Tea Party Attire: A Chic Guide On What to Wear

Joanna Elizabeth


Updated November 4, 2023

Tea Party Attire
Explore the world of tea party attire.

Tea parties are occasions that call for elegance and sophistication in your outfit. When finding out what tea party attire to wear, whether you’re attending a garden tea party, an indoor tea party, a vintage tea party, or even a costume tea party, it’s essential to dress appropriately for the event. 

Our comprehensive guide will explore the ins and outs of tea party attire, from dresses to accessories, so that you can make a stylish statement at your next tea party. 

Tea Party Attire Guide

Blue Dress What Wear Tea Party
The tea party has a long history. Photo: iStock

When it comes to tea party attire, the general rule of thumb is to keep it modest and elegant. Tea parties are special occasions that call for dresses or skirts, but a nice blouse and dress pants can also work well if you want something more tailored.

The length of the skirt or dress should be knee-length or longer, and it’s best to opt for elegant cuts and silhouettes. Much like a white party, pay attention to the dress code on your invitation to find out what to wear.

Dresses: Midi or Maxi Length, Floral Prints & Pretty Pastels

Floral Print Dress What Wear Tea Party
You can’t go wrong with a long floral print dress at a tea event. Photo: FP

A tea party is the perfect occasion to showcase your love for dresses. Look for midi or maxi-length dresses in floral prints or pretty pastel colors. These feminine and timeless patterns and hues are perfect for tea parties.

Choose classic and flattering cuts like fit-and-flare dresses or tea-length dresses. These styles are flattering on most body types and exude a sense of grace and elegance.

Skirts & Blouses: A Lovely Combination

Top Skirt What Wear Tea Party
Whether formal or casual, a top and skirt make a good combination. Photo: FP

If dresses are not your cup of tea, you can opt for a lovely long skirt paired with an elegant blouse. Look for skirts in flowy fabrics like chiffon or silk, and pair them with a blouse in a complementary color or pattern.

Make sure the skirt and blouse are well-fitted and create a cohesive ensemble. This combination is perfect for those who prefer a more relaxed and comfortable outfit while still looking chic and sophisticated.

Pants: A Suitable Sophistication

Blouse Pants What Wear Tea Party
Play with pastels when wearing pants at a tea party. Photo: Shutterstock.com

When it comes to tea party outfits, dresses and skirts often steal the spotlight. However, pants can be a chic and sophisticated choice for a tea party ensemble. Opt for tailored trousers in luxurious fabrics like silk or satin for an elevated look. 

Pair them with a feminine blouse or a delicate lace top to maintain a polished look. Complete the outfit with statement accessories such as a chic belt, a stylish handbag, and dainty jewelry. Choose pants that have a tailored fit and a flattering silhouette to strike the perfect balance between comfort and style. 


Accessories Tea Party Attire
Find out the different accessories to wear. Photo: Deposit Photos

Accessories play a crucial role in completing the perfect tea party ensemble. To ensure you’re dressed to impress, let’s explore the different sections of accessories that will elevate your look and maintain an elegant tone.


Hats What Wear Tea Party
Wearing a hat can pull your tea party look together. Photo: Shutterstock.com

No tea party outfit is complete without a stunning hat. Hats are a timeless accessory that exudes sophistication and charm. Consider a wide-brimmed hat for added glamour or a classic pillbox style for elegance. 

Adorn it with feathers, flowers, or ribbons to make a striking statement. Protect yourself from the sun while looking fabulous.

Delicate Jewelry

Jewelry What Wear Tea Party
Elegant jewelry will complement your party outfit. Photo: Shutterstock.com

Elevate your tea party ensemble with delicately crafted jewelry. Choose timeless pieces like pearl necklaces, earrings, and bracelets for an elegant touch. 

Pearls add a soft luster and sophistication to your look. Opt for dainty designs that complement your outfit without overpowering it. 

Delicate gold or silver chains with small gemstones can provide subtle sparkle and refinement. Let your jewelry enhance your overall appearance with grace and beauty.

Dressy Footwear

Heels Shoes What Wear Tea Party
Heels are a chic option for this type of party. Photo: Shutterstock.com

Strike the perfect balance between style and comfort with your tea party footwear. Closed-toe pumps are a classic choice that adds a polished touch to your outfit. 

For warm weather, choose dressy sandals that offer style and breathability. Kitten heels are comfortable yet chic if you prefer a lower heel shoe. 

And if you value both style and comfort, dressy flats are a versatile choice that allows you to move gracefully throughout the event. Avoid sinking into the grass with super tall stilettos, and enjoy the party without discomfort.


Bag Accessories What Wear Tea Party
A beige handbag can be worn with every outfit. Photo: FP

No tea party outfit is complete without a stylish and functional handbag. Opt for a small clutch or vintage-inspired frame bag for a classic and sophisticated look. These compact options hold essentials without overwhelming your outfit. 

Look for intricate details like beading or a delicate chain strap to add charm. A structured tote or satchel offers room for extras like an umbrella or notebook. 

Choose a handbag that complements your outfit’s color palette and theme. Look for secure closures and comfortable carrying options to ensure practicality and style at the tea party.

What Not to Wear: Dressing Appropriately for a Tea Party

Outdoor Dress What Wear Tea Party
No matter the occasion, pay attention to the invitation for your tea party look. Photo: FP

Tea party etiquette is all about dressing appropriately for the occasion. While there are no strict rules, it’s best to avoid certain styles that may not be suitable for a tea party setting. Here are some outfits to save for a different occasion:

  1. Bodycon Dresses: Tea parties are typically modest events, so saving your bodycon dresses for a night out at the club is best.
  2. Little Black Dresses: A little black dress is a wardrobe staple and may not be the best choice for a tea party. Opt for lighter colors or floral prints instead.
  3. Cocktail Attire: Tea parties are usually more casual and relaxed than cocktail parties, so save your cocktail attire for another occasion.
  4. Overly Revealing Clothing: Tea parties have a more conservative dress code, so avoid wearing anything that shows too much skin, such as crop tops or short skirts.

