What To Wear To High Tea?
It’s a special occasion and you want to look fabulous, yet appropriate – what to wear to high tea? Whether for an important business meeting or celebratory get-together with friends, the key is to be appropriately dressed while still feeling like yourself.
From the fabrics and colors that exude professionalism and sophistication to making sure your accessories complement rather than overpower your outfit – we’ve got all the tips you need on how to dress for high tea in style.
In this blog post, we will explore all the options for putting together an outfit perfect for high tea without breaking any fashion rules, which answers what should you wear to high tea. So, keep reading on and enjoy the exploration into the delightful world of high tea fashion.
What Is A High Tea?
High tea is a British custom of afternoon tea. It was traditionally taken at the end of a long day and served around 5 or 6 pm, typically accompanied by savoury food like sandwiches, fresh fruit and pastries, as well as sweet treats.
The name “high tea” comes from the tradition of taking the meal in an elevated position while seated on high chairs or sofas. In modern times, high tea has evolved to become less formal but still involves a more substantial array of foods that are shared among family and friends.
Depending on your preferences, it can be customized to include whatever you want to eat and drink — from finger sandwiches to scones with clotted cream. High tea remains a popular way for people to socialize, relax, and enjoy a delicious meal. There’s no better way to spend time with the people you care about than by indulging in a delightful high tea.
The Origin Of High Tea
High tea has its origins in the working-class tradition of afternoon tea, which started in England during the mid-19th century. Working people needed a way to break up their day before heading home after long hours and would take a pot of tea with them to work.
They’d usually have it around 4 or 6 pm. To make it more substantial, they added savoury foods like sandwiches and pastries that could be eaten while taking a break.
Over time, this evolved into what we now know as high tea — an afternoon meal typically served between 5 and 6 pm consisting of sweet and savoury dishes accompanied by hot drinks. High tea is still popular today for those looking for a delicious meal at home or wanting to celebrate special occasions with family and friends.
What To Wear To High Tea?
We’ve provided you with the definition of high tea and its origin as well, so what to wear to high tea? Are all clothes suitable for high tea?
As you know, high tea is a special kind of event, so it’s important to dress accordingly. The clothing you wear should be appropriate and don’t forget to take the venue into account — if it’s an elegant hotel or restaurant, you’ll want to dress more formally than if it’s a private home gathering.
Women can opt for dresses, skirts or trousers with a nice blouse; men may choose suits or dress pants with a shirt and tie. When in doubt, always err on the side of caution and go for something smart-casual but still sharp.
Moreover, you should also take into account the weather. If it’s a warm day, opt for light-coloured and breathable fabrics to keep cool. And if it’s cold outside, dress in layers to stay comfortable even after the sun goes down.
No matter what style you decide on, be sure to accessorize your look with jewelry or a scarf for an extra touch of sophistication. High tea is all about enjoying good company and savoring delicious food and drinks — so make sure you look the part!
With these tips, you will be dressed and ready to enjoy a wonderful afternoon of high tea.
Dress Code Of A High Tea
You’ve read what to wear to high tea, so it’s time to know about the different dress codes of high tea. Normally, it will be divided into three categories: casual, semi-formal, and formal attire. Here we mention some things you must know about these dress codes.
1) Casual Attire:
If you are attending a high tea in a casual setting such as someone’s home, then the dress code is generally casual. You can wear anything comfortable and stylish like jeans, khakis, and even shorts with a nice shirt or sweater.
2) Semi-formal attire:
This dress code is usually a bit more formal than casual but not too much. For men, semi-formal attire means wearing slacks or trousers with a blazer or sports coat and dress shirt; for ladies, it could be any nice dress or skirt and top combination.
3) Formal Attire:
This type of attire is what most people think of when they hear “high tea” — exquisite gowns, fine suits, beautiful hats and gloves. Men must wear a suit, preferably with a waistcoat or vest, and women should opt for a long dress or skirt and blouse ensemble.
No matter what type of high tea event you attend, remember to always check the invitation for specific instructions regarding the dress code.
