Ask Kelly: What to Wear to a Tea Party

Q. Help! My friend is hosting a ladies tea party at Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco in just a few weeks and requested we all wear a hat. What does a tea party hat look like? Any suggestions on a cute outfit?  I want a pop of color and need to get a hat soon. Thanks! – Hatless in San Francisco

 

A. How fun! Traditional tea hats can range from floppy straw hats in the spring and summer months to those exuberant numbers our neighbors across the pond like to rock like it’s 1774. But unless your last name is Middleton, I suggest a more modern take – and one that is winter appropriate (a straw hat is decidedly out of place in the dead of winter). Luckily, you have many great options.

 

tea party hats; what to wear to a tea party; what to weart to a ladies tea party; what hat to wear to a ladies tea

[ban.do rose; ban.do two-tone satin sash; ban.do pom pom flower; ban.do organza flower]

 

My first choice actually isn’t a hat at all. But it sufficiently takes the place of one. Modern headbands and flowers are ultra feminine and still indulge your hostesses request for hat, but with your own clever spin. I adore these options from ban.do and they’ll certainly give you the pop of color you’re after.

 

tea party hats; what to wear to a tea party; what to weart to a ladies tea party; what hat to wear to a ladies tea

[Rag & Bone Kingsley Fedora]

Another fabulous option is a floppy wool hat or felt hat — both winter appropriate and glamorous.

 

tea party hats; what to wear to a tea party; what to weart to a ladies tea party; what hat to wear to a ladies tea

[Catarzi Felt Floppy Hat; American Apparel Wool Floppy Hat (many more colors available); Topshop Felt Floppy Hat (also in camel); Jessica Simpson Flower Floppy Hat]

 

Channel your inner Katharine Hepburn with 1940’s sophistication or your inner Bianca Jagger with ’70s flair (the queen of making hats work).

 

 

tea party hats; what to wear to a tea party; what to weart to a ladies tea party; what hat to wear to a ladies tea

[Catarzi Felt Floppy Hat; Catarzi Felt 1920’s Hat]

 

These would all pair well with a sexy secretary blouse and wide leg trousers. Or, equally as well with a drapey dress or vintage-inspired one.

 

 

tea party hats; what to wear to a tea party; what to weart to a ladies tea party; what hat to wear to a ladies tea

[Tarnish Dip Dye Wool Felt Cloche icon; Aqua Bow Felt Cloche; Jessica Simpson Bow Felt Cloche]

 

For something a smidge more streamlined, a wool or felt cloche is a stunning option.

 

tea party hats; what to wear to a tea party; what to weart to a ladies tea party; what hat to wear to a ladies tea

[Catarzi Felt Bow Hat]

 

Feeling French? A sweet beret is the perfect topper to a roomy cashmere sweater and a skirt.

 

tea party hats; what to wear to a tea party; what to weart to a ladies tea party; what hat to wear to a ladies tea

[Juicy Couture Ribbed Beret with Gems; Alice Hannah Beaded Bereticon; Helen Kaminski Reisa Sculpted Beret; Juicy Couture Sequin Beret]

 

Think Bonnie, minus Clyde.

 

tea party hats; what to wear to a tea party; what to weart to a ladies tea party; what hat to wear to a ladies tea

[Alice Hannah Vintage Lace And Pearl Bereticon]

 

Finally, if you’re a fearless fashionista who likes trying new things, there’s no better time to indulge in the turban trend.

 

how to wear a turban; fashion turbans; stylish turban; the turban trend; how to wear the turban trend

 

[ASOS Turbanicon; ASOS Bow Head Band Turbanicon]

 

As for what to wear with the pretty new topper of your choice, I say let the inimitable Katharine Hepburn be your muse.

 

katharine hepburn style; katharine hepburn fashion; how to look like katharine hepburn; how to dress like katharine hepburn

 

Hepburn’s timeless sophistication works whether you choose something tailored and crisp, vintage-inspired or drapey and elegant. And she certainly inspired the wealth of fashion from the 1970s. Let those ultra-chic eras be your guide.

 

 

katharine hepburn style; katharine hepburn fashion; how to look like katharine hepburn; how to dress like katharine hepburn

 

 

A few looks to inspire your ensemble.

 

 

drapey dresses; what to wear to a tea party; what to wear to a ladies tea party; what to wear to a winter tea party; expert fashion advice by fashion expert kelly lee

[ASOS Trapeze Dress With Slash Sleevesicon; Jolly Dancer Dress]

 

A simple yet elegant dress pairs perfectly with any of the toppers above, from a beautiful bloom to a beret to a wool hat.

 

what to wear to a tea party

[Anne Klein Wide Leg Pant; Anne Klein Georgette Blouse; J.Crew Silk Blythe Blouse]

 

High-waisted trousers are de rigueur and look great with a plain or polka dot blouse. This look is best with a floppy wool hat a la Bianca Jagger, as your voluminous hat will help balance out the voluminous bottoms.

 

what to wear to a tea party

[Belle et La Fete Dress in Dot; The Ladybird Dress]

 

A sweet retro-inspired polka dress will charm the pants off of anyone (so watch out!). A simple cardigan or blazer atop, plus a floppy wool hat and you’re good to go.

 

 

horse romper; what to wear to a tea party

[Tied Together Top; Nice Day for a White Skirt; A Gallop of Style Romper]

 

A few more options? A long skirt with a pretty blouse is very ’70s but also very chic right now. This would look fab with a cloche, floppy hat, turban or beret. Or, skip the skirt, dress and pants altogether by opting for a spirited romper instead. This horse-print romper would be darling with tights and a floppy wool hat and you’re sure to be the sartorial hit of the party.

 

I hope that helps and do send in pictures of the gorge tea party look you end up wearing — and perhaps a scone…or three!

 

 

 

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About Kelly

Fashion and lifestyle expert Kelly Lee gives a front row seat to the latest in fashion, beauty and lifestyle to chic readers around the globe, all from her sunny perch in Beverly Hills, California.

One thought on “Ask Kelly: What to Wear to a Tea Party

  1. I absolutely love this post and want to purchase almost all of the items featured! I just purchased a similar polka dot dress & can’t wait for Spring so that I can wear it!

    – Lindell, East Coast Gal

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