By Cristina Boydell
Rave reviews were received on July 1 for the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, in her tribute red maple leaf hat and pin from the Queen. Middleton also scored bonus points by wearing an Erdem dress, a Canadian designer now based here in London.
So while Kate and Wills were visiting my home and native land, I sought out top British street style, while attending the annual Henley Royal Regatta and watching the rowing races alongside the river – an English summer tradition that dates back 172 years.
It is estimated that on a glorious, sunny afternoon, there may be over 100,000 people enjoying the Regatta. While only 2,000 badges are given out for exclusive tent enclosure, the Saturday event had been sold out for months. I was lucky enough to be one of the few to enter the Regatta and other enclosure tents to watch the action up close, while covering it for FAJO.
One tent was the Stewarts Enclosure, where the strict dress code was enforced. Wearing a more traditional form of dress is believed to create an atmosphere of an English garden party of the Edwardian period. Those who could not get inside the tents at all, packed picnics and blankets and sat alongside the river on the grass. Many even parked their cars and brought along their own tables, drink and food to enjoy in the sunshine.
Most attendees of the event were dressed very “smart” as they say here in England, meaning classy and sophisticated in tailored dresses and suits, the women in fascinators and hats. This was particularly the case in the Regatta enclosures, limited to those who had purchased their tickets for the day.
Other trends included stripes, bright colours and summer prints, maxi skirts and dresses for the girls, while the guys sported team rugby blazers, ties and bow ties, bright jeans or tailored trousers in red, green and purple. The girls wore fun summer sandals, heels or wedges, while the guys wore dress shoes and loafers. The sun was out and so were the shades and straw hats, which topped off the sophistication or added a cool factor to everyone’s outfits.
On a non-fashion note, with the Summer Olympics happening right here in London next year, it is exciting to think that I may have seen some rowers at Henley who may go on to win world medals next year. Overall, I feel very privileged to have witnessed Henley and the outfits that accompany the Royal Regatta – can’t everyone just dress like this everyday?
Check out the range of styles that I captured at the event for our Best Dressed list!
Best Dressed gallery