What Colors Should I Wear For High Tea?
Depending on the type of high tea event you’re attending, you can choose to wear colors that are appropriate for the occasion.
For casual events, feel free to go for bright and bold shades like pinks, yellows or purples. However, if the event is semi-formal or formal, you may want to opt for more muted tones like whites, ivories and creams.
If you’re attending a themed high tea, such as an Alice in Wonderland or Mad Hatter’s event, then it would be appropriate to dress up in costumes or colorful outfits that match the theme. Also keep in mind that regardless of the dress code, you should always try to look polished and neat. Avoid wearing wrinkled clothes and avoid attire that is too revealing or inappropriate.
Of course, if the invitation mentions a colour scheme then stick to it – this could be anything from pastels to jewel tones. No matter what kind of high tea you’re attending or which dress code is requested, don’t forget to have fun.
What Kinds Of Shoes Should I Wear For High Tea?
When attending a high tea event, you should think about the type of shoes you’ll be wearing.
High heels are usually not the most comfortable choice when it comes to long events, so if possible opt for something more sensible like flats or low-heeled pumps. If the dress code is formal – such as an afternoon wedding reception – women can choose to wear either heeled sandals or close-toed pumps; while men may opt for smart loafers or dress shoes.
In any case, try to keep your footwear in line with what you’re wearing and avoid trainers or any other types of casual shoes. Also make sure that your feet will stay comfortable throughout the entire event by choosing shoes with breathable materials like cotton, leather or suede.
And last but not least, don’t forget to accessorize your look with a nice pair of gloves and/or a hat – these two items can really make you stand out from the crowd.
Women’s Outfit Ideas For High Tea
When it comes to women’s outfit ideas for high tea, the choices are practically endless. Depending on the dress code and location, you can choose from a variety of skirts, dresses, tops, and jumpsuits in different lengths and styles.
For casual events, try pairing an A-line skirt with a blouse or cardigan; for semi-formal occasions opt for something like a midi dress with heels or flats; and if the dress code is formal you could go for either long gowns or shorter cocktail dresses.
If you’re attending an outdoor event such as a garden party you may want to consider wearing a maxi dress – this way your legs will be covered up while still looking fashionable. Whatever your choices may be, make sure that you feel comfortable and confident in what you’re wearing.
In particular, here we mention some common outfit ideas for females to a high tea, which is suitable for everyone to try.
1) The White Pant Suit:
For a more sophisticated look, try opting for a white pantsuit that can be easily dressed up with accessories and jewelry.
2) Midi Dress:
A midi dress is ideal for semi-formal events; choose one in a light fabric like chiffon or linen, and accessorize it with heeled sandals and jewellery.
3) Tea Length Skirt:
If you want to show off your legs but don’t feel comfortable wearing a dress, opt for this flirty tea-length skirt paired with a blouse or camisole top.
4) Floral Maxi:
For outdoor high tea events, choose something comfortable yet stylish like a floral maxi dress – you can pair it with flat sandals or even sneakers for a more casual look.
For an effortless yet chic look, try a jumpsuit – it can be dressed up with high heels or down with flat sandals, depending on the occasion.
6) Cropped Top and Skirt:
For something more daring, try pairing a cropped top with a skirt and blazer – this is an easy way to add some personality to your high-tea outfit.
7) Wide-Leg Pants:
Wide-leg pants are perfect for those who want to stay comfortable while still looking elegant. Try wearing them with simple tops and accessories.
No matter what you decide to wear to a high tea event, make sure to keep in mind the occasion and dress appropriately.
Men’s Outfit Ideas For High Tea
When it comes to men’s attire for high tea, there are plenty of options depending on the dress code.
For a more casual event, try wearing chinos or linen trousers with a polo shirt; while for semi-formal occasions opt for dark slacks and a button-up shirt. If you’re attending a formal event, then consider wearing a suit – preferably in navy or grey – paired with smart shoes such as loafers or oxfords.
