What is a High Tea?
High Tea dates back to the mid 1800s when the seventh Duchess of Bedford requested that light sandwiches be brought to her in the late afternoon to satisfy her hunger during the long gap between lunch and dinner (yes, she’s our hero!). The Duchess knew she was on to a good thing and began asking others to join her and thus the afternoon tea tradition began.
These days, ‘High Tea’ is often the event of choice when it comes to celebrating weddings, birthdays and new babies. However, what if you don’t know what to wear to high tea?
High Tea Dress Code Explained
While most high tea events don’t have a specific dress code, take our advice and skip the work attire and anything more suited to a nightclub or bar. Instead, this dainty social occasion is the perfect excuse to pop on a dress or swishy skirt and top. The aim is to look pretty, polished and relaxed.
What to Wear to a High Tea?
For easy elegance, it’s hard to go past a floral, feminine and fun day dress. Avoid anything too tight (you want to be able to indulge in all of those delicious treats) or short; look for a dress that hits just above or below the knee. When it comes to fabrics and prints, floral; gingham or lace are perfect.
If you’re not keen on frocking up, a two or three piece high tea outfit will look stylish (hello, cute cardi). Skirts—both fuller, A-line styles and also figure-hugging pencil styles—or a cute pair of pants will complement nicely with cardigans, fitted tops, and blouses.
When putting together your outfit for a high tea, it’s always a good idea to take an extra top layer with you. The latest range of cardigans from Review can be paired with a dress, skirt or pants while looking pretty and feminine. Even better, they will help to keep you warm if the event is being served in an air-conditioned room.
Once you’ve chosen the main elements of your outfit, it’s time to add accessories; earrings, a necklace or a hair clip can add a little sparkle, while a small shoulder bag or clutch is perfect to pop next to your chair. Finish with your footwear; a pair of low to mid-height heels or a cute pair of ballet flats is a better choice than anything too high—you want to be able to walk around the room comfortably.
Our Favourite High Tea Tips
Now that you know what you’re going to wear, here are a few tips that will ensure you have a great time:
1. Dress code:
When it comes to high tea attire, it’s best to go for a smart look; you don’t have to wear a dress, but stay away from jeans and sneakers
2. No phone zone:
Keep your phone off the table. We understand how beautiful a high tea can look and we know you may want to capture it for the ‘Gram – we don’t blame you – but then pop it back in your bag or lap.
3. Finger food:
It’s not often that you get to eat food with your fingers but that’s the proper etiquette for afternoon tea. Dainty finger sandwiches can be eaten with the fingers (as the name suggests), but when it comes to the sweet delights, a petit fork will ensure you don’t end up with sticky fingers.
4. Jam or cream first?
The debate continues when it comes to what should be placed on the scone first. Queen Victoria liked her cream first, but I like mine on top. Either way, the cream must be clotted! And always break your scones apart with your fingers.
5. The perfect stir:
Stir gently by moving the spoon up and down, as if to go from 12 to 6 on a clock face. Make sure there is no clinking on the side of the cup of course and finish by placing the spoon gently at the back of the cup.
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