Flowing mint gown
Pretty Hat- Check
! Dainty gloves
– Why not!
While we’re at it, let’s go back in time and join the story of Catherine of Braganza, the queen of Charles II, to whom England owes the tradition of Afternoon Tea and Tea Parties.
How it started
Before marrying Charles II, Catherine was well into the habit of drinking tea that was a customary beverage in Portugal. Soon after her wedding, as she shifted to England, along came her affinity with tea and hence, she came to be known by the name of ‘tea-drinking queen’. For the first time, England was introduced to the concept of tea parties- a group of women dressing up and meeting over tea to have a good time.
As many would have thought then, there’s hardly anything more refreshing than a freshly brewed cup of tea and therefore, the need to meet over a cuppa- just for the sheer love of tea! However in reality, the concept of afternoon tea was much more than just tea, biscuits and sandwiches. The mannerisms, tea etiquette and good housekeeping – all were the privileges of highborn ladies who belonged to wealthy families and could afford finest pieces of porcelain. Eventually the custom of afternoon tea also came to be known as ‘High-tea’.
A nation that is imagined to come to a halt for tea, as the popular song goes- 'at half past three, everything stops for tea', the British fondness for tea and tea-time fashion soon caught the fancy of rest of the world. Thanks to the new trend, new design lines, labels and styles were introduced for the occasion and a new fashion trend started which, survives still now. A hat and what- How to dress for high-tea parties Coming back to where we started, a dress and a hat go perfectly with the concept of high-tea parties if you plan to do it the authentic English way. A little touch-up and the right accessories can get you going. Going overboard with the makeup and blings can make you look absolutely out of place.
Dress: Choose the right color for your dress that complements your complexion. Mint greens, peach, pale yellow, white or any other pastel shade goes fine for the occasion. Selecting a dress with high bodice completes your look. Try out the tiered, maxi and flared hem dresses. A strapless dress in pale color also goes with the theme. You can team it up with a cardigan. Hats: Depending on whether you want to dress up classical style, you may or may not go for a hat. For authentic British high tea fashion, a large net hat looks just perfect! You may also go for the traditional hats that look great with traditional wear. Make sure to tilt the hat a little towards the side to add extra zing! Jewelry: Choosing the right jewelry is very important when it comes to high tea fashion. A string of pearl or diamond ear-tops teamed with a bracelet looks simple yet classy.
Shoes: Heels, classic ballets and flat sandals look great with long dresses. Choose the right color, the right heel and material to complement your dress and accessories.
Gloves: You may or may not choose to put on gloves depending on your choice of dress and accessories.
Tea Etiquette for Afternoon Tea:
Dressed and good to go? Great! Just before you leave, couple of pointers that you need to keep in mind while attending a tea party. Here you go!
Black Tea: Sugar goes in first and then the slice of lemon. Please note: Lemon and milk don’t go together. Either you have your cup with lemon or milk.
Milk Tea: Sugar goes first and then the milk.
Afternoon tea snacks: Start with the savories, then the scones and then the sweets. The scones need to be split with a knife, horizontally and cream/curd is supposed to be added before every bite.
Spoon: The spoon is placed behind the cup. Once you’re done with the tea, do not leave the spoon in the empty cup.
Cup: ‘Pinky Up’ is passé. Hold the cup properly and look into the cup while sipping into it.
Have attended an afternoon tea party recently? We would love to listen to your experience. Share it with us!
I Am Not High Fashion