Posted Jul 12, 2010 in Fashion | 0 Comments

Traditional British Activities

For the past few weekends, I’ve had the pleasure of engaging in traditional British activities and events. While standing about five metres from the Queen of England was pretty amazing, what was even more captivating was the age-old British style that—literally—reigned. I attended two events: The Royal Ascot, and Henley Royal Regatta. Each followed their own “fashion vibe,” however they both made true the phrase “old is new again” as vintage dresses and hats dotted the landscape.

The Royal Ascot

This epic horse race takes place at tracks just outside of London, and a strict dress code is in full effect. It was a cold, windy day, but it didn’t stop people from wearing their tailored and feathered finest. My Canadian friends and I were quite tame in comparison to some of the dames and sirs present, but we still made a solid effort to appear as British as possible. It was here where I saw the Queen and Prince Philip ride around in a carriage and wave to their royal ‘subjects’.

Henley Royal Regatta

Unlike Ascot, Henley took place on a fantastic summer day where the sun was beaming and a breeze was blowing off the Thames. It was literally a giant lawn party, where everyone drank PIMMS and champagne and picnicked on British cuisine (coronation chicken sandwiches, pork pies, and strawberries) while watching the rowing races. My girlfriends and I opted for the standard enclosure, where dress-code was merely a suggestion (but most people followed it anyway). However, a few of my friends went all out and scored tickets to the Stewards Enclosure, where suit jackets were not allowed to be removed until some official deemed it “too hot,” and cell phones were off-limits. Women were actually turned away if their hemlines were a centimetre above the knee.

While there are not too many places in the world where traditional dress code would be considered trendy, for a few weekends a year the old world resurfaces, and flower prints, navy suits, and “the bigger the better” hats take the UK by storm.

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