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Dress to Impress at Summer Sporting Events

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Dress to Impress at Summer Sporting Events

Dress to Impress at Summer Sporting Events

At NHJ Style we realise that the summer calendar of sporting events are a fashion minefield when it comes to pulling together a look that is a hit not...

a miss! This simple to follow guide should keep you the right side of stylish and avoid any moments of doubt.


There is a clear dress code for Ascot and if you adopt the required level of dressing as prescribed for the Royal Enclosure you cannot put a foot wrong. The directive clearly states that dresses (and skirts) are to be of a modest length, either falling just above the knee or on the knee. The upper element of the dress (and therefore tops too) must have straps of one inch or greater. Jackets or pashminas can be worn but only if dress code is strictly adhered to underneath! Ladies are also allowed to wear trousers suits but trousers must be full lengthed and the suit of matching material and colour. Hats, which are a key element must have a brim of 4" or wider and fascinators are banned!

Stylist tip:

Choose a fitted or flared shift dress to the knee. If your are concerned about your upper arms wear a 3/4 length jacket in a contrasting colour. If wearing a jacket then match your hat to either your jacket or dress. Limit your look to three colours maximum for a stylish look. Keep shoes classic and simple if your opt for a colourful or print dress; enclosed nude shoes in a heel or a small wedge (depending on your preference and foot tolerance) will suffice. If your dress or outfit is a block colour then contrast with another block colour in your footwear. Always keep toes enclosed for elegance.

Henley Regatta

The Stewards Enclosure at Henley has a very strict dress code, ‘Ladies are required to wear dresses or skirts with a hemline below the knee and will not be admitted wearing divided skirts, culottes or trousers of any kind...Whilst not a requirement, it is customary for ladies to wear hats.' There is no room for maneuver. However, it is important to interpret the code in a stylish way. The danger is that a below the knee dress can look frumpy.

Stylist tip:

Look 1 - Look for a 3/4 length or short sleeve dress that is just below the knee. Try to keep the colour neutral in a navy or cream or opt for a bright block colour as this length dress can be difficult to pull off in a pattern. If you opt for a neutral colour then add a bright pair of shoes and vice versa if your dress colour choice is bold. Metallic shoes in gold, pewter or silver will work well with all colours. If you match your hat to your dress or shoes then add a third colour with either a jacket, pashmina or a clutch handbag.

Look 2 - Think outside the box on this one! Take a midi pencil or more circle style skirt in a bold colour or print, add a crisp white shirt, unbuttoned or buttoned up to collar depending on your bust. Tuck the shirt into the skirt. Wear brogues or heeled shoes depending on your preference and finish the look off with a formal panama hat.

If you are not in the Stewards Enclosure then a nice easy style to pull off is white tailored shorts with a blazer and deck shoes. Wear these with a shell top or a stripy t-shirt. If you don't want to show off your legs opt for a maxi skirt or a pair of chinos or similar trousers. Don't forget to push the sleeves of your jacket up!


Depending on the weather and where you are sitting how you dress for Wimbledon is a matter of what image you wish to create. It seems appropriate to take a leaf out of the recently introduced dress code for members at the All England Tennis club for Wimbledon. If you are going as a member, guest of a member or with a corporate client then there is a visual clear guide on being smart and what not to wear. Follow our stylist tips to create a look that is suitable and stylish.

Stylist tip:

Look 1 - Choose a simple structured shift dress to the knee, with or without sleeves. Add blazer jacket or cardigan. Wear your jacket and cardigan over the shoulder. Sandals or shoes to complete the look.

Look 2 - Tailored cigarette pant or wide leg trousers. Wear with crisp cotton white shirt, a print silk blouse or a shell top. Ditto ref blazer jacket or cardigan plus shoes or sandals.

Of course Wimbledon is not the all out formality of Ascot or the Henley Regatta but staying on the smart side of casual is the better option. If you are a ticket paying member of the public then the casual dress option as outlined above in the Henley section will work equally as well for Wimbledon. To stay stylish avoid hoodies!

Image: Jasper Conran at Debenhams

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