what is a tea dress

what is a tea dress

A Tea Dress: What It Is and How To Style It

A tea dress is a type of garment resembling a traditional evening gown but ending just at the knees. It is typically considered a day-dress, which means it is not appropriate for evening wear. This type of dress originated in the Victorian era and is still popular today.

Origins of the Tea Dress

The tea dress’s origin dates back to the Victorian era when women would go to tea parties wearing voluminous skirts paired with a pretty top. The tea dress was born as a modification of this ensemble, as a more casual version of a day gown. Traditional tea dresses are usually made out of light, airy fabrics such as cotton and chiffon.

Key Characteristics

A tea dress is often highly decorated with lace and other intricate details such as embroidery and beading. It typically has three-quarter or short sleeves, a mid-calf length, and often a fitted bodice. The dress is pleated or gathered at the waist, extending outwards into a full skirt.

Different Styles

Tea dresses come in a variety of styles and colors, from timeless floral prints to gingham designs. Some of the more modern styles of a tea dress include:

  • High-Low – these tea dresses feature a higher hemline in the front, and a longer back for a dramatic silhouette.
  • Swing Dresses – a swing dress is a more relaxed, loose-fitting tea dress perfect for days out.
  • Tunic Dresses – resembling a mini dress, tunic dresses hit just above the knee and often feature long sleeves.

How To Style It

The best way to style a tea dress is to keep it simple and accessorize. A plain tea dress can be made more interesting with a belt, and a pop of color can be added with a stylish hat or bold jewelry. A tailored blazer or cardigan will keep you feeling stylish and warm on colder days. For an evening look, a tea dress can be accessorized with statement earrings and a purse, and paired with pumps or heeled sandals.

No matter what style of tea dress you choose, it is sure to be a timeless classic.


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