A tea gown is a traditional woman’s dress worn for informal entertaining at home. These dresses, which first hit the scene around the mid-19th century, became particularly popular during the stylish and more relaxed 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. Nowadays, these beautiful, practical, and comfortable gowns are making a comeback. But, before you rush out to buy a tea dress online in Thailand, let’s take a minute to look at the fascinating history of this dress and how you can adequately style your look.
A tea dress, as the name would suggest, is a dress that is comfortable to wear when hosting attending a tea party. It is characterised by unstructured lines, eye-catching fabrics, and light-weight fabrics. This style of the garment first gained popularity in the mid-19th century, as Europeans strove to emulate the Asian style of ‘casual’ clothing, for example, the Japanese kimono. While still immensely elegant, the gowns were intended to be worn without a corset, and thus not requiring the assistance of a maid. They were also strictly reserved for in-home wearing, only appropriate for close family and friends, they were never worn outside the home.
However, from the 1930s onwards, rules governing the gowns became more relaxed, and women started wearing them outside the home, running errands, having tea with friends, and attending casual afternoon parties. But standards remained strict, and they were styled with modesty – high necklines and full sleeves.
As World War II wrapped up, women rejoiced in throwing away their conservative wartime clothing of natural and bland materials. Now they flocked to embrace the new ‘designer’ look, championed by Christian Dior. This was a highpoint in the evolution and style of the traditional tea gown, as evidenced in many Hollywood movies starring Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and Grace Kelly.
Because tea dresses usually feature eye-catching florals or other printed fabrics, along with ample ruffles and other details, accessories are best kept to a minimum. In the summertime, opt for comfortable sandals, a raffia bag, and simple cardigan. Extend the wear of your tea dress in the wintertime by adding thick tights, leather shoes, wool cardigan, beret, and gloves.
We hope this short article has inspired you to go out and shop for a beautiful tea dress online in Thailand!