Henley Royal Regatta updates dress code to allow trousers for women

Women are allowed to wear trousers to the Henley Royal Regatta for the first time ever as the 182-year-old dress code is updated from skirts and dresses that fall below the knee

  • Henley Royal Regatta has updated its dress code to allow trousers for women
  • First time in the event’s 182-year history women will be allowed to wear them 
  • Previously they were only allowed to wear a dress or skirt that fell below the knee
  • Men must wear a lounge suit or trousers with a blazer or jacket 

Women will be allowed to wear trousers to the Henley Royal Regatta for the first time in its 182-year history, it has been announced. 

The dress code has been updated for the first time to permit women to wear trousers with a blazer or jacket. 

Previously women were required to wear a dress or skirt with a hemline below the knee. Men must wear a lounge suit, or trousers with a jacket or blazer. 

Women will be allowed to wear trousers to the Henley Royal Regatta for the first time in its 182-year history, it has been announced. Pictured, revellers at the event in 2019

The dress code has been updated for the first time to permit women to wear trousers with a blazer or jacket. Previously women were required to wear a dress or skirt with a hemline below the knee. Pictured, women at the 2019 event

The Henley Royal Regatta will take place in Henley-on-Thames, from August 11-15. It was cancelled last year due to the pandemic. 

Regatta chairman Sir Steve Redgrave announced the historic update to the dress code, saying ‘times have changed’ and it is the ‘right time’ to shake up the rules.

He said: ‘We have been asked for a number of years if we could look at the ladies’ dress code because times have changed.

‘Even though we see ourselves very much as a traditional event with a traditional way of dressing, with the introduction of more women’s events in recent years, we felt that it was the right time to make the change.

The Henley Royal Regatta will take place in Henley-on-Thames, from August 11-15. It was cancelled last year due to the pandemic. Pictured, rowers at the regatta in 2019

‘It is not a major change by any stretch of the imagination but we still see the regatta as an excuse to dress up like you would for any other celebration.

‘If you see the regatta as a social occasion, as I do, people like to dress up and that is what Henley is all about – colour and celebration.’

The Henley Royal Regatta attracts thousands of visitors over the course of the five-day event. 

Teams compete in over 300 races of an international standard on the Thames, which can include Olympic rowers as well as crews new to the event.  

It was first staged in 1839 and has been held annually every year since, except during the two World Wars and 2020 due to Covid-19.

The move has given a boost to women’s clothes shops in the town.

Ailsa Meredith, a style advisor at Whistles in Bell Street, said: “Some women don’t want to be typically dressed.

“Going in something unexpected is nice and a way to show your bold personality.”

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