You must know how to dress for afternoon tea in London if you expect to be able to stay for the scones. Afternoon tea is a time-honored tradition full of elegance, style and luxury. Attended by both Londoners and traveling tourists alike, the extravagant event is not without a dress code. So before you can relax and enjoy the very British tradition of afternoon tea, cream, delicate piles of cakes, scones, petit fours and sandwiches, you need to know what to wear.
- Men must wear a jacket and tie. Londoners are quite serious about this matter. If you are without a jacket or tie, you may ask the hall porter or head to the cloak room to see if there is one you can borrow. These borrowed jackets and ties are not the most flattering or fashionable. The embarrassment factor is also something that your date can do without.
- Leave the athletic shoes at home. There is no chance that a pick-up game of basketball will break out during afternoon tea in London. If you have a strong feeling that one will, you can pop a pair in the trunk of your car. Under no circumstances should you wear tennis shoes or trainers with your suit and tie. The cloak room does not carry spare loafers.
- Denim is inappropriate. Jeans, even your dress jeans, should not be worn to afternoon tea. While you may be allowed to participate wearing nice jeans with a jacket, tie and dress shoes, you might as well go the extra step and slip into trousers.
Women have a more lenient dress code than in years past. Hats and gloves are no longer required for afternoon tea, and neither are dresses. The range of options are wider for women; they can choose from dress pants and a blouse to a cocktail gown and anything in between.
- The rule of thumb when dressing for afternoon tea in London is to dress up. Then you can enjoy the whole experience without sticking out like a sore thumb.