Time for Tea

Cassidy Floral Midi Tea Dress, £28 (Sale - was £40), Joanie Clothing

The classic tea dress is a shape that never goes out of style - and now the go-to dress of the season! From feminine 1940s-inspired tea dresses in vintage floral prints to fit 'n' flare styles in classic polka dots, Joanie Clothing - the fashion brand for nostalgic souls - has the perfect collection, whatever the occasion.

The tea dress is beautifully versatile and is an effortless throw-on-and-go wardrobe staple.

But what exactly makes a tea dress and where did this style stalwart come from?

The tea dress was typically worn to events in the late afternoon or early evening, typically teamed with dancing, live music and of course, the serving of a traditional high tea.

Usually designed with a modest length, the classic tea dress would fall just above the ankle and always below the knee. This easy-wear informal style is created in a lightweight fabric, designed for dancing.

Looking back at the history of the tea dress, it’s interesting to see how the wardrobe classic as evolved through the eras.

1930s Style

A mainstay of the 1930s, the tea dress shape saw the return of the natural waistline, following the popular drop-waist flapper dresses that the roaring ‘20s were renowned for.

Modest necklines were typical of this decade, as were wide sleeves and cinched waistlines with a long, midi length flowing skirt.

Get the look with Joanie Clothing’s Millicent Collared Dress featuring a retro print, at £45 - or for something a little more classic, the brand’s Tiggy Dress in a pretty polka dot print is another favourite at £45.

1940s Style

Wartime brought about big changes to society and the way women dressed. Rationing brought with it a boom in ‘make do and mend’ culture.

The 1940s became the defining era of the tea dress, with feminine details like floral prints, soft shades and frill detailing favoured. Hemlines rose a little and the tea dress was dressed up for dancing, teamed with victory roll hairstyles and lots of lipstick.

For a ‘40s-inspired style, Joanie’s Barb Polka Dot Button Through Dress at £31.50 in the Sale is seriously charming with its button-through front, mini polka dot print, slim collar neck and tie belted waist - or, see the Poesy Polka Dot Tea Dress in classic monochrome at £38.

Click here to shop all of Joanie’s Tea Dresses