Two for Tea

The tea gown, a loose garment for swanning around in the afternoon, appeared on the Parisian runways this March. Its length and sweep give it a nostalgic edge that inspires interesting variations. Dressier than a robe, it feels just right for staying in or sashaying out. Thanks to Jane’s Vanity, I own two such gowns: one for cool weather, one for warm. So handy. A necessary luxury.

The modern tea gown gives a subversive nod to its 19th century heritage. Ladies then traded their corsets for comfort in the afternoon. Unleashed in more ways than one, they quickly fell in love with a garment that allowed freedom, charm, and a hint of daring. The high neckline of early tea gowns soon gave way to exciting decolletage. The tea gown became a must-have item for entertaining.

My cool weather tea gown is a playful variation on Victorian chic: The Hero Virginia Gown from Olivia Von Halle is fashioned from teal silk velvet with a floral print in hues of lilac, lavender, burgundy, and chartreuse. Its snap-front design is complemented by removable black velvet bows at neck and extended cuffs. I love its Eliza Doolittle swagger.

My warm weather version tells a story, too. Violet & Wren took inspiration from British botanical painting to create the Trailing Guava Backless Gown for their “Far Side of the World” collection.  The floor-length ivory gown is patterned with an exotic floral in white, sage green, chartreuse, and red. Its v-neck empire front and plunging back whisk me off to an Henri Rousseau jungle.

T-4-2 or 2-4-T? Tea gowns for you and me, from Jane’s Vanity.

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