Tea Party Themes: Dressing to Match the Occasion

Alice Wonderland Theme What Wear Tea Party
Have fun with your look at a costume-themed tea party like this Alice in Wonderland style. Photo: Shutterstock.com

Tea parties often have specific themes, and dressing to match the occasion can make your outfit even more special. Let’s explore some popular tea party themes and outfit ideas to help you make a statement at themed tea parties.

Garden Party: Embrace Florals, Pastels & Long Skirts

Floral Gown What Wear Tea Party Reformation
Embrace romantic florals at a garden tea party with a dress like this Reformation style. Photo: Reformation

A garden party tea party calls for outfits that embrace the beauty of nature. Opt for floral prints, pastel colors, and long skirts. These feminine and romantic elements will complement the lush surroundings of a garden party. Accessorize with a sun hat, sunglasses, and a lightweight cardigan or wrap in case it gets chilly.

Vintage Tea Party: Channel the Elegance of the Past

Channel retro style with elegant lace and velvet.
Channel retro style with elegant lace and velvet. Photo: FP

For a vintage tea party, channel the elegance and charm of the past with your outfit. Consider wearing vintage-inspired dresses in styles reminiscent of the 1920s flapper or the 1950s woman. 

Accessorize with pearl necklaces and gloves; don’t forget a bold red lipstick. This theme allows you to have fun and be playful while maintaining a sense of sophistication.

Formal Tea Party: Classic Cocktail Dresses & Glam Accessories

Formal Dress What Wear Tea Party
At a formal tea party, a dramatic gown fits the dress code. Photo: FP

If you’re attending a formal tea party, it’s time to bring out your cocktail and floor-length dresses and glamorous accessories. Choose a classic cocktail dress in a flattering silhouette and pair it with sparkly jewelry and a clutch. Think of attire you would wear to a wedding.

Keep your look simple and chic, allowing the elegance of your outfit to shine through. This is the perfect occasion to showcase your refined and polished style.

High Tea Attire: Dressy Casual for a Relaxed Affair

High Tea What Wear Tea Party
A high tea dress doesn’t have to be super casual but can still be chic. Photo: FP

High tea attire can be confusing, as the term “high tea” is often misunderstood. High tea originated in England as a substantial meal served in the late afternoon or early evening, similar to dinner but lighter.

When it comes to high tea attire, the key is to dress in a dressy, casual manner. You want to look nice but not overdressed.

Consider wearing a sundress, a skirt and blouse combo, or a pair of trousers with a flowy top for high tea. Opt for comfortable yet dressy footwear, such as sandals or ballet flats. 

The goal is to look put together without looking like you’re trying too hard. Remember, high tea is a time to enjoy delicious treats and good company, so choose an outfit that allows you to do just that.

Hair & Makeup: Simple & Elegant Beauty

Hair Makeup What Wear Tea Party
Neutral hues are perfect for a tea party makeup look. Pair it with a pulled-back hairstyle. Photo: FP

Simplicity and elegance are essential when it comes to hair and makeup for a tea party. Aim for a natural, fresh-faced look that enhances your features without being too bold or flashy. 

Stick to soft or natural colors for your makeup, with a subtle lip color and a touch of mascara. Keep your hair simple yet polished, whether you choose to wear it up or down.

Consider the dress code and theme of the tea party when deciding on your hairstyle. A sleek updo can be perfect for a formal high tea, while soft, loose curls or waves can complement the natural surroundings of a garden party. The goal is to look refined, allowing your natural beauty to shine through.

Mastering Tea Party Elegance

Navigating the No Jeans Norm

Floral Pants Tea Party Outfit
Jeans are a no-go at a tea party. Instead, opt for a chic blouse and trouser combination. Photo: AGCreativeLab / Deposit Photos

A tea party is an affair where the casual appeal of jeans steps back, allowing more formal and dressier garments to take center stage. The environment of a tea party calls for an outfit that matches its elegant atmosphere.

So, while jeans are a staple in many wardrobes, they are best saved for less formal occasions. Instead, the invitation is to delve into the world of chic dresses, graceful skirts, or well-fitted pants that speak the language of poise and polish.

Is Black on the Guest List?

Outdoor Tea Party Attire
Go for vibrant colors at the party. Avoid dark colors like black. Photo: Deposit Photos

Black, with its universal appeal and timeless quality, often finds itself at the heart of fashion discussions. However, at a tea party, where the ambiance is light and effervescent, black is not always the best choice.

It can come across as too formal or stark, potentially overshadowing the event’s whimsical spirit. To truly embody the essence of a tea party, one might consider stepping into the realm of softer tones that echo the event’s vivacity and light-heartedness.

The Final Sip

Gingham Print What Wear Tea Party
A playful print like gingham fits at this type of event. Photo: FP

Knowing about what tea party attire to wear involves embracing elegance, femininity, and timeless style. Whether you opt for a dress, a skirt and blouse ensemble, or even pants, it’s essential to choose modest cuts and silhouettes that exude sophistication. 

Accessorizing with hats, delicate jewelry, and dressy footwear adds the finishing touches to your outfit, allowing you to make a memorable statement. Consider the theme of the tea party and select your attire accordingly, ensuring it aligns with the ambiance and setting.

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