Inside: Pretty and fun outfit ideas to help you decide what to wear to a high tea.
A high tea is such a cute and classy event, you absolutely need the perfect outfit for it. It’s a non-negotiable!
If you’re heading to such an event and need outfit ideas, I got you! Unless you spend a lot of time in high society or in tea party type of events, this is a pretty different style from a normal get together or gathering with the girls for dinner and drinks. It’s a pretty style, and it’s very classy. There are dress codes and behavior expectations.
It’s always spring at a high tea, so pastels, light colors, florals, and silky and light fabrics are always in. Regardless of the time of year, high tea fashion stays the same. So get your best dress on and let’s get dressed for this tea time.
If this is your first tea, you’re going to love all of the elegance and magic in a high tea. Have the best time!
Table of Contents
What Is A High Tea
Traditionally, high tea is the tea time for the working class. Back in the day, it was more luxurious to have tea in the afternoon in the parlor, since you didn’t need to be working. However, those that had jobs to tend to during the day would have to wait until the late afternoon, between 3 and 5 PM to have tea. And it was often served as supper, or a late lunch.
It’s a more substantial and filling meal, rather than a simple tea with a scone type of menu.
If you’re attending a high tea now, it doesn’t necessarily take place during the technical high tea hours, but it will consist of more sandwiches and snacks than an afternoon tea.
You’ll hit the sandwich first, then the scones, and then a bit of desert. It’s a perfect line up to match with your tea you’re sipping, and it’s a lovely event to sit and chat with the ladies in your circle.
Etiquette is expected at these events, and it’s more than just your please and thank yous.
Let’s dive into it.
What To Expect At A High Tea
High tea is a very mindful event. If you can keep in mind all of the different etiquette elements that you learned growing up, or have picked up from those around you, you’ll be just fine.
It’s all of the proper things that we carry into everyday life, but it actually matters here. If not everyone has been served yet, wait to eat. Once you’re ready to eat, never use your hands to serve yourself, use a serving utensil or a fork. Of course eat the sandwich with your hands, but only after you place the folded napkin on your lap to catch the falling crumbs to keep your dress clean.
As I mentioned, there is a flow and specific order to the foods that you eat. Everyone eats the sandwiches first, then scones, and then the (usually small) desserts. It’s a natural flow, as it makes sense. But as this is a filler meal between an early lunch and a late dinner, there’s also the expectation that you don’t eat too much. Cruel, I know, when the food is so good! This is a pretty antiquated thought process, but it is one that is still relevant at high teas today. Only hold your saucer under your teacup if you are standing. If you are sitting back in your chair, hold your cup solo.
Of course the proper attire is required for these events, as to be expected and this is where it all starts. You get the invitation, and immediately start shopping for the perfect outfit for a high tea. It’s all a beautiful assortment of dresses and lovely styles, you’re going to love shopping for it! But with such a particular event, it can totally be tricky. So we’ll get into some specific styles later on.
Expect lots of small talk and chatter, but most importantly, a good time and some great tea time snacks!
What To Wear To A High Tea
While this isn’t the most elite society time for tea, it is still considered semi-formal. This is the time to live your dreams of a beautiful tea party outfit that you’re going to love getting dressed up in.
Hats, gloves, and silky floral dress is the move for this event, and once it all comes together you’re going to have no choice but to be in love with your whole outfit.
If you choose to wear gloves, remember to remove them before the serving of the tea. The purpose being to have kept your hands clean for the finger foods coming your way.
Silks or other light fabrics, pastels, florals, and light colors will always be in style here at a high tea. Even in the winter and fall, there are no other options and color choices. No black will ever be the move, it’s all about the bright and light tones here. Think Bridgerton, think elegance and beautiful fabrics and patterns from the times of high tea parties.
Jeans or pants of any kind are a hard no. This is the time to really get dressed up and have fun with the style! You can do it, and have a lot of fun with it while dressing for your girliest daydreams.
What To Wear To A High Tea
1. Pink Cottage Core
2. Fancy Florals
3. Fluffy Babydoll Outfits
4. Pretty Floral V Neck
5. Polka Dots
6. The Perfect Empire
High Tea Outfit Ideas
7. European Style
8. Frill And Florals
10. Peasant Sleeve
11. Dotted Jumpsuit
12. Purple Ruffles
13. Pink Selkie
If you’re wondering what to wear to a high tea, hopefully this post helped you and gave you some good guidelines. It really is a simple dress code, but you naturally still want it to be perfect.
I know you’re gonna love this, and have a lot of fun with this, so dive into your most elaborate, tea party dreams.
I remember having tea parties with my grandmother when I was little, with my porcelain tea set on the living room floor. Especially around Christmas time, and we would wear big fascinators and feather boas. It was such an elaborate time for me to be 10 years old and drinking tea with my grandmother, but it just makes me more excited to attend tea parties when I receive invitations.
It feels like a part of me in a part of my childhood, and so they get to do so, in a very adult and fashionable way is so exciting. I hope you have the best time at your high tea, whether you have this kind of emotional connection, or not, and that you dress to the nines for this event! It’s all about fun here, so you’re gonna enjoy yourself. I know it.