Are you wondering what to wear to Afternoon Tea in London, or as others sometimes refer to it High Tea? In this guide we will answer all of your afternoon dress code questions as well as give you some afternoon tea outfit inspiration along with a venue by venue overview.
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Is there a dress code for afternoon tea in London?
Whether or not there is a dress code for afternoon tea in London is largely dependent on the venue you decide to have high tea at.
There are all manners of afternoon tea in London from the fanciest afternoon teas at The Ritz and the Savoy for instance to more casual ones such as the Peppa Pig Bus afternoon tea and the al fresco afternoon tea at Dalloway Terrace.
Each of these will come with their own dress code but generally speaking if you are going to one of London’s main hotels for afternoon tea the dress code can be summarised as smart, though some more informal ones will accept a smart casual dress code.
What to Wear to Afternoon Tea in London as a woman
Generally speaking most women who attend afternoon tea in London will usually opt for a tea dress especially in they are having afternoon tea in Summer.
Afternoon Tea Dress
The style of the tea dress is really up to individual taste but currently it is fashionable to wear 1950s style silhouettes and floral patterns in particular.
If you are visiting in Winter you will want to pair your dress with a cardigan and a smart coat.
We are often asked whether or not you can wear a jumpsuit as a woman to afternoon tea in London and the answer is yes you absolutely can.
There are no dress code rules at Afternoon tea that mean you have to wear a skirt or a dress.
Blouse and Trousers
Another alternative to a dress which is great for Winter in particular is to a blouse and trousers or a blouse and a skirt.
What Should Men wear to Afternoon Tea in London
So now you know what women should wear to afternoon tea, what should men wear?
While some afternoon teas will require a full suit for men, others will require a jacket and tie and others will require just a shirt.
It is best to check with your hotel to know what they require.
Best Shoe for Afternoon Tea?
Other than stating what shoes not to wear to afternoon tea (more on that later) there usually are no rules about what shoes are best to wear.
If you are having afternoon tea in summer most ladies will opt for a heel. I personally would not recommend stilettos or shoes with a thin high heel – these are firmly on my what not to wear in London list as they can be dangerous on the Underground and on cobbled streets.
Therefore I usually opt for a wedge type shoe like this.
However if you are not a heel person then you are perfectly fine to wear a flat shoe to afternoon tea and if you are having high tea in Winter then boots are also suitable.
For men, again we recommend a smart shoe. Most men will opt for a smart closed toe shoe but boots are also acceptable in Winter.
What not to wear to high tea in London?
AS we have outlined above things that you can wear to afternoon tea in London, we thought it would also be wise to turn our attention to what not to wear as this is in my opinion more important.
At most London hotel afternoon teas will not allow sneakers at afternoon tea. Places like The Savoy, the Ritz and the Dorchester have a strict no sneaker policy (though note in London most place will call them trainers).
However other places such Dalloway Terrace and bus afternoon teas will not have such rules.
Depending on the venue will depend on how strict the dress code is especially in relation to jeans.
Personally I would never wear jeans to a hotel afternoon tea in London. However if you want to wear jeans then I strongly advise you contacting your afternoon tea venue before you go to prevent being turned away.
As with sneakers sportswear and sports jerseys are not appropriate attire for afternoon tea.
FAQs About High Tea Dress Code
What to wear to Afternoon Tea in Winter?
Much of the traditional afternoon tea attire is associated with summer and spring weather. Think floral mid length tea dresses.
However what do you wear to afternoon tea in winter when the weather in London is much colder? For more information on what to wear to London in December check out this post.
If you are having afternoon tea in London in Winter we recommend
- Knitted dress, smart boots and wool smart coat
- Blouse, wool or tweed trousers, boots and wool smart jacket
- A suit
- A shirt with smart jumper and smart shoes
What to wear to afternoon tea at The Ritz?
The Ritz is perhaps the most famous afternoon tea but also is one of the most formal and as such has one of the strictest dress codes.
Jeans are against the Ritz dress code and men will be required to wear a jacket and tie at the Ritz.
Does London have other dress codes at restaurants?
London isn’t a very strict place in terms on dress codes, it is not like the Middle East in that respect however you may find individual venues may have dress codes. Be sure to check out our more specific guides for further information.
Can I wear black to afternoon tea?
There are no rules about high tea in London and what color you can wear however black is not seen all the commonly especially in the outfits of women.
Pastels and bright colors are more commonly seen but if you feel comfortable in black then you shouldn’t feel that it is banned.
For more information on color codes in dress check out these guides:
Have you been to afternoon tea in London? What did you wear? We would love to hear in the comments below and if you have any other questions please ask them in comments and we will get back to you as soon as we can.