So, after a few weeks of rather schizophrenic weather – unseasonably high temperatures paired with flood causing rain – it seems the Autumn is now settling in to stay.There is actually sunshine streaming through my bedroom as I write this, which is tricking my senses into thinking it’s still Summer outside, but it’s definitely not. Sure, the days will be warm enough for another few weeks, but those days start with rolling mist and a definite chill in the air, and end earlier and earlier as we creep towards October. Yep, Winter is definitely coming. Which means, of course, it’s time to start dusting off my go to Autumn/Winter staple – the tea dress.
Tea dresses are a godsend to me when the weather starts getting colder. See, I’ve never been a fan of Winter clothes. Don’t get me wrong, I can definitely get excited over boots. I can lust over a beautiful pea coat as passionately as I can a new Lindy Bop dress and I’m actually looking forward to getting all my hats out again. But these are all things that you tend to wear when you’re outside, once you get indoors and take off the 700 layers you had to pile on to stay warm and dry, everything that is left is a bit, well blah. Knitwear seems to look great on other girls, but on me, not so much. I just can’t pull off that cute and cosy look for some reason, I just end up looking frumpy and a bit drab. And don’t even get me started on tights…ugh. So a sweet little floral dress is the perfect cure for me, as it enables me to layer up and stay warm while still looking girly and feminine, and as a result I own about a million of them. Anyone who was reading this time last year will be able to vouch for this as I was pretty much posting one every week or so (see evidence here, here, here, here…. see!)
The tea dress is a style that originated in the 40’s yet has managed to endure the test of time thanks to it’s ability to look equal parts smart or cutesy depending on how you style it. Originally designed to wear for ‘tea’, an occasion for which you would want to look pretty and presentable, yet not too formal, it’s the epitome of casual dressing, so it’s no wonder it’s a look that has stuck around. Classic tea dresses tended to follow a trend of mid-calf hemlines, structured shoulders and an empire line waist, though these days the definitions of what could be classed as a ‘tea dress’ have softened somewhat. Modern day equivalents pretty much include anything with short sleeves, a bias cut and a ditsy print, so you’re guaranteed to find something that suits your needs!
Now, you would think, having so many already, I wouldn’t feel the need to add to my collection. Not so. Unfortunately every year I see yet more that I suddenly realise I’ve been missing all my life, and having had a quick look at this year’s offerings, it doesn’t look like my tea dress shopping days are over just yet! Oasis, ASOS, Yumi and Topshop have always been particularly good at churning out a good tea dress, but there are hundreds about on the highstreet at the moment, whether you prefer a more traditional vintage look or something a bit more contemporary. Here are some of my favourites….
1 – Sweetheart Tea Dress, ASOS, £28. 2 – Yellow Chiffon Tea Dress, ASOS, £35. 3 – Hell Bunny ‘Freya’, £38.99Hell Bunny ‘Freya’, £38.99. 4 – Hell Bunny Ingrid, c/o Amazon, £16.99. 5 – Lindy Bop ‘Aime’, £30. 6 – Lindy Bop ‘Juliet’, £30. 7 – Louche ‘Cathleen’, Aaspire, £38. 8 – Milk It Tea Dress, ASOS, £40. 9 – Red Ditsy Dress, Miss Selfridge, £39. 10 – Pink Floral Dress, Miss Selfridge, £20. 11 – Botanical Dress, Oasis, £48. 12 – Butterfly Dress, Oasis, £45. 13 – Romantic Bloom Dress, Topshop, £42. 14 – Floral Tea Dress, Topshop, £42. 15 – Yumi Bird Dress, House of Fraser, £38