Afternoon tea was introduced back in 1840, by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford. It was well-known that she became hungry in the late afternoon, because of which she began requesting a tray of tea with bread, butter and sandwich fillings. This shortly caught on among her peers and became what we now refer to as afternoon tea.
The occasion has now become a popular outing, suitable for celebrations, casual meetings, and a time for indulgence. If you’ll soon be partaking in this traditional English pastime, read on for a guide on how to dress for afternoon tea.
Afternoon Tea Dress Code for Women
Most afternoon tea venues have a relaxed smart/casual dress code, so there are many different ways you can dress for afternoon tea. You could opt for a relaxed and easy look with a dress or skirt and shirt combination, or you can go slightly more formal with a trouser suit look. At Foxhills, we have no strict dress codes, however our patrons often decide to take the opportunity to wear something a more decorative than usual. Here are our top go-to outfits for the perfect afternoon tea attire.
Afternoon Tea Dress
Dressing for afternoon tea can be modified to however smart or casual you may feel. While you can get away with a smart top and jeans, if you don’t want to dress up, many ladies choose to take the opportunity to don a pretty frock.
All you need is a light and flowy dress, with a matching bag and either a pair of sandals or wedges. Swap these summery shoes for a pair of low-heeled boots in autumn of winter. A dress is a favoured option for creating a comfortable yet feminine look.
Afternoon Tea Skirts & Tops
A flowing skirt with a smart top or shirt is an easy combination for afternoon tea, keeping elegance in mind. Think light colours and floral patterns for a fresh look which is perfect for such an occasion. A patterned top and plain skirt, or vice-versa, is advisable to create a simple two-piece which is very comfortable to wear (perfect if you want to over—indulge in scones and sandwiches!).
Afternoon Tea Trouser Suits (or similar)
A more formal choice of attire for afternoon tea would be a trouser suit, which would consist of a shirt or blouse, a blazer, and trousers. In recent years, suits really have shaken off their corporate reputation, you can dress them down to how you please. Examples of less-formal trouser suits would include baby blues and sugary pinks, or other pastel coloured suits perfect for afternoon tea.
Afternoon Tea Dress Code for Men
Usually, the attire requested for guests to adhere to for afternoon tea is ‘smart casual’. This will generally mean no sports-branded trainers, t-shirts, shorts or sportswear.
A typical outfit for afternoon tea for men would include smart trousers and shoes, with a shirt. Depending on the weather you can keep it casual with a light-coloured or patterned short-sleeve shirt, or if it’s cooler consider wearing a smart V-neck pullover or even a roll neck jumper. A suit jacket would probably be a step too far.
Afternoon Tea at Foxhills
Enjoy afternoon tea in the Manor House, a grand example of 19th century Victorian architecture. Here at Foxhills we have no strict dress codes in place, so where whatever you’re most comfortable in and indulge in some delicious cakes and finger sandwiches.
We offer four different afternoon tea options:
- Traditional Afternoon Tea
- Little Prince & Princess Tea
- Cream Tea
- Afternoon Delight
You can also enjoy afternoon tea with us in the Surrey sunshine on the patio in summer, with tea served from 1pm to 5pm daily. Get in touch to book anytime.