Who doesn’t love a fun-filled afternoon filled with good food and friends? That’s what I think of when the idea of what to wear to afternoon tea is broached.
I remember the first afternoon tea I attended like it was yesterday. It was in Georgia with the woman of the kid I used to babysit after school every day. I wore a vintage hat and even gloves because that was what I imagined women should wear to afternoon tea.
Quote of the day: “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” Epicurus
Getting dressed up is not a prerequisite for what to wear to afternoon tea, but it certainly makes it more fun and special. That doesn’t mean you have to go shopping to find something. A peek in your closet can be all of the shopping that you need (as long as you don’t subscribe to the theory that you should only buy things you can wear every day).
I always think afternoon tea is one of those events that seems celebratory, and that you want to wear something fun that makes you happy.
We have showcased many looks for special events that could give you the same kind of inspiration you might want for what to wear for afternoon tea. Check them out below.
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Dressing Appropriately for Afternoon Tea
If you’re of the older generation, you automatically consider appropriate attire for what to wear to afternoon tea.
Is it okay to wear pants? Of course.
Can you wear neutrals? Definitely
Charlotte is incorporating the idea of wearing neutrals and then adding some colorful elements with her shoes and accessories.
If you are more of a minimalist with color, this could be perfect for you.
The dress and sheer overlay is a set that my mom made over 15 years ago. The best thing about it is how it can be easily broken up and worn with many other outfits (in all reality, my mom doesn’t do that, but she should).
Just think. This sheer piece could be considered a kimono and would look fabulous over a column of bright pink or even white.
The dress is a tan shift dress and could be updated with a colorful blazer or by layering a midi, pleated skirt over it.
Red Accents with a Neutral Outfit
One disadvantage of always wearing a neutral look, especially for a celebratory event, is you might give off the impression that you’re not happy. Neutrals can give off the vibe of being subdued and blending into the background.
That’s where colorful accessories and shoes can play a huge role in your look. Notice my mom even incorporated a bit of whimsy with her owl earrings.
Insider tip: You don’t have to match your shoes with the other accessories. You could just as easily mix up the colors with an orange purse and green jewelry.
What is Considered Tea Attire?
Dresses fit the bill for an easy option of what to wear to afternoon tea. Especially a modern-looking dress that has tiers like the one Lesley is wearing.
In Lesley’s words: “I fell in love with this dress with its light and airy layers and soft colors that are not my usual style. It’s so feminine, fun, and fluttery.”
Insider tip: These tiered dresses are fabulous for women of any age and any size. If you worry about the tier ending at your widest part, then look at dresses with print material. Any print acts as a camouflage more than a solid color material.
Shoulder baring dresses (or tops) are iconic for summer. I know I never felt comfortable wearing them before I researched the idea of a comfortable strapless bra. It’s been such a game changer for the summer months.
Maybe it’s because I got tired of thinking “I can’t wear a normal bra with that summer top/dress, so it’s not for me.” How sad that our undergarments dictate what we wear.
Lesley also brought a scarf to throw over her shoulders in case the air-conditioning is extra cold.
Lesley’s accessories would be considered the opposite of Charlotte’s. Charlotte’s are meant to be the focal point, whereas Lesley’s are meant to blend in and not be the focus.
Skin colored shoes put all of the focus on the incredible dress.
On top of that, Lesley is wearing a couple of delicate, gold necklaces that give the look some bling. Even with a couple of these necklaces, the dress is still the star of the show.
Her crochet bag may be a neutral, but it still has some interesting texture and really gives off a great summer vibe.
Colorful Idea of What to Wear to Afternoon Tea
If you have been keeping up with social media or even noticing the colors at retail stores, then I’m sure you realize that bright pink is a hot color. Much of it is due to the Barbiecore trend (which we discussed when we all donned bright pink pants.
I found this bright pink shirt dress on a popular clothing site that is being shared by many of my Instagram friends (if you are interested in anything on their site, use code Mireille20 to get a discount). I incorrectly thought it buttoned all the way down the front which was my preference so I could also wear it as a duster.
However, I may try to alter it to have that option since it came with a matching self-belt that will give me some material to play with.
For our theme of what to wear to afternoon tea, I decided to be even more colorful by wearing a yellow belt with the pink dress.
Insider tip: For the AC, I brought along this button-up yellow blouse that I buttoned in an origami fashion seen in as seen in this video.
BTW, this trick works best with a blouse that isn’t too stiff.
Midi dresses have really become a favorite of mine in these last couple of years. They provide coverage and are easy to sit in without flashing. I used to think they weren’t flattering or sexy, but I’m over that.
Since the outfit was full of solid colored items, I brought in floral prints with my sandals, purse, and earrings.
These earrings are wood and extremely lightweight. It’s something I prefer at this stage of the game.
The cherry on the top is this vintage hat that used to be my grandma’s. I thought it was perfect for the theme of what to wear to afternoon tea.
BTW, Lesley is wearing a hair piece too. Hers is a scrunchie-like piece (you can find them on Amazon) whereas mine are halo-type extensions.
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