Tea gown

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

tea gown or tea-gown is a woman's at-home dress for informal events which became popular around the mid 19th century characterized by unstructured lines and light fabrics. Early tea gowns were a European development influenced by Asian clothing and historical approach from the 18th century which led to the renaissance time period of long and flowing sleeves.12 Part of this European sense of fashion came from the Japanese Kimono as they were worn by Japanese women during a wedding or any formal ceremonies.3 First to introduce the tea gown was in 1840's by a woman called Anna Maria Russell, a friend of Queen Victoria (1783-1857).4 Russell was credited for “Inventing afternoon tea”.4 Anything with the gown, manners and the ritual of the afternoon tea ceremony came from Russell.4 Her friendship with the queen put her at a higher chance of fitting in the society by becoming a strong influential individual.5 Russell became

popular due to her high influence on the tea culture on the society, not for the tea parties.6 After her death,the tea culture that she worked on existed for another 153 years.4

Liberty & Co. tea gown of figured silk twill, c. 1887. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, M.2007.211.901.A tea gown or tea-gown is a woman's at-home dress for informal entertaining of the late 19th to mid-20th centuries characterized by unstructured lines and light fabrics. Early tea gowns were a European development influenced by Asian clothing,7 part of the japonism of Aesthetic dress.

Tea gowns are supposed to be worn without a corset for comfort without the need of help from the maid; however, elegance always came first.8 At the beginning of the 20th century, Lucile was one of the first designers to abolish corsets from the gown for the sense of comfort for women.9

Stages of a tea gown:

  1. Morning wear (Undress): Were to be worn early in the morning10
  2.  Afternoon wear (Half Dress): Worn during the day for visitations of friends of family. Consists of high neck line with long and flowing sleeves10
  3. Evening wear (Full Dress): Were to be worn in the evening for dinner parties and such. Consists of low neck lines with short to almost no sleeves10

From 1920-1930, tea gowns were consistent of long and tight sleeves surrounded by lace cuffs mid way through the sleeves.11 The entire gown is very similar to a ball dress in an old fashion sense.

During the 19th century, it was not appropriate for women to be seen wearing a tea gown.8 The main concept of the outfit was to be worn indoor with friends and close friends during a dinner party.8 Tea gowns are a combination of a house wear and what seems to be appropriate in front of friends and family.11

Although this graceful and feminine stylish form of gown was meant for a mid-day garments, the length of its time extended to night time.11 Women started wearing tea gowns in the evening for dinner or certain events at home with close friends and family by 1900.11 Tea gowns that were made for during the day consist of a high neck and as for the ones made for the evening, lower necks were more suitable.11 Evening gowns were decorated with long gloves, marvelous hats and small handbags to feature the evening look.10


  1. ^ Hsieh, Ifang (January 19, 2012). "Tea gowns are not for tea parties". T CHING. 
  2. ^ "Downton Abbey Season 2: Teagowns and relaxation". Jane Austen's World. Retrieved February 5, 2012. 
  3. ^ Favors, LaTasha. "Japanese Kimono History". USA TODAY. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Understanding Anna". LEAFBOX TEA. September 22, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Understanding Anna". LEAFBOX TEA. September 22, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Understanding Anna". LEAFBOX TEA. September 22, 2010. 
  7. ^ Takeda and Spilker (2010), p. 112
  8. ^ a b c "Terminology: What is a tea gown?". The Dreamstress. June 14, 2012. 
  9. ^ "sip & style: tea gowns". teaspoons & petals. April 14, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b c d Easton, Ellen. "TEA TRAVELS (TM) - The Afternoon Tea Gown and LaBelle Epoque". Old fashioned living. 
  11. ^ a b c d e Post, Emily. Dress. Post, Emily. Dress. 


  • Post, Emily, Etiquette (1922)
  • Takeda, Sharon Sadako, and Kaye Durland Spilker, Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700 - 1915, LACMA/Prestel USA (2010), ISBN 978-3-7913-5062-2

External links

Creative Commons License