How to Dress for a Tea Party

Tea parties are elegant occasions which give you a chance to enjoy tea and snacks with your friends. They can be held in a special venue or can be hosted at home, and they’re a fun event for both children and adults. Use a tea party invitation as an excuse to dress up!

Check the invitation to determine how formal the tea party will be.


Check the invitation to determine how formal the tea party will be.

For most tea parties, the appropriate dress code is smart casual. However, if you’re having tea at a posh hotel, the dress might tend towards semi-formal. If the invitation doesn’t specify, call the host and ask.
Smart casual is a dress code which is somewhat informal but in which you are still expected to be well-dressed. This can mean anything from a dressy pair of pants and a nice shirt to a dress and heels. Feel free to express your style!

Wear a pretty dress for a feminine look.

Wear a pretty dress for a feminine look.

Tea parties are a fun time to dress up, so embrace the chance to wear your Sunday best. Patterns, especially florals, are popular, but stay away from all-black looks.



Tea-length dresses typically fall midway between the knee and the ankle, but just above or below the knee is also an acceptable look. Avoid very short dresses, as a tea party is not the most appropriate occasion for a miniskirt.
A sun dress featuring a pastel floral pattern is a perfect look for a spring tea party.

Wear a sharp suit for an easy, pulled-together look.

Wear a sharp suit for an easy, pulled-together look.

A well-tailored suit looks great on either a man or a woman, and a tea party is a great occasion to wear one without looking overdressed.

Try pairing a masculine suit with a brightly-colored Oxford shirt or a tie in a cheerful color.
Accent a feminine suit with a pretty blouse.

Choose nice trousers for casual elegance.



Choose nice trousers for casual elegance.

Trousers paired with dress shoes and a nice top are a timeless look that is appropriate for any tea party. For more formal occasions, choose trousers made from a luxe material like fine wool or chiffon.
Trousers are very versatile and can be worn with an Oxford shirt, a flowy blouse, a sweater set, or a structured top.

Pair a skirt with a sweater set for a sweet, classic look.

Pair a skirt with a sweater set for a sweet, classic look.

A skirt and sweater set is an outfit that’s appropriate for all ages. Pick a skirt that falls at or just below the knee. Dress up your look even more by pinning a sparkly brooch to your sweater.

Channel Jackie O by wearing a full skirt with a nipped-in waist, a luxe sweater set, oversized sunglasses and buckle flats. Add on a pillbox hat to really complete the look.
Get a more modern look by pairing a slim-fitting skirt with a cropped sweater and your favorite heels. A floppy hat with a dramatic bow is a fitting compliment to this outfit.

Add a blazer or shawl if the weather is cool.


Add a blazer or shawl if the weather is cool.

If you’re concerned about the weather, adding a blazer or a shawl can help you to stay warm. A fitted blazer can dress up a pair of trousers or can add a cool touch to a dress, while a shawl is an elegant addition to any outfit.

Wrap an ultra-soft knit shawl around your shoulders to add a feminine touch to a wool dress during cool weather.
Wear a blazer with a pair of ankle-length trousers and short boots for a cool masculine style. If the tea party is more casual, you can push up the sleeves of the blazer.

Wear a fun hat if you want to.

Wear a fun hat if you want to.

If you’ve ever hoped for an opportunity to wear a big floppy hat, now’s the time! Ladies and gentlemen both traditionally wear hats to tea parties. Hats can range from elaborate wide-brimmed sun hats to simple cloches, or you can even opt to wear a pretty fascinator or hair flower.
Coordinate your hat with your outfit. A fedora looks sharp with a masculine suit, for instance, while a fascinator may be the perfect topper for a sleek sheath dress.

Wear white gloves for a more formal event.


Wear white gloves for a more formal event.

If you want, you can wear a pair of white gloves to go along with your outfit. This is a fun way to feel extra fancy as you’re going to tea. Gloves can be short or long, depending on how dressy you want them to be. Longer gloves are considered more formal.
It’s customary to leave your hat on during tea, but you should remove your gloves before service begins.

Choose simple, elegant accessories.

Choose simple, elegant accessories.

