The Tea Gown

A tea gown was a woman’s at-home dress for informal entertaining, characterized by unstructured lines and light fabrics, which became popular around the mid 19th century. 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, flowing sleeves. 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 ceremony. During the 19th century, it was not appropriate for women to be seen in public wearing a tea gown, perhaps because of the lack of a corset. They were intended to be worn indoors with family and close friends during a dinner party (or tea party).

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Though tea gowns started out as afternoon wear, and as garments that were exclusively worn in ones own home, their role gradually widened, so that by 1900 they were worn for evening wear, and to outside events at the homes of close friends. You can tell the difference between the two mainly by observing the necklines and (to some extent) the tightness of the bodice. While turn of the century tea gowns for afternoon wear had high necks, those for evening had lower necks. As for the waist, more formal tea gowns tended to be more tightly fitted.

For a more authoritative description, lets turn to author and etiquette expert Emily Post;

“Everyone knows that a tea-gown is a hybrid between a wrapper and a ball dress. It has always a train and usually long flowing sleeves; is made of rather gorgeous materials and goes on easily, and its chief use is not for wear at the tea-table so much as for dinner alone with one’s family. It can, however, very properly be put on for tea, and if one is dining at home, kept on for dinner. Otherwise a lady is apt to take tea in whatever dress she had on for luncheon, and dress after tea for dinner. One does not go out to dine in a tea-gown except in the house of a member of one’s family or a most intimate friend. One would wear a tea-gown in one’s own house in receiving a guest to whose house one would wear a dinner dress.” – Emily Post, Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home, 1922.

A wrapper, as you may know, was essentially a bathrobe and a ball gown was the epitome of luxury and design. Put them together and what have you got? The tea gown. Modern tea gowns range from simple, to fancy, loosely fitting, to snug.

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A tea gown was a very luxurious item, indispensable to a well-appointed wardrobe. And all that beautiful material did not come cheap, as this humorous poem makes clear;

“MY lady has a tea-gown
That is wondrous fair to see,—
It is flounced and ruffed and plaited and puffed,
As a tea-gown ought to be;
And I thought she must be jesting
Last night at supper when
She remarked, by chance, that it came from France,
And had cost but two pounds ten.

Had she told me fifty shillings,
I might (and would n’t you?)
Have referred to that dress in a way folks express
By an eloquent dash or two;
But the guileful little creature
Knew well her tactics when
She casually said that dream in red
Had cost but two pounds ten.”

I hope you enjoyed this glance back into the history of fashion. I certainly did!  😊 Thank you for your time!

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What Color Tea Are You?

I took another tea quiz; this time to see what color tea matches my personality. I am white tea! Quite accurate, I think. 😊 Would you like to find out what color tea you are? Right this way!

(If you’d like to share your results go right ahead!)

Cambric Tea

Cambric tea is a “children’s tea” made primarily from sugar, hot water, heated milk or cream and perhaps a dash or two of strongly brewed tea. This weak tea generally serves as the beverage of choice in a child’s tea party, or becomes the introduction to stronger beverages such as regular tea or coffee. Cambric tea was my first experience with tea, which might be the reason why i like milk in black tea.

Perhaps this little lass is enjoying a nice cup of cambric tea.

Cambric tea derives its name from a resemblance to cambric cloth, a very thin white fabric often used to make lightweight garments. It is believed that the French were the first to develop this tea, most likely as an alternative to the strong teas generally reserved for healthy adults. Cambric tea was deemed suitable for young children, invalids and the elderly, since it did not contain hardly any caffeine or other troubling ingredients.

Cambric cloth
The popularity of cambric tea during the 18th and 19th centuries was largely due to the availability of its basic ingredients. While adults often packed supplies of coffee and tea during their long treks towards the West, these beverages were considered too harsh for children. Fresh milk or cream, however, could be obtained from dairy cows on many farms, and sugar could be purchased in mercantile stores along the way. Therefore, cambric tea became a popular beverage among pioneer children such as Laura Ingalls Wilder.

There are a number of variations on the basic cambric tea recipe, although the basic ingredients generally remain constant. A small amount of sugar is placed in a cup, followed by either hot water or heated milk. This mixture is stirred until the sugar has dissolved, and the cup is filled to the top with either hot water or heated milk. If brewed tea is used at all, it is added at the last minute and stirred carefully. Heated cream can also be used as a richer substitute for the heated milk if desired.

A Tea Personality Quiz

I just took a tea personality quiz, what fun. 😊 I am English Breakfast Tea! What kind of tea are you? Find out here!

(Feel free to comment your results! 😄)

Happy Chinese New Year

吉慶有餘  – “May your happiness be without limit!”

Chinese New Year is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the Chinese lunisolar calendar. In China, it is also known as the Spring Festival, which is the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. The first day of the New Year falls between January 21 and February 20 and lasts for fifteen days. This year is the year of the sheep (or goat), a symbol of peace, kindness, and love.

As I was reading about this fascinating holiday, I happened to find some delicious looking recipes:

Traditional Chinese Peanut CookiesChinesePeanutCookies

Traditional Pineapple Tarts

Double Chocolate Almond Cookies

Aren’t these amigurumi sheep the cutest things?

Chinese New Year Sheep - Free Pattern

I also found this nice little chart describing Chinese oolong teas.

Oolong Teas

Happy Chinese New Year!

The Nanny Dog

Did you know, for most of the dog’s history, the nickname for Pit Bulls was “The Nanny Dog”? For generations if you had children and wanted to keep them safe, chances were you had a pit bull, the dog that was the most reliable of any breed with children or adults.

For most of our history America’s nickname for Pit Bulls was “The Nanny Dog”. For generations if you had children and wanted to keep them safe you wanted a pit bull, the dog that was the most reliable of any breed with children or adults.

Pittie tea party  .. they need to be careful, they might give pitbulls a good name.  Mean does not wear hearts on the ears or pink hats.

Everyday and Forever, "pit bull" dogs are family: a little girl and her dog play tea party!

They are quite civil tea party guests as well. :)