High Tea Attire: Exactly What To Wear To High Tea + Outfit Ideas

Learn the basics about high tea attire, what to wear to high tea in 2023, what to avoid, and get great outfit inspiration! 

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High Tea Attire For Women

So you’ve been invited as a guest to high tea. But, what are you going to wear? 

It’s no doubt you want to look your best for high tea, but if you are reading this post you are likely not sure if there’s a dress code, and what the standard high tea attire is. Do you wear a hat? Can you wear pants? What color should your dress be? 

We’ve got you covered! This blog post will answer all of your questions about tea party attire and give you some great outfit ideas for high tea. 

And, we’ve got the perfect looks, whether you’ll be dressing up for a really special occasion or dressing down for a more casual tea.

a woman in a blue striped dress sitting at a table enjoying high tea

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What is High Tea?

High tea is a light meal typically eaten in the afternoon, and it usually consists of sandwiches, scones, and pastries. High tea is a British tradition, and it is often eaten as a break from work or on a special occasion.

Traditionally high tea was actually eaten in the evening after work by the working class; however, today, high tea and afternoon tea are often used interchangeably. 

When you’re invited to the “tea” part of high tea, you should expect a more formal event or party that consists of light bites such as small sandwiches and finger foods. In addition to tea, it is also traditional to be served champagne during high tea.

woman wearing a white tweed blazer, pleated ivory skirt, and chanel heels

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What do you wear to a High Tea?

When you’re invited to high tea, there are certain things you should wear. You want to dress your best, but because you’ll be eating and drinking you also want to be comfortable. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing your outfit for high tea.

Do you have to wear a dress to high tea? 

Traditionally a dress or skirt was most appropriate for high tea. But, nowadays there is more flexibility on what you can wear as long as you lean towards a more smart casual, conservative, or formal style. High tea is not the time to break out your new crop top or mini skirt! 

Some great options for high tea attire include:

two women sitting on the edge of a fountain wearing formal clothing, including a dress and overcoat, tulle skirt, and heels

What colors should you wear to high tea?

While there are no set rules for what colors you should or shouldn’t wear to high tea, it is generally advised to avoid overly bright or neon colors and loud patterns. High tea is a more formal event, so you want your tea party outfit to reflect that.

Some great color and pattern options for high tea include:

  • White
  • Cream or Ivory
  • Navy
  • Grey
  • Pastels (blush, mist blue, sage green, etc.)
  • Subtle floral prints or polka dots

If you choose to wear something brighter, it is good to pair it with a neutral color and subtle accessories. 


What shoes should you wear to high tea?

The best shoes to wear to high tea are comfortable but also stylish. High heels are an option, but if you’re going to be walking around a lot or standing for long periods, it’s best to choose a mid or low heel, or even flats.

Some great shoe options for high tea include:

  • Ballet flats
  • Loafers
  • Mules
  • Kitten heels
  • Pumps
  • Peep-toe heels
a woman standing on a sidewalk with greenery in the background wearing a white blouse and wide leg cream trousers and heels

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Can you wear pants to high tea?

Because high tea is a more formal event, dresses or skirts are typically seen as the ideal option over pants. However, these days pants can be worn to high tea if they are well-tailored, made with a nice material, and dressed-up with the right shoes, top, and accessories. 

If you choose to wear pants, make sure they are well-fitting and made of a nice fabric. Avoid jeans, leggings, or anything other style that is overly casual.

Some great pant options for high tea include:

image of a woman walking down the sidewalk in a floral dress and a fascinator hat

Do you wear a hat to high tea?

There is no rule saying you have to wear a hat to high tea, but it is definitely an option. If you choose to wear a hat, make sure it coordinates with your outfit and is more formal in style.

Some excellent hat options for high tea include:

a woman in a pink dress sitting at a table enjoying high tea

High Tea Dress Code

If you’re attending high tea and are not entirely sure what to wear, you may want to stick to a traditional tea dress code. 

Below are some guidelines to help you decide what to wear:

  • High tea is a formal occasion, so you’ll want to dress accordingly. 
  • Hats are not required, but they can add a touch of elegance to your outfit. 
  • Gloves are not required, but they can also add a touch of elegance. 
  • High heels are not required, but they can make you look more dressed up. 
  • A dress or skirt is always a good choice for high tea. 
  • If you’re wearing a dress or skirt, make sure it is at least knee-length. 
  • A blouse or lightweight sweater is an excellent choice to wear with a skirt. 
  • Pants or trousers can be worn to high tea, just avoid denim, leggings, and overly casual pant styles. 
  • Choose a nice pair of dress shoes or heels to complete your outfit.

5 High Tea Attire Outfit Ideas To Try

High tea is typically a more formal event, so you’ll want to dress accordingly. Here are five great outfit ideas to get you started.

@netaporter, @cellajaneblog

The White Pant Suit

While it might not be your typical outfit for afternoon tea, pants suits are an excellent option for those wanting to look polished. Choose a well-fitting pair of pants and match them with a tailored blazer.

Add a pretty blouse or camisole underneath, and finish the look with some nude heels. For an extra high tea touch, add a hat in the same color as the pants suit. 

shop pant suits:

image of a woman standing on a sidewalk in front of a green fence wearing a floral dress with a white blazer

The Pretty Floral Dress

If you want to go the more traditional route, a pretty floral print dress is always a good choice. Opt for a knee-length dress or longer and made of a light, airy fabric. 

Add a cardigan or blazer if you need an extra layer. Finish the look with a pair of flats or low heels.

shop floral dresses:

@skirttherules_, @oliviajeanette_

The High Tea Jumpsuit

Yes, you can definitely wear a jumpsuit to high tea! Choose a dressy jumpsuit in a solid color or pretty print. 

Pair it with heels and add some dainty jewelry to finish the look. Add a cardigan or blazer if you want to cover your arms.

shop jumpsuits:

@natalie.yerger, @juliaberolzheimer

The Blouse & Colorful Skirt

Midi skirts are having a moment, making for a great high tea outfit option. Choose a skirt in a pretty print or a pastel color. 

Pair it with a simple white blouse or sweater and kitten heels or high heels. Add a hat or dressy headband to complete the look.

shop skirts & blouses:


image of a woman in a pink tweed skirt suit walking down a road with trees in the background

The Matching Skirt Set

This is a great high tea outfit combo. Choose a matching skirt set in a solid color, floral pattern, or tweed. 

Add some dainty jewelry, a neutral purse, low heels or ballet flats, and you’re good to go.

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What To Wear To a Tea Party

So what will you be wearing to high tea? Will you go for a traditional outfit or something more modern? Whatever you choose, make sure you feel confident and comfortable in what you’re wearing for tea time. 

High tea is all about enjoying good company, delicious food, and of course, fabulous fashion!


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collage of modern and classy outfits for high tea for women


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