing, suitable for celebrations, casual meetings, and a time for indulgence.

If you happen to have an afternoon tea outing scheduled soon, here are a few tips on what to wear.

Afternoon Tea Attire: From Casual to Royal Standards

Most afternoon tea venues usually have a relaxed, smart, and casual dress code, so there are many different ways you can dress for afternoon tea.

You could opt for a relaxed and easy look with a dress or skirt and shirt combination, or you can go slightly more formal with a trouser suit look.

Dressing for afternoon tea can be modified to however smart or casual you may feel. While you can get away with a smart top and pants, if you don’t feel like dressing up.

Afternoon Tea Attire
Instagram
Afternoon Tea Attire
Instagram
Afternoon Tea Attire
Instagram
Afternoon Tea Attire
Instagram
Afternoon Tea Attire
Instagram
Afternoon Tea Attire
Instagram

For the Ladies: Dresses, Skirts, and Blouses

For many women dressing up in elegant outfits is much of the fun of afternoon tea.

It’s the perfect excuse to wear hats, fascinators, and classic jewelry!

But dressing in a feminine look is not required.

Though some women will opt for a fancy dress or a long skirt, dress pants are fine if they’re well-tailored.

For garden party teas, a floral print dress and wide brimmed hat would be a great option.

But you could also dress up a simple day dress or pants outfit with a bright colored scarf.

Afternoon tea in a London, Paris, or New York hotel is a formal event.

Though both of the garden tea outfits would work (I’d remove the hat), in this fancier setting the skies the limit!

A more formal choice would be a trouser suit, which would consist of a shirt or blouse, a blazer, and trousers.

In recent years, suits really have shaken off their corporate reputation, you can dress them down to how you please.

Examples of less-formal trouser suits would include baby blues and sugary pinks, or other pastel coloured suits perfect for afternoon tea.

Velvet Mini Dress
SHOP NOW
Celestial Mini Dress
SHOP NOW
Plisse Mini Dress
SHOP NOW
Flower Embellished Mini Skirt
SHOP NOW
Floral Mesh Maxi Skirt
SHOP NOW
Knitted Bardot Top
SHOP NOW
Afternoon Tea Attire
Instagram
Afternoon Tea Attire
Instagram

Another Option: Trousers, Shirts, and Blazers

Usually, the attire requested for guests to adhere to for afternoon tea is ‘smart casual’.

This will generally mean no sports-branded trainers, t-shirts, shorts, or sportswear.

A typical outfit for afternoon tea would also include smart trousers and shoes, with a blouse or a shirt.

Depending on the weather you can keep it casual with a light-coloured or patterned short-sleeve shirt, or if it’s cooler consider wearing a smart V-neck pullover or even a roll neck jumper.

Embellished Velvet Pants
SHOP NOW
Velvet Tailored Pants
SHOP NOW
Afternoom tea attire 9
Embellished Black Blazer
SHOP NOW
Floral Kimono
SHOP NOW
Afternoon Tea Attire
Instagram
Afternoon Tea Attire
Instagram

The Footwear Dilemma: Flats, Heels, or Loafers?

For any high tea party, high heels, low heels, or strappy sandals all look great. Usually you should pack a pair of ballet flats as that’s better for people who don’t like heels.

Metallic Star Platforms
SHOP NOW
Beige Mary Janes
SHOP NOW
Pink Metallic Bag
SHOP NOW
Afternoon Tea Attire
Instagram
Afternoon Tea Attire
Instagram
Afternoon Tea Attire
Instagram
Afternoon Tea Attire
Instagram
Afternoon Tea Attire
Instagram

Accessorizing Your Afternoon Tea Look

Almost any outfit can be fancied up with accessories.

You should wear real jewelry but at the same time make sure to have extra costume jewelry so you won’t be heartbroken if they’re lost or something happens to them.

Also, hats and scarves are a good option for you, you can get one or two scarves in fun prints, and a hair accessory and you’ve got a classy look.

Sequin Disc Bag
SHOP NOW
Green Half-Moon Bag
SHOP NOW
Golden Croc Patterned Bag
SHOP NOW
Afternoon Tea Attire
Instagram
Afternoon Tea Attire
Instagram
Afternoon Tea Attire
Instagram
Afternoon Tea Attire
Instagram
Afternoon Tea Attire
Instagram
Afternoon Tea Attire
Instagram

Seasonal Considerations: Spring Tea vs. Winter Warmers

When it’s a little colder outside, you can just make sure to have a cardigan or a blazer and a heavy scarf to stay warm.

When it’s hot outside, the best thing to wear probably is a light flowy floral dress.

Common Faux Pas and How to Avoid Them

A few things you want to be careful not to do is wearing jeans or being too casual, try to stay a little modest, like be careful your top isn’t too low and your skirt isn’t too high.

Stay classy with your shoes, don’t wear any sneakers, flip flops, or hiking shoes for instance.

Conclusion: Your Perfect Afternoon Tea Outfit Checklist

Afternoon tea is your opportunity to have a fancy day out and dress up a little.

So stay classy with your outfit and try not to over do it.

More Fashion Articles

Concert Dresses: Decoding the Best Styles for Every Venue

Black Leather Shorts Outfit: Unleashing Your Edgy Side

33+ Trendy Winter Winery Outfit Ideas [2024]

Julie Higgins
Author
Julie is a Staff Writer at momooze.com. She has been working in publishing houses before joining the editorial team at momooze. Julie's love and passion are topics around beauty, lifestyle, hair and nails.