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The success of Downton Abbey has sparked a renewed popularity in the time honored tradition of the afternoon tea party. This ladies-only party emphasizes beauty, sophistication, and delicate nature of a by-gone era.

Preparation for an English tea party requires an eye for detail. The china must be arranged with care on the white tablecloth. Scones, jams, and thinly sliced cucumber sandwiches should be stacked neatly on the tiered cake stand. A proper Earl Gray tea should be brewed in your best heirloom teapot. Likewise, ladies are obliged to look their best for the occasion.

The hostess needs to look her best to make her guests feel at ease. A matching collar necklace and brooch set will accompany any outfit. Hair should be arranged tastefully and carefully. Hairpins serve both the function of maintaining the cleanliness of the table while conforming to the current fashion appropriate for the occasion.

Guests are encouraged to dress their best but take care not to outshine the hostess. One of the benefits of being a guest is the expectation of being catered to by the hostess and accessories can be chosen accordingly. Don’t be afraid to wear dangling earrings with a matching opera necklace and toggle bracelet.

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