When to Wear a Tea Length Gown


Wedding-planning service Beau Coup defines "tea length" as "a gown hemmed to end at the shin. [It's] ultra-conservative but with a modern twist." Falling between 8 inches and 10 inches from the ground, this dress length looks best with a slight to high heel. The tea-length gown has become more popular among bridesmaids and prom goers, with its medium, classic length redolent of 1950s glam.

Semi-Formal and Casual Weddings

  • According to Bride and Groom, attendants for semi-formal weddings should wear at least tea-length gowns. They're most appropriate for daytime or outdoor weddings, and the bride can pair the longer length with fabric suitable for the occasion. Tea length may be too short for formal evening weddings.

    Wedding website Perfect Bridesmaids says, "[Tea-length bridesmaid dresses] help set the tone of a wedding that is designed to be elegant and fun at the same time."


  • Tea-length gowns have become popular prom attire. The shorter length is less cumbersome for dancing and costs less than a long, opulent gown. Worn over a petticoat, a tea-length gown can look retro and glamorous for a teen's special night. Accessorize the tea-length gown with short gloves and a cute hat for another twist on the retro theme.

Business Wear

  • Tea-length dresses are appropriate for work, but might look dowdy on younger women. This hemline is more appropriate for a conservative environment than a business-casual one, so wear it for important meetings and functions rather than putting it in the everyday rotation. A tea-length dress can be paired with a blouse or sweater, and a mid-length or kitten heel will add a bit of elegant rise.

Evening Events and Parties

  • A tea-length cocktail dress is appropriate for most evening events except the most formal. For dressy occasions, pair it with high-heeled shoes and a party hat or gloves. These dresses can be fun for dance events, because the skirts flair out when you spin. Tea length is modest enough for a church social, yet fun enough for a dance party. Fabric choices include satin, silk or brocade, with chiffon or georgette as summertime options.

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