Afternoon tea is a stylish opportunity for women to chat with friends, sip Earl Grey, nibble on finger sandwiches, and just be girls again. While you enjoy the food and fellowship, there are a number of elegant and inspiring wardrobe choices that are as satisfying as good company.

Darling Dresses

The teatime dress code, while flexible, revolves around classy and feminine styles with youthful elements. Try a fitted sheath dress, an A-line frock, or a maxi dress for a free-flowing and feminine look. Dresses in chiffon, delicate silk, or springtime cotton blends are also perfect as are lace, eyelet, and tiered styles. Opt for a strapless or portrait-collar dress with a flared skirt for warmer weather, or wear a fitted silk sheath topped with a cardigan sweater to ward off the chill when temperatures fall.

Colors and Prints

Soft pastels and floral prints remain the go-to colors and patterns for teatime, and there are other choices available depending on the season. A bright citrus-colored frock is a lovely choice for a summer event, while jewel tones work well in fall and winter. Neutral hues are also good choices, from an ivory lace dress to a simple navy sheath. If you prefer a print, pastel florals never disappoint. For a refreshing take on these classics, try a solid dress with a floral print bodice or floral print details.

Sophisticated Separates

There are also a variety of separates appropriate for afternoon tea. Try a sweater set in soft pink or lavender and a knee-length neutral pencil skirt, or opt for a pair of beige trousers and a floral-print peasant blouse. For a smart look that's also polished and pretty, pair neutral-hued pants and a blazer with a neutral or pastel blouse.

Elegant Extras

A pearl necklace or earrings, a colorful charm bracelet or a gold or silver chain and pendant all make excellent choices for teatime accessories. If your dress is on the simple side, bring in color and style with a vibrant statement necklace and a clutch in a vivid hue. While gloves are no longer en vogue, elegant, unobtrusive hats are more than acceptable. Complete your look with closed or peep-toe pumps, strapped high-heeled sandals, or embellished ballet flats.