Here, we specifically discuss a few frequent attire suggestions for guys attending a high tea that are appropriate for everyone to try:
1) Chino Pants:
Chinos are an excellent choice when it comes to dressing up without being overly formal. Pair them with a button-up shirt and dress shoes for a more sophisticated look.
2) Linen Pants:
Linen pants are perfect for outdoor events, as they keep you fresh and comfortable even in hotter weather. Pair them with a polo shirt or linen blazer to complete the look.
For formal occasions, try wearing a dark-coloured suit – either navy or grey – paired with black leather shoes and a white pocket square for an understated yet stylish ensemble.
4) Blazer and Chinos:
For semi-formal occasions, opt for chinos with a blazer; this is an easy yet classic outfit that will never go out of style.
5) Bowtie and Waistcoat:
For something a bit more daring, try wearing a bowtie with a waistcoat – this is sure to make you stand out in the crowd whilst still being appropriate for the event.
No matter what you decide to wear to a high tea event, make sure that it is appropriate for the occasion and dress code. Comfort should also be taken into consideration when selecting an outfit, as looking stylish isn’t worth sacrificing your comfort level.
Is A Dress Required For High Tea?
It depends on the occasion and event. Generally speaking, cocktail attire or semi-formal attire is recommended for high tea events. For women, this can mean a dress, skirt and top combination, or jumpsuit; while for men it would usually involve chinos, trousers and/or blazers paired with shirts.
However, if you are attending an informal gathering then it may not be necessary to wear a dress – you could opt instead for trousers or jeans with a nice shirt or top.
Are Pants Allowed During High Tea?
Yes, pants are allowed at high tea events. Depending on the occasion and dress code, trousers such as chinos or linen pants may be appropriate; however, it is always best to check with the host beforehand if you’re unsure.
Are Heels Required for High Tea?
Heels are not mandatory for high tea events – though they can add a touch of sophistication to your look. For more formal occasions, heels may be expected; in this case it would be best to wear a pair that is comfortable yet stylish. However, for more casual gatherings flats or sandals would also suffice.
Do You Attend High Tea With A Hat?
It is not necessary to wear a hat for high tea; however, if you are attending an occasion where hats are expected – such as a wedding or garden party – then it would be best to have one on hand. Otherwise, opt for something more appropriate like a fascinator or headpiece.
Where Are The Best Places To Buy Outfits For High Tea?
There are plenty of stores that offer stylish and affordable outfits for high tea occasions, both online and in-store. Popular places to shop include department stores such as Macy’s or Nordstrom, as well as independent boutiques.
It’s also worth checking out second-hand stores or thrift shops if you’re looking for something more unique. Additionally, there are lots of websites specializing in men’s and women’s fashion specifically tailored to high tea events.
What Are Some Typical Accessories That Go Well With Outfits To High Tea?
Some classic accessories that can add a touch of sophistication to any high tea outfit include pocket squares, bow ties, waistcoats, and hats. Additionally, for women it is also possible to add a pair of statement earrings or a necklace for an extra bit of sparkle.
Shoes should always be comfortable yet stylish – either heels or flats depending on the occasion – while bags can range from small clutch purses to larger totes. Ultimately, the best accessories will depend on the event and your personal style.
In conclusion, now you should have all the information you need to know when it comes to what to wear to high tea. As long as you follow the type of dress code requested by the event host, are mindful of colors and materials, choose comfortable shoes that fit the occasion, and add some accessories – you will be dressed in your best for an afternoon (or evening) of delicious food and drinks. So go ahead and enjoy yourself!
I’m Cinda Saunders, a fashion designer. I specialize in womenswear, and I love creating pieces that make women feel beautiful and confident.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been interested in fashion. I would watch my mom get ready for church every Sunday, and I loved seeing her put on her dress and heels. She always looked so beautiful.
When I was older, I started designing my own clothes. And eventually, I decided to go to school to study fashion design.
I’m so grateful that I get to do what I love every day. And I hope to continue designing beautiful clothes for women for many years to come.