“What do I wear to an afternoon tea?” – It’s a question I’ve been asked by my friends a surprising amount of times. I’d like to think it’s because my friends respect my style choices rather than the fact that they think I’m fancy – because let’s face it, Afternoon Teas are definitely a little bit fancy. It’s why we like them so much! There’s something so satisfying about treating ourselves with this kind of indulgence. Afternoon Teas retain their reputation – one of high class and etiquette, with the almost too cute to eat finger sandwiches and dainty china. The plates may be refillable, but this is certainly no all you can eat buffet. It’s quintessentially British, but it’s actually a lot more relaxed than people assume it’s going to be.
Fortnum & Mason’s Afternoon Tea is held in the stunning Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, which was opened by The Queen herself. The whole concept came from the Duchess of Bedford’s desire to fill the gap between lunch and dinner with a light meal of sandwiches and sweet snacks to satisfy hunger. Now, the Duchess of Bedford is clearly a lady after my own heart (4pm Hanger is never ideal), and clearly many others, as Afternoon Teas have remained incredibly popular ever since.
Many selections tend to be sweet-heavy, though it’s not just for sweets lovers. Whilst I’m (very) partial to a scone, I’m definitely more of a savoury kind of girl and Fortnum & Mason has that covered as you can choose different variations of Afternoon Teas – including sweet, savoury, and vegetarian options.
Our ‘Tearista’ was extremely helpful in helping us pick out what we wanted, suggesting we opt for one sweet and one savoury afternoon tea – and that everything is refillable.
There’s no ball gowns or suits or petticoats necessary here. In fact, when it comes to style, an Afternoon Tea dress code is more smart-casual than formal. Of course, people like to dress for the occasion. It’s fun to put on a pretty frock and feel like you’re truly indulging yourself – it’s half of the fun! And it’s why tea dresses are the perfect thing to wear to an afternoon tea, especially in the spring/ summer months.
As it’s now pretty wintery, I decided to layer up. With Afternoon Teas being quintessentially British, for me it seems only fitting to dress with true Brit Girl style. We’re renowned for great fashion sense – looks that tend to be a little more trend-lead, or laced with an element of edginess. I teamed a skirt and jumper together – but now without putting my own little bit of London edge into the look via the leopard print and oversized jumper combination. Okay, I might be wearing a jumper that says Paris on it, rather than London, but it still counts.
The point of the matter is wear what makes you feel comfortable, cool, and stylish – whatever that is. It depends entirely on you, and what your personal choice of smart casual is. I’ve pulled together a few key pieces of what other things I’d wear to an afternoon tea below.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to indulge your inner Brit. Have your cake and eat it too! (It’s refillable, remember?) You can book it via Virgin Experience days here.
All I need to do now is to figure out if it’s pronounced scone or sconn…
This post was created in collaboration with Virgin Experience days