Tea length dresses are one item of women’s clothing which has truly withstood the test of time. These dresses were designed during the late 19th century for women to wear to a formal tea within their own house. The traditional dress had a floor length hem and almost always encompassed flowing sleeves and a train. Although the design of tea length dresses has changed, the concept remains the same.
The modern tea length dress now falls anywhere between just below the knee and the bottom of the calf. The length of these dresses can often appear daunting to a first-time wearer, however once the correct accompanying shoes are chosen, the dress becomes a staple piece. As the dress cuts off mid-calf, the body appears shorter which means that smaller women require a pair of high heels to balance the proportions of the leg. This gives an elegant feel which would be suitable for many occasions such as weddings, balls, formal dinners and parties. In comparison, taller women have the option of paring the tea length dress with a variety of heel sizes or flat shoes. This allows for an even wider range of usage as flat shoes often lower the formality of the piece.
The tea length dress is largely known as a modern take on the 1950’s wedding dress trend. The modern tea length wedding dress is made of layers upon layers of tulle to create a flowing effect, often cinched in at the waist. This style is becoming increasingly popular within the bridal design community as it combines elegance with femininity to create a calf-skimming, delicate design. However, the versatility of the tea length dress extends far beyond formal events only.
The style of this dress makes for a perfect summer outfit as the length is flattering, whilst showing some leg. When worn with sandals and paired with oversized glasses, this dress screams 50’s glamour like nothing else. Of course, the pattern of the dress also determines the occasion that it is suitable for. Florals and brights are spot on for summer garden parties, whereas monochrome and silk fabrics may be more suitable for formal events. Either way, this piece is a timeless component of women’s fashion which has survived years of different trends and yet still remains more or less identical to its predecessor.
The tea length dress is a great transition piece due to its versatile length. It requires an understanding of how to pair with the correct shoes for both your height and occasion, however once this is grasped can be worn with ease. It is a classic piece which can be worn for numerous events and is universally flattering. The floaty design which hugs the chest and escalates downwards at the waist gives a sense of grace and resonates femininity. This item is undoubtedly an essential piece for all women who enjoy the beauty of a time-honored design and soft shape.