What To Wear To A Tea Party?

Ah, how I do adore a good tea party! It’s such an elegant and sophisticated option for a whole host of different events. Birthdays? Engagement parties? Baby showers? Bridal parties?

Just a general social gathering? You can never go wrong with a tea party. 

What To Wear To A Tea Party

You can, however, get the dress code pretty wrong if you’re not careful. And tea parties can sometimes be a little tricky to get right.

You’re going to want to ensure that your attire reflects the grace and refinement of the event being thrown. Turning up in a tracksuit and sneakers when the rest of the guests are in formal wear is an easy way to rack up some disapproving looks.

And you don’t want that. 

In this article, we will go over exactly what I would recommend for a typical tea party, but it is always worth discussing the dress code with the host to ensure that you follow their vision.

Tea parties can range anywhere from casual, business casual, or formal depending on the event and venue, so a quick discussion with the host can help eliminate any confusion. 

But let’s take a quick look at the general etiquette of the attire you should be opting for. 

What Should I Wear To A Tea Party? 

As I mentioned above, each host might have a slightly different vision of what their tea party should look like, so double-checking the dress code is an absolute must.

But for the purpose of this article, we’re going to assume that it is required to dress smart-casual as this is usually the standard for this type of event. 

Attire For Men

You’re looking for a smart-casual outfit. That means that you’re not quite at formal attire so you won’t need a full tux or the whole shebang.

You don’t want to go too far towards casual either, though. So you don’t want to be in tracksuit trousers and a T-shirt either. 

A simple pair of dress trousers will usually suffice. You can pair this with a classic white shirt or maybe a more flamboyant or patterned button-down and a nice jacket.

Ties aren’t really essential for this type of dress code. For shoes, I’d opt for a pair that is fairly casual and comfortable but still smart looking like a pair of loafers. 

Jeans are a funny one. Some hosts may be opposed to jeans while some may find them perfectly fine. If you are opting for jeans, I’d suggest choosing darker shades over lighter ones and ensuring that you pair them with a smart jacket and shirt. 

Attire For Women

As is usually the case, there are a few more clothing options for the ladies but with that comes a few more rules.

 Dresses are a great choice but ensuring that they are appropriate for the event is vital. Anything with a particularly short hem or a low bodice should be avoided.

What To Wear To A Tea Party (1)

There is nothing wrong with embracing your body and showing a little skin at the right time and place, but a tea party is neither.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to be super conservative with a turtleneck top or ankle-length skirt.

The general rule I follow is if you wouldn’t wear it out with your parents, then it’s probably not appropriate. It’s all about using your discretion. 

I would usually advise picking a soft color or a pretty pattern with a flowing romantic type of skirt. If you’ve got an elegant dress that you’ve been dying to wear, now is the perfect time to try it out. It is better to be overdressed than underdressed. 

Pants are perfectly acceptable too provided that they are paired correctly. I would pair them with a nice yet simple blouse and a smart pair of small-heeled shoes. 

Really you can imagine a tea party dress code to be similar to that of a work party. Look nice and pretty, but appropriate. 

The Absolute No-Gos Of Tea Party Attire

Avoid distaining looks and disapproval by ensuring that you never make one of these simple tea party attire faux pas. 

  • Sneakers – Regardless of your outfit choice, sneakers are far too casual for a tea party. 
  • T-Shirts – If you’re lucky and have a lenient host, you may get away with a T-shirt if it is paired with smart enough slacks, jackets, and shoes. However, as a general rule, they are too casual and should be avoided where possible. 
  • Shorts – For men and women alike, shorts are an absolute no-go. They are far too casual and much too revealing for this type of event. 
  • Sportswear – Sportswear is breathable, comfy, and great for the gym. But sportswear has no place at even a semi-formal event. 

Final Thoughts

Tea parties are so much fun. But that fun will be significantly diminished if you’re constantly being side-eyed with disapproving looks because you’ve misjudged the dress code.

I can not stress enough how much it’ll be in your best interest to have a quick conversation about the dress code with the host of the event. It can save a lot of stress, confusion, and arguments. 

Hopefully, from this article, you’ve got a much better idea of the type of outfit you want to aim for. For men, you’re looking for a smart pair of trousers, a shirt, and a good jacket.

For women, an appropriately hemmed dress works fantastically, as does a smart pair of trousers and a simple blouse. 

If you type smart casual outfits into Google or websites such as Pinterest, you’ll be sure to see tons of examples, ideas, and inspiration. This might help you better visualize the attire that you are going for. 

All in all, though, as long as you are not dressed in exceedingly casual attire or something that shows off tons of skin, you should be absolutely fine. So, get dressed up and looking great, and you’ll be sure to have a ball at your next tea party!  

Joanne Baltimore
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