Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The Rose Tea Dress

The sun is shining so we have to make the most of it. That means lots of barbecues in the garden and maybe afternoon tea on the terrace?
For barbecues, you can wear a range of outfits from a floaty maxi dress to a more casual pair of shorts and cami top. But what do you wear for afternoon tea? A tea dress of course. 
These vary in style but one thing most of them have in common is that they have a print and usually it's floral.
The story goes that in times gone by a lady’s rose garden was the only place where she could socialise freely with other ladies.  As afternoon tea became popular, the best hotels started tea rooms and for the first time the Victorian ladies were able to meet outside of the rose garden or the confines of their own home without damaging their reputation.  As the tea rooms replaced the rose garden for a place to gossip, a rose theme developed in the decor and ladies started to adorn their bonnets with roses, which soon spread on to their dress fabric.
So here's a few rose patterned dresses perfect for  afternoon tea:

Debenhams Debut collection embraces the rose pattern with its purple and ivory ‘Gallus Rose’ prom dress and purple sash.
Fabric: 100% cotton and 100% acetate lining. 
Price was £100 but on sale at £80.
A matching purple and ivory floral bolero is also available or go for plain purple satin to add contrast and match the sash on the dress.  
 Both priced at £40, but the floral is in the sale at £32


Phase Eight goes for the rose bud pattern with their azure Tea Party dress and flattering v neckline and back.
Fabric 100% cotton with 100% acetate lining.
Price was £130 but now in the sale for £91

And if you like honey in your tea, try this warm honey coloured Tea Cup print fifties dress by www.suzannah.com .
The dress is partly boned with padded cups to create a tiny waist. Fully lined and with handy side pockets.
Fabric: Italian silk cotton in a vintage inspired rose print.
Price £425 
Wear with an ivory tulle underskirt to add extra volume Price £40

If the 50’s full skirt is not for you, you can still opt for the rose print but in a more figure hugging wiggle style such as Phase Eight’s green and ivory Betty dress. Fabric 92% polyester with 8% elastane.
Price was £95 now on sale at £71.25

The tea dress (or the tea gown as it was originally called), gave the Victorian women another sense of freedom, it was the first time they started to wear a dress uncorseted.  This was due to the afternoon teas starting at home with just family and close friends.  Without the corset the tea gown style became less constructed, and often took on exotic and oriental designs.

This Suzannah Chinoiserie Rose luxury tea dress has an oriental twist to its style whilst keeping the quintessential vintage English rose print. Fabric: 100% silk satin Price £395 www.suzannah.com

But remember it‘s not all a bed of roses for the tea dress – any flower large or small will do.

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