Did you know that the women's tea dress first appeared in the late 1870s? Unsurprisingly, it was designed for afternoon wear around the house, to entertain friends and family… and drink tea. Though styles have moved on and today’s tea dresses are unlikely to swamp you in seven layers of taffeta (thank god), we’ll always think of tea dresses as the quintessential afternoon dress – perfect for that tricky day to dusk transition and just smart enough for family dos and drinks with friends alike. Have a peek through our pick of the season’s best styles, in super flattering fit and flare and semi-fitted forms. Keep a special eye out for appealing prints, cute buttons, soft self-tie waists and other feminine details.