Monday, 7 July 2008

Jolly stylish fellows

To Henley-on-Thames, for the Henley Royal Regatta, where I was curious to see what the ladies were wearing. But, as I soon discovered, it's the men who really dress up at Henley... so I decided to devote some serious blogging space to the men's fashion week that is Henley.

One of the things that the rowing regatta is noted for is its brightly coloured blazers. The rowing clubs usually offer summer and winter blazers - the summer ones are often stripey or in lighter colours eg cream with a piped ribbon edging, whereas the winter jackets are thicker more woolly/felt-like material, but also with a piped edging. Lots of men retain these from their school or university college days and continue to wear them year after year, which makes for some interesting and sometimes ill-fitting sights by the river - though everyone I met this year looked immaculately turned out...
From above left to right: the guys in red from Kingston Rowing Club, the Army Boat Club blazer (you'd never guess!) and the curiously colourful Nat West Rowing Club jacket.

Then (above left) the bright young things from Radley College, a more seasoned type and member of Tideway Scullers (above right) and the wearer of a very prestigious jacket from the Cambridge 1999 Boat Race team (above centre) - and right, a close up showing the stains acquired over the years - of great sentmental value, since each stain has an associated story of how it got there ... we don't want to hear, thank you very much!

Some opt for the more traditional type of blazer - be it the traditonal navy blue, gold buttoned type, as modelled by the statuesque Leander Club member below left, to light weight cotton and linen (below centre) - but some men just don't know how to do the understated look and have to go the whole hog, especially if they belong to the London New Zealand Cricket Club (below right).

Men of the cloth also get to wear their blazers too. Like the honorary curate (left) from Holy Trinity, Clapham, who once rowed in the 1st eight for Pembroke College, Oxford. Of course, there are others for whom the blazer is simply not an option.

And there's the street cred factor to consider as well. Have you ever heard the phrase 'hoodies hardly ever happen at Henley'? Probably not, because I just made it up - and there were some very happening hoodies at Henley this year, as pictured below left, along with some friendly (I managed to get a smile at least) locals, centre, and possibly the most curiously cool guy around - a very Brideshead young man sporting a Monaco Yacht Club blazer, which was beautifully fitted with hand-stitched panels at the back...I was so impressed by the workmanship I even have a photo if you want to see it?

Finally, there were also the lycra-clad rowers as well ... the reason for all the dressing up I suppose, although they all seemed to be in various states of undress - from the start of the race as shown below left, to the finish (the chap in the middle was unfortunately in a losing team from Hamburg) - and even baring their chests: most un-British!
I'd like to mention that we do have a few bits and bobs for men on the ShopCurious website, including some rather unusual gifts and vintage accessories. We'll be offering a wider selection in the future, so please let us know if you have any preferences - we aim to provide things with personality and style to ensure that you remain jolly stylish fellows.
Are you?

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