Dancing and fabulous fashion in the Adnams Spiegeltent

NNF15 - Ragroof.

NNF15 - Ragroof. - Credit: submitted

The Norfolk and Norwich Festival heralds a bit of a tradition for regular festival goers - it's time for tea, cake, dancing and fabulous fashion, says fashion editor Emma Harrowing.

1940s fashion shoot. Photo: Joe Black.

1940s fashion shoot. Photo: Joe Black. - Credit: Archant

This year style is all about getting in the swing.

When it comes to fashion anything goes. From pretty pastels to eye-popping colour, from vintage inspired looks to wear-if-you-dare creations, it's time to experiment and have fun with your outfits. And there is one event this spring that is sure to bring out this frivolous side to your style – the Ragroof Players tea dances at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

As with every year, there are two tea dances held in the Adnams Spiegeltent, each with its own distinctive style. As is tradition, one of the dances is fundamentally 1940s, with foxtrots, quicksteps and plenty of swing.

Beginners are welcome, so if you do not know your jive from your lindy hop you soon will. When it comes to what to wear, regulars dress up in anything from the Forces to civvies, from Land Army to spiv. The key to getting it right is, as local vintage expert and fashion stylist Karen James Welton says, 'thinking comfort as well as style'.

Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2014. Taking to the dance floor in the Spiegeltent for the Ragroof Tea

Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2014. Taking to the dance floor in the Spiegeltent for the Ragroof Tea Dances.Photo: Steve Adams


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'Try to wear natural fabrics as material such as cotton will be cooler to dance in. Don't wear anything too tight as fabric with a bit of give in it will be easier to move in and finally ditch the heels and go for a stylish flat lace-up brogue, or if you want to wear a heel go for a wedge or a stack heel.

'A vintage 1940s tea dress is a classic piece to wear to a tea dance, but you may find that these vintage pieces are hard to find and are expensive, so a good alternative is to go for 1970s versions.

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'These are currently in fashion and tend to be easier to move in.

'If you do opt for original vintage, make sure you check under the arms as this is where the fabric can get thin – you don't want any rips or tears happening when you are dancing!'

If you are not a fan of vintage there are many styles you can choose from the high street. Cotton tea dresses, culottes worn with a cotton blouse or a loose fitting skirt worn with a simple T-shirt are looks that are easy to wear and look fashionable.

Of course, as fashion dictates that anything goes this year, feel free to wear what you like. This is especially so at the second dance with the Ragroof Players, which has the theme Strictly Ballroom.

Prepare to dazzle with metallic, sequins, glitter and even Lycra... It's time to let loose with style and rumba.

The Ragroof tea dances take place on Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17 in the Adnams Spiegeltent as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. In the Mood 1940s Swingtime Special takes place on Saturday, May 16 and Strictly Ballroom is on Sunday, May 17. Both shows start at 1.30pm. Tickets £10. For more information visit www.nnfestival.org.uk

The Ragroof tea dances are supported by our sister paper the Norwich Evening News and sponsored by Hewett Petroleum Services.

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