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Men’s Style Tips: Racing off to Royal Ascot and the Henley Regatta

Blog • 22 June 2017

Royal Ascot and The Henley Regatta take place in June. Both are renowned not only for their sporting competition, but as major fashion events in their own right.

Lucky enough to be attending? Or just curious to learn what it’s all about?

Whether you want to keep it royal, or make a statement at these events – we’ve created a quick Style Guide for all racegoers.

Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot considers itself to be one of the major fashion events of the year.  The style code is generally very formal and was influenced by Beau Brummell at the turn of the 19th Century. Beau introduced the morning dress and top hat dress code for the Royal Enclosure, and his style and dress inspiration is still prevalent in Royal Ascot fashions to this day.

Rumour has it he polished his shoes with Champagne – we like your style, Beau.

The Essentials:

1.Keep it super formal. In some places top hats and tails.

2.Limited colours are allowed in certain enclosures, so make sure you’ve got a sharp tie, colourful socks and a pocket square to add some flair where allowed.

What to wear to Ascot: The full dress code rules

Royal Enclosure

 – Black or grey morning dress, with waistcoat and tie

 – Black or grey top hat

 – Black shoes

 – Overseas visitors are welcome to wear their formal National Dress

 – Military personnel are welcome to wear Service Dress

What not to wear:

 – Top hat customisation is not permitted

 – Cravats are not permitted

Within the Royal Enclosure, sadly you are asked not to stray from grey or black socks – think Simply Sartorial.

You can’t customise your top hat, but you can show your personality through your accessories.

To show some of your individuality and style, try bold stripes for your tie or add some character with your pocket square. However pocket squares should be ‘neatly folded and pressed’ – avoid stuffing hankies into your breast pockets gents.

Top tip: always remember to leave the bottom button of your waistcoat undone!

Queen Anne Enclosure and Village Enclosure

Gentlemen attending the Queen Anne Enclosure and Village Enclosure must wear a suit with a shirt and tie.

Windsor Enclosure

Although no formal dress code applies in the Windsor Enclosure, racegoers are encouraged to wear smart clothes.

Henley Royal Regatta

Henley Royal Regatta is equally famous as a social occasion as it is a sporting event.

Henley Regatta was first held in 1839 and was initially a public attraction with entertainment and amusements, but the competitive nature of the gents soon shone through – and amateur rowing became its main purpose.

Since the first event, Oxford and Cambridge have worn brightly coloured jackets so those watching on the bank could distinguish between the teams – the bold, striped blazer look is prevalent to this day, with all competitors and spectators embracing the Royal Regatta style.

With a hot London summer well under-way, we’ve recommended some cracking shades, hats and fabrics that will ensure your Regatta look is both stylish and cool.

What to wear to Henley Regatta

The Essentials:

1. Stay cool under the collar.  A scorching London summer calls for lighter cotton and linen fabrics

2. Accessorise, but don’t bombard your outfit with too many patterns and colours.  Keep it simple with a few key items, like tie, socks and square.

Steward’s Enclosure

 – Gents are asked to wear lounge suits, or jackets/blazers with flannels

 – Tie or cravat must be worn

 – Jackets must be worn at all times, in exceptionally hot weather permission may be given by the Chairman to remove jackets

Regatta Enclosure

The atmosphere is less formal in the Regatta Enclosure so there is no dress code but most racegoers do enter the spirit of the Regatta and dress for the occasion.

The classic summer blazer and chinos combo is the perfect look – we’ve put together some suggestions for accessories to find your style.

YOUR Shades

Why not team your outfit with a conspicuous and rather genteel pair of sunglasses? Our friends at Finlay and Co have recommended The Bowery in Crystal – a wayfarer shape which compliments pretty much all face shapes.

Wondering which style is right for you? Finlay and Co designer Lily shared some tips with us previously, check them out here.



A fedora or trilby hat is a classic, yet simple addition to your Regatta look – whilst also keeping you cool in the London sun. Tom Smarte founder Allon Zloof suggested these quirky Fedoras and Trilby; 310 Superfine Fedora, 308 Parasisal Fedora, 307 Straw and Braid Fedora and the 703 Trilby.

Tom Smarte recommend matching your hat with your blazer rather than your shirt – this provides more balance to your overall look.

Need help choosing your hat style? Allon Zloof gave us some expert advice last year, check it out here.



For summer you can explore lighter colours, but most importantly, you’ll want to stick to natural breathable fabrics so you don’t become too hot under the collar.

Lightweight cotton is breathable and less likely to crease. Linen is very lightweight. Either blended or separately they are great for summer weather.


If you are within the Steward’s Enclosure, you are asked to wear long-length chinos or flannels. With temperatures of plus 30 degrees in London this week, Spoke London offer some nice Summerweights chinos, a great option for keeping cool with 5oz cotton.

Alternatively go bold with some Mustard soft washed chinos and a cool white linen shirt, paired with some brown leather boat shoes.



When it comes to blazers, Hackett London have their own range for the occasion – with the Henley Royal Regatta Two Tone Stripe Jacket encapsulating the legendary Regatta stripes. Pair with some light Stone Spoke chinos, colourful socks and brown leather shoes.


Of course, last but not least, you need the right socks. Here are our recommendations.  Happy racing gents!

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