What to Wear to a Tea Party?

Afternoon Tea Attire

What to Wear to a Tea Party?

People have asked us what to wear to a tea party. While this depends to some degree upon the season and whether the party is indoors or out in the garden, there are some general rules that apply to most afternoon tea parties.

For women, afternoon tea attire is a particular style of clothing and accessories. While not formal, appropriate tea party apparel is generally more elegant than what we might wear on an ordinary day. After all, tea parties are extraordinary events. Traditions concerning afternoon tea have developed over centuries, and these include rules about apparel.

Sometimes the hostess will make specific requests concerning attire. She may request that you wear a particular color or to dress in a definite style if her tea party has a theme. In these cases, you should always do your best to honor her wishes. The party will have a better chance of success if everyone joins the fun.


At an afternoon tea, a woman will usually wear a short dress or skirt. An attractive floral print is perfect for summer. So is a pastel or bright color. With a skirt, a sweater set is traditional for cold weather, although any matching blouse or shirt is fine. Also, in fall or winter colors are deeper and fabrics warmer.

what to wear to a tea party

This dress by April Cornell with a wide brimmed hat is perfect for a summer tea party.


A hat is always appropriate at a tea party. These can include fascinators, cloches, pillbox and wide brimmed varieties. For advice concerning types of hats for afternoon tea parties and how to find one, you can check out this article.

what to nwear to a tea party

The fascinator: it doesn’t get much more fun than this!


A pretty shawl is the perfect accessory for an afternoon tea party, especially if you will be spending part of the time out of doors. A sweater that goes with your dress is another good option.

An afternoon tea party is an opportunity to use an extravagant accessory such as a feather boa, parasol, fan or a floral crown. If you are drawn to any of these or similar items, this is your chance. Dress up;  you will look and feel wonderful.


A lovely shawl has a timeless elegance.



Shoes can be dressy sandals in summer, but for fall and winter tea parties shoes should have closed toes. Heels are always optional. No matter what the magazines say, no woman is expected to wear them if she finds them uncomfortable. Nobody can feel relaxed with hurting feet!

what to wear to a tea party

These dressy flats are beautiful for a winter afternoon tea.

It is important to know what to wear to a tea party because the event will be more enjoyable when you are confident that you are wearing the right clothes for afternoon tea. For many visual examples of afternoon tea attire, check out the White Rabbit Teashop Pinterest board. You will see over 100 examples of beautiful ideas.