Accentuate your outfit without going overboard by choosing accessories like a pearl necklace or diamond studs (or a pretty imitation). If you like, you can choose one statement piece, like a cocktail ring or a sparkly brooch, but keep the rest of your jewelry simple.
Dress up a neutral shift dress with a long strand of pearls or a statement necklace and a simple pair of stud earrings.

Wear dressy sandals or closed-toe shoes.

Wear dressy sandals or closed-toe shoes.

You should choose a dressy pair of shoes that compliment your outfit. Open-toed shoes are acceptable during spring and summer, and closed-toe dress shoes are appropriate for any time of year. Don’t wear casual shoes like tennis shoes or flip flops.

A floral sun dress would pair well with a sun hat and wedges.
Show your personality in a masculine suit by choosing your favorite dress shoe, like wingtip brogues or leather loafers.

Choose an elegant hairstyle to accent your outfit.

Choose an elegant hairstyle to accent your outfit.

You can create a refined hairstyle whether you have short or long hair. Try to coordinate your hairstyle with your outfit to suit the special occasion. If you’re wearing a hat, make sure to take that into account when you’re planning your hairstyle.

If you have medium-length to long hair and you’re wearing a chic pantsuit, twist your hair into a chignon or a French twist. Top this with a smart pillbox hat.
A pretty sundress is the perfect outfit for wearing your hair in loose waves. Either a wide-brimmed hat or a fascinator will look nice with this hair style.
If you have short hair and you’re wearing a suit, gel your hair into a pompadour or wear it parted on the side or slicked straight back.

Keep your makeup polished and minimal if you wear any.

Keep your makeup polished and minimal if you wear any.

You don’t have to have a bare face, but a tea party is a refined occasion and your makeup should reflect that. Keep your makeup minimal with concealer, blush, mascara, neutral eyeshadows, and lipstick or lip gloss.

Check the invitation or ask the host about a theme for the party.

Check the invitation or ask the host about a theme for the party.

Children’s tea parties often revolve around a theme, such as Alice in Wonderland, princesses, or Victorian dress-up. Your child will have more fun at the party if they feel like they’re suitably dressed. The invitation should have invitation about the theme if there is one, but if you’re not sure, call the host and ask.

Gather fun costume pieces.

Gather fun costume pieces.

Once you know the theme, start scouting for fun dress-up pieces that will make the perfect tea party outfit. Pastels or neutral tones will fit in nicely at most tea parties. Check consignment stores and thrift shops for perfect items that won’t empty your wallet.

Tea parties are the perfect occasion for little girls to wear a frilly dress if they enjoy dressing up.
Another outfit option is a collared shirt with a pair of trousers or nice shorts and dress shoes for boys as well as girls who don’t like to wear dresses.

Choose dressy sandals or closed-toe dress shoes.

Choose dressy sandals or closed-toe dress shoes.

The shoes should match the formality of the outfit. Dressy sandals are a nice choice for sundresses, while closed-toe shoes are more appropriate for dressier occasions.

If your child is wearing a frilly ball gown to a princess-themed party, she could wear a pair of patent-leather shoes with a buckle and stockings to complete her look.
Children’s Oxford dress shoes are a classic choice to pair with short or pants.

Add costume jewelry if you want.

Add costume jewelry if you want.

Once you have your child’s outfit picked out, visit a party supply store to find fun accessories. A children’s tea party is a great time to be extravagant, especially if there’s a costume theme, so look for tiaras, capes, feather boas, and long strands of beads. Think about what will make your child feel really special at the party.
For boys, consider accessorizing with a bow tie or a fedora.

Style your child’s hair in a special way.

Style your child’s hair in a special way.

Tea parties are a special occasion, so consider giving your child a special hair style. Short hair can be combed back or to the side and held in place with pomade or gel, and long hair can be styled into ringlets, braids, or an up-do.

A fishtail crown braid is an elegant style for long hair that is perfect for a princess tea party.

Use hair gel to create a side part, pompadour, or a slicked-back look on short hair.
To get ringlets without heat styling, add a little curling gel to your child’s damp hair. Twist sections of the hair away from your child’s face and use bobby pins to pin the coil close to the scalp. Allow the curls to set for at least an hour before unwinding the twists. Add a little more gel to the ends to help the curls hold.


Categories:   Youth

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