Plain Tiger Curates: The High Tea Edit

Put your pinkies up

By Renee Fortune

If you’ve ever experienced the social phenomenon we fondly refer to as “high tea,” you’ll probably have the followings kinds of images etched into your memory: porcelain crockery with floral embossments and gold rims, dainty cucumber sandwiches enhanced with gourmet ingredients you struggle to pronounce, tiered display stands with layers of cupcakes, scones and seasonal fruit. Sound familiar? If it doesn’t, get to Googling because having high tea is something everyone should experience.

The concept of high tea (or afternoon tea) wsa invented by Anna Maria Russell, the Duchess of Bedford, who, as one writer explains: “plugged her peckishness by filling the gap between luncheon and dinner with a selection of sweet and savoury snacks brought to her rooms.”

Others argue that high tea was a working class phenomenon, brought on by the fact that manual labourers had to have their tea time snacks while standing up or sitting on tall stools.

Every country seems to have its own spin on it. In Morocco, you can enjoy high tea on silver platters filled with savoury delicacies, bite-sized, nut-infused cookies, lemon vanilla almond ghriba and mint tea. In Australia, you’ll be served buttermilk scones with clotted cream, fruit preserves and mandarin profiteroles with tea and maybe even a glass of bubbly. Travel to Spain and you could enjoy lemon-flavoured tea cookies that were once served to King Alfonso XIII in an ornate tea room glistening with crystal chandeliers and marble tables. Whatever its origins, high tea has turned into quite the affair.

Whether you’re off to high tea or pretending to be off to high tea and looking for any excuse to dress up and turn heads, here are some of the high tea essentials you’ll find on Plain Tiger:
In this dress you’ll find yourself tumbling down the rabbit hole and into a chair at the Mad Hatter’s tea party. And dare we say, you’ll look delightful. This dress, by Kanelle is crafted from Poplin and is designed to transition effortlessly through the seasons. You can dress it up or dress it down, but any way you choose to wear it, you’ll be proud to know that you’re donning a piece that was created with the planet and its people in mind. Kanelle is dedicated to creating clothing consciously, with as little impact on the environment as possible and to generate awareness around how choosing slow fashion can change the world.

This outfit has the x-factor. Advait bridges the gap between fine art and fashion. The set includes a structured coat with a printed patchwork panel on the front and collar. The trousers have asymmetrical print detailing with side pockets, a front hook and fly. And don’t you just love the flare? There’s something deliciously avant garde about this outfit. Made in India, for women who love making a statement.
Moroccan lanterns, Persian rugs, eclectic, globally inspired

Throw some serious shade with these sunglasses from South African brand, BALLO. These unisex shades are crafted from cork, making them lightweight, durable, flexible and most importantly, sustainable. What’s great about these shades is that they are designed to protect your eyes from the blue light on screens. Overexposure to blue light can strain your eyes, affect your sleep and result in headaches. These are the shades to wear when you don’t need prescription lenses but still want that classic “I can do algebra” look.

Vegan leather is a vibe. If you agree, then this could very well be your next must-have accessory. This handbag is crafted from 100% vegan, textured eco polyurethane with a lining that’s made from recycled plastic bottles. We love the story behind these bags, which pay homage to the famous New England CottonTail rabbit, a species that is now nearing extinction. CottonTail Rabbits are storybook favourites (as seen on Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events) and this range of bags is dedicated to these beautiful creatures, which for many represent youthful playfulness, a sense of child-like imagination and a healthy dose of mischief.

natural fabrics, tone on tone, organic

The Accessory:

Posy Earrings by Quazi Design

You’ll find that these Posy Earrings will add the perfect finishing tough to your high tea look. These beauties are handmade out of paper pulp and brass, with an oh-so-pretty petal design that’s unmistakably elegant. The paper and brass used for these earrings are 100% recycled, created from waste. Quazi Design is a brand that was born out of a partnership between a designer and a local magazine distributor in order to create much needed employment in Eswatini, South Africa. Quazi Design’s small team consists of women from the local community, who are skilled at transforming waste material into beautiful pieces of wearable art.

rust, shabby-chic, interior

Here’s something special for the men. A tailored, oh-so-slick pair of pants designed by Addo African Clothes, a South African brand. These pants are vegan approved and made from 55% hemp and 45% organic cotton, according to the sustainable and ethical design approach of the brand’s founders. Like all Addo African Clothes garments, this pants is made by local South African entrepreneurs in local communities, giving you an alternative to fast fashion that supports the livelihoods of a number of talented artisans.

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Blended for summer months when you need some extra help with staying hydrated and keeping your skin looking fresh, this herbal iced tea is packed with minerals and sumptuous ingredients like dandelion root, oatstraw and summer botanicals. The Wellness Blend brand hails from the sunny shores of South Africa and was founded by women’s health practitioner and movement specialist, Donah Rosser. The ingredients include silica, a trace mineral that helps our body produce collagen, and the deep ruby red colour comes from the Hibiscus which is known as nature’s botox.
rust, shabby-chic, interior
Take high tea home with this aromatic blend of red rooibos, honeybush and lavender. This is the kind of tea that will help you rediscover your zen from your patio, bathtub, your favourite chair or your sofa. Hosting high tea at home? This is the blend you need when it’s time to tone down and do nothing but enjoy good conversation over a good brew. Lemon balm, chamomile and lavender flowers help bring stillness to the mind and body. Blended with mineral and magnesium-rich organic honeybush tea and red rooibos, this comforting antioxidant-rich blend also contains coconut, pink cornflowers and aromatic aniseed.
rust, shabby-chic, interior