As with all events in "the season" the rules on Dress at HRR are numerous. An important point to make is that the regatta itself does not have a dress code, indeed it is possible to watch racing over the majority of the course wearing whatever you want, however, if you want to get into certain areas at the regatta, there are distinct rules which must be adhered to, this can be summarised as: expensive for the ladies, and status for the gentlemen.

Many of those who attend chose to dress up accordingly, even if they don't have tags for Stewards or Remenham, as it's seen as part of the day out and you never know when a tag might come your way.

The Rules
In brief the rules are fairly simple:

  • lounge Suits or Blazers and Flannels for the gentlemen (and yes a shirt and tie is also a pre-requisite for admission)
  • Skirts or dresses down to the knee for the ladies - no trousers divided skirts or culottes. (Well the rules were first designed in the eighteen forties.) - nb Remenham club doesn't require skirts to be below the knee, but you never know when you might be offered Stewards tickets, so better safe than sorry...

    The rules for various areas of the regatta are reproduced below..
    [Leander, Stewards, Remenham]

    The Reality
    Gentlemen will, without doubt, wear their Blazers with pride. Despite the fact that it:
    a) Is from Scunton Polytechnic third Eight of 1974 or a majorly low performance club
    b) Covered in unusual or disgusting stains
    c) As tatty as can be.
    d) No longer buttons across their expansive midriff, as they have put on 10 inches around the waist since they bought it.

    Like most things in rowing, there is a recognised Blazer Heirarchy, although there are always some distinctive and garish (though very low-performance) rowing club blazers on display every year.

  • Senior International or Olympic
  • Under 23 International
  • Junior International - (but only if the date on the pocket is less than 5 years or more than 25 years ago)
  • Oxbridge Full Blue (rowing only)
  • Leander
  • Full Purple (rowing only)
  • Top Rowing Club, University or School (Usually means a club with Henley wins in its History, The more recent the wins the higher the Prestige. Less than four wins in their history reduces a club to low performance status if their history covers more than 50 years)
  • Navy Blue but with tie representing any of the above
  • Oxbridge half blue (rowing only)
  • Oxbridge College
  • Other rowing School or University
  • Low Performance Rowing Club
  • Plain Navy Blue from Marks and Sparks or the like with Low performance club tie
  • Non Rowing Related blazer with an embroidered pocket Ė even if accompanied by Top Rowing Club Tie. (it doesnít matter if it's for flower arranging, rowing or even another olympic sport - if itís not for Rowing we're not impressed)
  • Any Navy Blue store brand with indiscriminate non-rowing tie.
  • Garishly coloured "fashion" blazer - (and you bought it... why exactly?)
  • Anything in Tweed
  • A Suit Jacket
  • A Suit Jacket worn with the suit trousers
    It goes without saying that the more high profile you or your male partner is, the higher the spend necessary on your outfit! As ever, for maximum effect, the whole outfit really should be new, down to and including, the handbag.

    REMEMBER that if your Partner is someone who has actually won Henley or is well known in the rowing world, it is necessary to pay extra attention, as you will meet lots of people, some of whom might by be either dishy, rich, available or important to know. So accept it - that seven year old Laura Ashley number just won't do.

    If attending all five days of the regatta, it is permissible to wear last year's Saturday outfit on Wednesday, as anyone who did see it you wearing it the year before, was probably too drunk to remember.

    Hem Length. The basic rules are summarised below.

    In years where split skirts or those which wrap around are fashionable, these are still a complete no-no, even if the split goes to the waist but the hem goes to the floor.
    n.b this is clearly for health and safety reasons, as a flash of Thigh and Stocking top could easily cause premature deaths in the Stewards' Enclosure (q.v.)

    Designer outfits, which don't quite reach the knee, can be got past the gate monitors by using the shuffle technique (see below) but REMEMBER to do the zip up after entry to prevent falling skirt syndrome.


    Gently release the zip part way, then shrug the skirt onto the hips so as to ensure that the hem is at the knee, when arriving at the gate of the enclosure.
    n.b. this tactic, though frequently successful, is dangerous if one tries to walk more than 25 paces without having re-adjusted the skirt and zip back to their normal position.

    Handbags are greatly improved by the correct tagging. Metal tags are a bonus, but beware as borrowing a male's Stewards' Enclosure badge may result in dire consequences if checked.

    Hats. Despite what you may believe, these are generally NOT worn by the majority of ladies at HRR. The rabbit is insistant that the wearing of large Ascot type headgear should be discouraged at all costs, for not only do they look silly, they also block the view of those who actually want to watch the racing.

    Shoes.Although there are no rules on footwear for any of the enclosures, it is worth remembering that those gorgeous Jimmy Choo's with 4inch spike heals which cost a month's salary may not look quite so gorgeous after a day of staggering around on soft grass.

    Please bear in mind that blisters can seriously compromise one's ability to enjoy both the racing and the social activity. A number of sensible ladies have been known to carry a spare pair of flat pumps around in their handbag for walking between enclosures.

    Wellington boots are an optional extra (depending on the moisture content of the enclosures), but given the conditions following the floods of 2007, Rabbit advises all regatta goers to keep an eye on the weather forecast and keep a stylish pair to hand; Hunter do an excellent range of coloured wellies should you wish to co-ordinate with your outfit and, of course, they obviously trump those from Homebase..

    Tights are a faux pas and thick opaque ones doubly so (even when in fashion). If you won't wear stockings then it's best to get a good leg wax, roll out the fake tan (avoiding orange streaks at all costs) and go bare. Thick socks are recommended for under-welly wear for added comfort.

    Luckily Rabbit doesn't have much difficulty in gaining access to most areas of the Royal Regatta, on account of the numerous Bunny Girls and Boys who look after him and the fact he has his own full fur body suit.

    Others are not so lucky, ignore these rules at your own risk.

    /Introduction/Dress Code/Enclosures/Car Parking/
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