Sporting an ensemble at Royal Ascot, Wimbledon, Henley and the Chap Olympiad

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Our Fashion Editor, Chloe Coco Arnold, adds a dash of humour to her preview of the summer’s best social events.

Whether or not you are an avid follower of summer sporting events – and I don’t mean ones where you drip any perspiration – outdoor activities seem to be the central theme in the social calendar this summer. The obvious sporting event of the year is the upcoming London Olympics; however, there are plenty of other outings to enjoy whilst looking your best. I have picked some of this season’s favorite events that give us an excuse to dress up and have fun!

The Queens Diamond Jubilee kicked off the sporting trend in style by impressing us with thousands of boats along the Thames in a tribute to her Majesty’s long reign. But this was only the start of a summer of fun and there are plenty more exciting occasions lying ahead…


Looking regal at Royal Ascot

Tomorrow sees the first day of Royal Ascot, which is one of the pinnacle events of the summer social season, especially in light of this year’s Jubilee. Ascot officials boast that the “Royal Meeting will certainly be one of the must attend events of the year to enjoy all of the pageantry and history of a quintessentially British day out.” So, if you are looking forward to a week of Horse Racing, no matter what ticket division you hold, this meet is an elegant affair and a wonderful sense of occasion for all involved. Formal or informal, it’s a great excuse to get sufficiently stylish. But take note of the dress code, which varies according to each section.

The dress code at Royal Ascot is much stricter this year and they have given examples of what is acceptable

The dress code at Royal Ascot is much stricter this year and they have given examples of what is acceptable

The main Grandstand Admission has the least formal dress code and those at Ascot suggest, “Whilst we encourage racegoers to wear smart clothes in order to fully enjoy the race day experience, no formal dress code applies, except that bare chests are not permitted at any time.” So, no hooliganism boys!

If you have tickets for the Premier Admission section, Ascot suggests “Gentlemen should wear a jacket and tie, smart trousers or smart jeans; no trainers. Ladies should dress for a smart occasion; hats are encouraged but not compulsory.” And finally, if you find yourself mingling with aristocracy and want to feel as regal as the Royals in the Royal Enclosure, the dress code for this year has changed slightly. The racecourse has offered some examples and photos of what is acceptable. A visual guideline if you will, which is considerate, if not a little controlling… who said we live in democracy?! But alas, tradition is tradition and who are we to argue.

The biggest amendment to the dress code is no fascinators are allowed and of course, if you dare to show off your midriff there may be cries of ‘Off with her head!’. For those who need a reminder of what is acceptable, here are the golden rules:

“Dresses and skirts should be of modest length defined as falling just above the knee or longer. Dresses and tops should have straps of one inch or greater. Jackets and pashminas may be worn with dresses and tops underneath. Trouser suits are welcome. They should be of full length and of matching material and colour. Hats should be worn; a headpiece which has a base of 4 inches or more in diameter is acceptable as an alternative to a hat. Strapless, off the shoulder, halter neck, spaghetti straps and dresses with a strap of less than one inch (2.5cm) are not permitted. Fascinators are no longer permitted in the Royal Enclosure.”


Strawberries and Cream at Wimbledon

The biggest tennis tournament of the summer takes place immediately after Ascot and is an alternative if fine fillies and betting on your favorite stallion are not your thing. Taking place from June 25th to July 8th, bright whites and strawberries and cream courtside is another appealing option.

Anne Hathaway attended Wimbledon last year

Anne Hathaway was one of many celebrities that attended Wimbledon last year

Game, set and mix and match at this year’s Wimbledon! There is no official dress code for spectators at the tennis event of the year as such, only unless you are in the Royal box or Member’s Area. Having said that, you should make the most of smart casual efforts, with Pimms being the ultimate accessory! The protocol for the Royal Box section is to “dress smart, suits/jacket and tie. Ladies are asked not to wear hats, as they tend to obscure the vision of those seated behind them”.  Check out some of last year’s celebs dressing for the occasion for inspiration and we look forward to seeing what’s in store this year. Let’s hope there will be some ACE attempts!


Hats on for Henley 

Henley Royal Regatta is undoubtedly the best known regatta in the world and is a highlight of both the summer sporting calendar and social season. The event is a long established tradition and therefore the dress code is rather strict. It is advised you spread the word to your fellow guests in order to avoid the embarrassment of refused entry on the day. I attended last year and it is certainly one of the stricter occasions. So, Ladies and Gents, you have been warned! Gentlemen are required to wear lounge suits, jackets or blazers with flannels and a tie or cravat. Ladies are required to wear dresses or skirts with a hemline below the knee and will not be admitted wearing divided skirts, culottes or trousers of any kind. Whilst not a requirement, it is customary for ladies to wear hats.

So, showing a bit of leg is out of the question. Remember, keep it demure and classy. No saucy sailors at this outing!

Daisy Lowe at the Henley Royal Regatta

Daisy Lowe at the Henley Royal Regatta


Fancy dress for the Chap Olympiad

And finally, for those of you who want a little less fuss and like the idea of a spoof sporting event, opt for the Chap Olympiad at the Bedford Square Gardens held from the 8th of July to the 10th. Admittedly, this is not the most glamorous outing but I do admire a sense of humor. Mix it up with fancy dress and you have yourself a good old fashion harmless day of fun. The Bedford Square Gardens is a really lovely public garden in London and is probably one of the best preserved pieces of Georgian architecture around. In keeping with the Olympian tribute there will be ten Olympic style races that can be entered by any member of the public.

The only rule here is that no sportswear is allowed; just eccentric imaginative attire. Sporting events include the hilarious “Tug of Hair” in which a rope is substituted for a lengthy mustache. Umbrella jousting is also on the cards where brollies and bikes are used instead of horses and lance! There will be great music and dancing with Pimms and pints; it’s an outing we’ll beer sure to check out!

The Chad Olympiad Tug of Hair event

The Chad Olympiad Tug of Hair event



3 Responses to Sporting an ensemble at Royal Ascot, Wimbledon, Henley and the Chap Olympiad

  1. Pingback: Sporting an ensemble at Royal Ascot, Wimbledon, Henley and the Chap Olympiad

  2. Justin 23 June 2012 at 10:55 am

    Really well written.
    Fun and insightful.

  3. Pingback: Editor’s Comment: The racing season kick starts a summer packed with exciting events | The Sloaney

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