Tea Dresses – Starting life in the 1800’s, tea dresses and gowns were elegant attire, only worn at important family meals and afternoon teas. Contemporary fashion sees the resurgence of the tea dress for wear in any possible situation and is set to be popular in summer 2008.
Dolce and Gabbana have certainly had a part to play in the reappearance of tea dresses on the catwalk, with their tranquil feminine spring 2008 collection. This summer’s fashion marks another revival of the 1930’s style of dress with elaborate floating frills, pleats and floral prints.
Modern tea dresses are an updated take on the 19th century tea gown, which was a full length floating dress with elaborate frills, puffy collars and trains.
The term ‘Tea Dress’ (much like it’s fitting) in today’s fashion is used loosely. These garments are typically flowing, free fitting with capped sleeves and anywhere from a mid- thigh to ankle length hemline. A tea style dress will often feature an attached fabric belt that ties it in at the waist, or sits loosely in a bow at the back. A common print for tea dresses is floral, although paisley and star prints on a plain background are also favorites. These patterns are described as ‘ditsy’ which means small and busy, so you’re unlikely to find a plain print tea dress.
These styles of dresses are most commonly available in soft, airy fabrics such as chiffon and sheer crepe, which makes them ideal for hot summer months. Such lightweight fabrics lend gently to a straight-up-straight-down figure, giving the illusion of curves, yet their flowing nature can also hide those lumps and bumps that a fuller-figure lady wants to hide. The beauty of this style is that they are available in a variety of lengths to suit a variety of figures. Chiffon, crepe and other summery fabrics keep the body cool by allowing air to flow through them. After all, when you’re a feminine summer beauty you can’t allow sweat marks or frizzy hair!
Unlike it’s complicated print, the tea dress is remarkably easy to wear. Simply team it up with a pair of flat or low-heeled plain color boots and some beads. A great way to cover up is to add a loose-knit bolero and brightly colored opaque tights, which match a color hinted in the dress. When worn with a simple petticoat peeking out from the hemline a tea dress can look a perfect example of 1930’s vintage fashion. If you’re heading off to a festival this coming season then a tea dress is classic festival wear with plain wellies or cowboy boots, beach hair and a wide-brim sun hat. Oversized statement sunglasses never did anyone any harm either! Alternatively, spruce up a tea dress for an evening out with black high heels, tousled hair and subtle silver jewelery.
Everyone knows that wearing a dress is an expression of femininity in some way or another, but a tea dress is an effortless, majestic wardrobe must-have at the same time as being sassy, colorful and cool summer wear.