What To Wear To Afternoon Tea: 9 Chic Outfit Ideas

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Afternoon tea is a classy way to spend time with friends and family over food. If you’re a little confused about what to wear for afternoon tea, check out our helpful guide!

Afternoon tea is a quintessentially British tradition that has slowly but surely made its way all over the world. It’s a great way to take a break from work and enjoy some delicious food and drinks with friends or family.

Afternoon tea is a formal or semi-formal affair that is enjoyed by people of all ages. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just taking a break from your day, afternoon tea is the perfect way to relax and enjoy some delicious food and drinks.

If you’re planning on attending an afternoon tea party, what should you wear? Well, it depends mostly on the venue that you’re going to – there isn’t a strict afternoon tea dress code that applies to all hotels, restaurants and cafes that serve afternoon tea.

However, it is generally considered proper etiquette to dress nicely for the occasion, which usually means adorning a semi-formal dress for the ladies, and smart casual attire for men, such as a blazer and chinos.

Let’s explore the attire a bit more, shall we?

What To Wear To Afternoon Tea

1. Semi-Formal Dresses

What to wear to afternoon tea: semi-formal dresses
Get this on Chichi London

When in doubt, always go for the more formal option! If you’re going to a fancy venue for your afternoon tea like the Savoy or the Ritz, it’s best to dress to impress. Some of the more traditional, older hotels also follow a strict dress code, which usually entails ladies wearing dresses or skirts.

There are a couple of retailers that we love for these types of dresses: Chichi London, Ted Baker, and Karen Millen are just a few of our British favorites that spring to mind.

2. Flowy dresses

Cute sage green flowy dress for afternoon tea
Get this dress on SilkFred

A flowy dress in floral prints is the perfect option for a more casual afternoon tea outfit. It’s comfortable and can be dressed up or down for a feminine look. Just make sure the dress isn’t too short; after all, this is still a respectable affair.

If you’re attending a more formal venue, make sure to complement your look with heels or dressy shoes.

3. Dress Pants & Top Combo

What to wear to afternoon tea: trousers and cute top
Get this look on Reiss

If you’re not into dresses, a cute top and pants combo is a great alternative for tea party attire. The key is to choose separates that are dressy enough for the occasion.

A blazer or cardigan can also be worn to dress up a more casual outfit. You can also accessorize with statement earrings and pearl necklaces. As for footwear, strappy sandals or block heels would be ideal.

4. Cute Top & Skirt Combo

What to wear to afternoon tea: navy blue pleated midi skirt outfit
Get this skirt on Net-A-Porter

Like the top & pants combo, a cute top and skirt combo is perfect for both indoor afternoon tea parties or garden parties during the Royal Regatta, for example. Again, make sure the fabrics are dressy and that the skirt isn’t too short.

You can make do with long skirts or a midi skirt paired with a blazer if it’s too chilly. Pair your outfit with ballet flats for a casual look or strappy heels for a dressy look.

5. Blazers/Trouser Suits

Beige blazer and leather pants
Get this blazer on Pretty Little Thing

A blazer or a matching trouser suit are great options for a modern afternoon tea look. It’s dressy and professional, yet still comfortable. Choose a suit in a light color or print to keep things looking fresh and summery.

Also, make sure the fabrics are appropriate and that you feel comfortable in your blazer. Be sure to choose smart trousers. As for footwear, you can never go wrong with a pair of sleek heels.

6. Jumpsuits

Tan brown jumpsuit for afternoon tea
Get this on Missguided

You don’t always have to show up in fancy dresses and trousers for tea parties! A jumpsuit is a great one-piece alternative to a dress, although they’re not the most practical if you are planning on drinking liters upon liters of liquids.

If you’re attending a more formal event in a tea room, opt for heels or dressy shoes with your jumpsuit.

Afternoon Tea Vs High Tea

There is often confusion between afternoon tea and high tea. While both are used interchangeably to refer to the same activity, there is a technical difference between the two.

Afternoon tea is a light snack usually consisting of finger sandwiches, scones, and cakes, while high tea is a more substantial meal that is usually eaten in the early evening.

Both meals are traditionally served with tea, but afternoon tea is typically served with lighter teas such as Earl Grey or Darjeeling, while high tea can be served with any type of tea. Nowadays, both can also be ordered with champagne or other bubbly, of course.

We hope you found this style guide on what to wear to afternoon tea helpful! If you’re still looking for more fashion inspiration, check the posts down below.

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