On behalf of Teamuse and Adagio Teas, You are cordially invited to Fashion inFusion Taking place throughout the month of August 2015.
Tea and fashion go way back. Consider the Duchess of Bedfordshire, the dame who first made the concept of afternoon tea fashionable. She had initially conceived the idea to ward off what she called that "sinking feeling" at about 4pm, employing the armed forces of bread and butter to battle the doldrums. These days we call that sinking feeling, "Oh god, how much longer until dinner?" and try to fight it with granola, HIIT, and when all else fails, a really punchy grapefruit oolong. But in 1840, when the Duchess got this "tea" thing rolling, there was no Youtube or Facebook to take care of midday social needs. The afternoon break thus not only alleviated physical exhaustion — ie: if you were stuck in one of the era's many factory jobs — but offered an extra occasion to socialize. Yes, human contact when we need it most! The newfangled custom of getting together at this certain time of day, before the heaviness of dinner and its imminent pre-bed coma, proved to be utterly revolutionary for the citizens of the Victorian Era. There's just something enlivening about taking a break when there's sunlight still in the air. And you can bet your buttons they dressed for it. Back in the day — at least the 1600s, all the way to World War I — it was customary for gentlefolk to have outfits specific to certain meals. (To watch this phenomenon in action, nothing beats the original BBC series of Pride and Prejudice. It's amazing to see how the girls fly through gowns and garters according to each comestible situation.) Thus, teatime was a whole new excuse to dress up for your pals. It required every bit of fashion math-puzzling and logistical strategy that you could muster: fabrics had to be light enough to suit the occasion, with cuts that allowed freedom of movement — necessary to express the proper degree of scandal and outrage when trading gossip. Colors had to be subdued, so as not to outshine the host, and in the event of accidental tea spills, it helped if you went with brown or beige. Afternoon tea was a break-y, informal affair until the popularity of "high tea" came to town, after which the fashions became more ornate, suiting the increased complexity and fluff of the menu. Nowadays, we're more likely to go out for our afternoon tea. We hit up fancy macaron cafes for Darjeeling and fusion smorgasbords — or Smorgasburgs, if you're Brooklynside — for wicked Ethiopian chai. As teatime becomes more public, bread and butter is no longer enough to sustain us at the deathly shadows of 4pm. Our new arsenal is extra equipped with style. This August on Teamuse, look forward to tea-inspired guides to fierceness that you'll never find in the steeping instructions. Fashion inFusion started in 1840 — let's see where it is in 2015. Cheers.