Topshop floral vintage tea dress

Tea{Dress} Lady: Three Reasons Why I Love a Tea Dress

Author: Lisa Soeno

It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve really started to embrace dresses. I don’t remember wearing them at all at Uni or when I got my first proper job – I much preferred separate trousers/skirts and tops as they just seemed so much easier and more flattering. That was until I discovered the tea dress, and since then I have never looked back. Here’s my ode to the prettiest of vintage frocks.

1. One style suits all

Whether you’re tall and willowy or petite and curvy, or anything in between, I guarantee there’s a tea dress to suit you. The nipped in waist, empire line and demure sleeve are flattering regardless of size and shape.

I like mine to hit just above or just below the knee as I find this to be the most flattering cut; I wish I could get away with a mini– or midi-length number but as I was not blessed with slim calves I will have to leave these to you leggier or petite ladies.

There’s also a whole heap of gorgeous maxi tea dresses like this one on Asos at the moment.

2. It’s femininity without the frills

The floral print that adorns most tea dresses is an easy way to incorporate a bit of colour and femininity into the most minimalist of wardrobes.

I love, love, LOVE the floral tea dress I’m wearing in the header. The detailing is just gorgeous – from the ruching below the bust to the curved sleeveline. Plus it’s 100% cotton so it’s comfy and light. Most excitingly, it’s an exact replica of the iconic Kate Moss for Topshop ‘Pansy’ dress which still commands ridiculous prices on ebay. They don’t have all sizes available on the Topshop website at the moment but they seem to restock online every so often, and I also spotted most sizes in my local store yesterday.

After seeing my tea dress Charlotte pointed me in the direction of the Liberty print version which is still in my online shopping basket shouting at me to just bite the bullet and checkout. It’s pricey but tea dresses in general aren’t – especially with all the sales on at the moment. Take this pretty grey one from New Look which is a steal at £8.

3. You can be daring … without being TOO daring

As the shape of a tea dress is so classic, you can afford to go a bit wild with the pattern or colour of the dress. For example, I would never usually be brave enough to go for a dress that’s got an in-your-face pattern such as leopard print – I tend to stick to shoes or scarves – but the simplicity of this Asos number means it’s less Kat Slater and more Cat Deeley. Similarly, this swan print dress is perfect if you find florals too twee.

Are you a fan of a tea dress or a ditsy print? Has anyone got THE Kate Moss dress?

  • Topshop
  • New Look
  • Topshop
  • New Look
  • Asos
  • John Lewis
  • Asos
  • Asos

Header image by Amy Morris Photography

Author: Lisa Soeno
Lisa is obsessed with all things interior design. And Cadbury buttons.
Follow Lisa on instagram @lisa.soeno
This post may include affiliate links.
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30 thoughts on “Tea{Dress} Lady: Three Reasons Why I Love a Tea Dress

  1. I love a tea dress. Always have! I suspect that Topshop one would be way too short on me though. Can I ask how tall you are? On the model on the website it looks very short, which seems standard with Topshop things. I normally size up or buy tall to get things long enough.

  2. Lisa, you look gorge! 😍😍😍

    How have I managed to get this far without knowing how badly I need a MAXI tea dress in my life??

    Susan xxx

  3. I have THE Kate Moss dress! I woke up in the middle of the night to shop online when it launched and got very lucky. I was at uni at the time and it felt like a huge splurge but it’s pence per wear must be minuscule by now. I did think of selling it a couple of times but I’m so glad I didn’t, it’s a classic 🙂

  4. I had the Kate Moss dress! It was the most perfect, beautiful dress I ever owned. It went with everything and the fabric was incredible – but it ripped and my heart broke and I have never found a tea dress like it (although the Topshop tea dresses in general are always perfect). You look great Lisa, and love these options too much *hides credit card*… X

    1. Oh Sian this is a sad story! Try ebay? Or one of the non-Kate Moss versions? And thank you for your lovely comment xx

    1. Ooh which did you go for? I wanted to include your lovely embroidered tea dress but it has now sold out at Topshop 🙁 x

  5. You know me, long-term lover of the tea dress. Especially in a floral print. I really rate Topshop as the fit is so good and Reformation is amazing for an invent/slightly more luxe tea dress that you might wear to parties/weddings etc. They currently have a sale on 🙂 x

  6. I love the cut of a tea dress but they are almost always floral which I can’t stand! If anyone knows of any plain/striped tea dresses, please let me know!

  7. Ooh I’ve always liked the idea of a tea dress but they always seem a bit frumpy on me sadly? There must be a style out there that works though!

    Slight aside, but if anyone has any brilliant ideas for styles of bridesmaid dresses that would also work for breastfeeding I would be eternally grateful!! Just found out I will have my second 3 months before my best friend’s wedding and I haven’t got a clue what would be the most flattering shape (with “easy access” so-to-speak) and she wants to start looking for options soon. Will need to be pretty forgiving for that “oops I ate six packets of biscuits yesterday to get me through the day” moments…

    1. Have a look on Asos’ bridesmaid dress range Annie – there’s some lovely V-neck ones or you could always go for one that has two layers and customise for subtle boob access?! x

  8. Trollied Dolly is my top tea dress brand recommendation. They have lots of shapes and the prints are a little bit different, I’m currently sitting at work in a parasol print one I’ve had for years and it still looks brand new!

  9. Son any pretty dresses but most of them in the shops are poly or viscose and as a woman of a ‘certain age’ I need breathable cool fabrics. The cotton top shop ones here are lovely though thank you x

  10. I have the Kate Moss for topshop ditsy tea dress plus the playsuit and 4 (obsessed much) other dresses from subsequent collections. I spent a large part of my student loan on them and wore them religiously while at uni so consequently they all look a bit worse for wear now! Might go an try them on again now….although I’m thinking they’ll feel way too short now I’m a mama to a one year old, and just make me feel old. *sigh*

    1. How stylish were you at uni?! I say dig them out and don’t let the fact that you’re a mama now stop you from wearing them x

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