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Glyndebourne, Wimbledon, and the Royal Ascot: What to Wear When Attending Summer Events

Season change, and new trends are born each year. We all know, though, that some styles are timeless; they'll look as appropriate today as they will ten years from now. The same can be said for the dress code of the most special summer events. Whether you're planning on attending these events this year, next year, or in five years, the attire you need to wear will be the same. Let's take a look at what dress codes you should follow.

The Royal Ascot

No matter what day of this meet they plan to attend, gentlemen have to dress suitably for the event. This means wearing black or grey morning suits with a tie and a waistcoat. Top hats that are worn should be black or grey as well, and your shoes should always be black. Don't bother wearing a cravat; you'll stick out like a sore thumb.

Of course, there's still room to add a bit of your own personal style to the ensemble, especially when it comes to the waistcoat and tie. These can be any colour you choose, so long as they compliment your suit and work well together.

As far as the type of cloth the suit should be made from, opt for pure wool. This type of fabric not only offers a formal look, but it will keep you protected from the weather, which isn't always fair, even in June.

Henley Royal Regatta

Leave the suits at home; this annual boatie event calls for loud chinos and blazers. Yes, that's right, no item of clothing can be too ostentatious or colourful for this event. There are a few unwritten rules though, that you'll need to know though.

  • Jackets or lounge suits are essential for men if you're going to be in the Steward's Enclosure. Anyone can purchase a ticket to enter this area.
  • Unless the head Steward does, no man in the Steward's Enclosure may undo the top button of his blazer or remove his jacket.
  • Cotton jackets, like this blazer from Brook Taverner, are acceptable. For this event, don't wear wool or tweed jackets.
  • Avoid linen trousers. They are not only informal, but also impractical when you are picnicking, as they are more prone to wrinkles. Stick to cotton chinos or cotton blends instead.

When it comes to choosing the colour of your chinos, some standard choices include pink, classic red, or salmon tones. However, don't feel limited to the red family. Any bright coloured chinos will fit in well.

Other tips for attending this event:

  • Red chinos are accepted, red faces aren't. Remember to apply your sun screen.
  • You can pre-book a lot of features, like tea tickets, lunch, and even car parking. Take advantage of this.
  • Invest in a Henley Royal Regatta Official Programme. It only costs £2.50, but it holds a trove of valuable information, like the day's events, descriptions of records and trophies, and competitions you can enter.
  • World class rowing is offered for free. You can watch the best of the best in the sport here.


Ready for a summer evening of enchanting opera, with a preceding picnic on the grounds? If you're attending the Glyndebourne, this calls for black tie attire.

While to most people, black tie implies black men's suits, you can also opt for midnight blue. This is a more creative choice for your suit jacket and trouser, and under the artificial lighting it will appear to be jet black. As for the choice of cloth, opt for wool for the most formal look.

When seeing an opera at Glyndebourne, take advantage of all the opera house has to offer by showing up early and exploring the grounds. Drink a glass a champagne on the lawn, take high tea at a restaurant, or stroll through the grounds, beside the stream, and enjoy the company of the sheep. They even have an art gallery in the opera house basement that you can enjoy. Each area makes the experience of attending even better.

During the interval, you'll have the opportunity to explore the grounds again and have a beautiful and romantic picnic on the lawn. Whether you're attending the opera with a first date or celebrating an anniversary with your partner, taking advantage of this time will show them just how much you care.


Wimbledon is an English institution, and the tennis championships call for relaxed tailoring. If you're planning on attending this even, an everyday men's suit in a light shade, made of breathable fabric is an excellent choice.

When it comes to shirts, choose a colour you enjoy in a pale hue, making sure it looks appropriate with your suit. Keep things casual with a lightweight patterned or textured tie and casual lace-ups as your finishing touches, and you'll be ready for a day of champagne and strawberries on centre court.

Keep in mind that queuing is part of the Wimbledon experience, so come prepared with a lot of water, sunscreen, books, and a sense. Remember as well that this is England; don't trust the weather forecast. Protect your suit (and that book you're reading) with a brolley, some tarpaulin, a bin bag, ANYTHING to keep yourself dry if it suddenly decides to downpour.

Glorious Goodwood

You might not like it, but when it comes to this racing festival, dark hues are out and light are in- and so are heavy fabrics. Yes, this means you're going to have to wear your linen suits. Linen is often a hard fabric for men to pull off, but often it comes down to the footwear. After all, the shoes do make the man. When choosing shoes for your linen men's suits, opt for a tan brogue with a leather sole.

Whether you plan to attend these summer events this season or two years from now, knowing what to wear and what to do while you're there can help you thoroughly enjoy your time. Make sure you've chosen the correct attire and have fun during these special annual activities.

By Brook Taverner 4 August 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments