Archive for the 'Dress & Appearance' Category



Denim for Dinner?!

true_religion_jeansRecently I had a sojourn to the Lake District with my family and we stayed in the same small, hotel we have stayed in for the last twelve years when we visit our relatives in the north of the region. One of my favourite things about this hotel is the excellent food they never fail to serve.

On our first night at dinner, I was shocked – no, mortified – to discover that fifteen out of the nineteen diners were wearing jeans. Jeans! Denim! I should at this juncture state that the restaurant itself is quite formal (it’s not a Harvester). Only at this point did I realise that my brother was also wearing jeans (smart jeans – not ones with rips and holes in, but jeans nonetheless). My family quickly told me to calm down and stop being such a stick in the mud.

But this is why I was shocked: when we first stayed at said hotel, the gentlemen wore jackets and ties, whilst the women wore dresses. You were looked upon in horror if you wore jeans (or dared not wear a jacket – although no rule was enforced). Now, ten years later, there has transparently been a seismic shift in standards. I should state here and now that I rolled up on the first night (going by previous experiences) with a jacket, tie and corduroy trousers. People looked at me. They stared.

When sitting in the hotel lounge afterwards I heard a young-ish girl refer to me to her father as ‘that odd boy with the tie’. Well. That’s the thanks one gets for upholding standards.

Society does change, I accept that, but what shocked me is the speed in which, in this particular instance, it has done so. My fear is that we as a nation are too lazy to make the effort for anything anymore. The chef has made an effort to produce top-notch food, so why should we be so arrogant as to wear the same clothes we were wearing all day to eat it?

Moan over. But for the record, for the next two nights we were there, I made sure I wore a jacket, tie and smart trousers. And if I had had my dinner jacket to hand, I’d have worn that: just to make my point.

William Hanson
Tutor, The English Manner

Cowes Week

Hyacinth: Not incorrect but perhaps not that subtle

Hyacinth: Not incorrect but perhaps not that subtle

Cowes Week is the oldest regular regatta in the world. Unlike Henley, which began in 1839, Cowes was first held in 1826. It began following the Prince Regent’s (who became George IV) interesting in yachting. The first race at Cowes was held at 0930 on 10th August. It is now the tradition that Cowes Week takes place on the Solent from the first Saturday after the last Tuesday in July, until the following Saturday.

As well as the boating element, Cowes is much loved for its social cachet. Parties and live music have become as much of a part of the week as the yachts. On the Friday, a firework display is held, with the pyrotechnics being launched from barges around the waterfront. This tradition dates back more than 150 years. People attending Cowes should be aware that this particular tradition may not happen at this year’s event due to lack of funding.

Now, what to wear? Alexandra Messervy, Founder of The English Manner, gives us the following advice: ‘Stick to looking the part in deck shoes, sunglasses, windproof gear and a chance to wear that perfect Hermes headscarf (or a good imitation from tie Rack!) – and there are plenty of wonderful wellies around if the weather is wet’.

Also – for gentlemen that wish to wear blazers please don’t have an emblem on the top-pocket. Very Non-U.

Do also remember that if you get the chance to go on board one of the yachts, it is required that you do not board until given permission. Once on deck, soft-soled shoes or no shoes at all.

The English Manner are always happy to answer any specific comments about any aspect of protocol. Please see our website for contact details, or just comment on this blog post.

William Hanson
Tutor, The English Manner

CLA Game Fair

shootingThe Country Landowners Association (CLA) Game Fair is this year held on 24 – 26th July at Belvoir Castle and is well attended by well over 100,000 visitors every year.

Most of the attendees are not landowners themselves, but are interested in the countryside, country life and country sports such as shooting and fishing.

First held in 1958 to encourage the return of shooting as a sport after the end of the Second World War, the fair moves to a different site every year – with over 500 acres of grassland needed to host the event together with at least 1000 feet of good riverbank fishing, finding a suitable venue is no mean feat and past locations have included Harewood House, Chatsworth, Blenheim and Stratfield Saye.

Together with displays of country sports and competitions, a multitude of trade stands have encouraged many more visitors over the past few years, selling everything from 4×4 vehicles to guns from Purdey and clothing by Barbour, Burberry and Joules and the great British wellie from Hunters and Dubarry.

Dress is relaxed, but if visitors are invited into the CLA Members’ Enclosure ensure casual but tidy, with jacket and tie for men.  Flat caps are actively encouraged here!

The English Manner are more than happy to advise attendees of this or any other event. See our website (www.theenglishmanner.com) for contact details or comment on this blog post.

Alexandra Messervy
Founder, The English Manner

The Ashes

lords

Lords Cricket Ground

Cricket is a game of frankly puzzling social contexts. A sport invented by farm labourers, adopted by the ruling classes and now the sport of Middle England. Yet regardless of its history, cricket still represents a major section of British sport, and its showpiece event is undoubtedly the Ashes. This year, the series begins on 8th July and is set to end in late August.

Played between England and Australia every other year, the historic event attracts thousands of cricket fans to various cricket grounds across the country. This year’s series will be no different and so it is important to remember cricketing protocol.

Cricket has long been seen as a game for gentlemen and maintains the values of fair play and sportsmanship. This year is no different, with the Australian cricket board writing to every member of their squad forbidding the practise of ‘sledging’, whereby the fielding team uses verbal insults to put off the opposing batsmen.

This type of gamesmanship however can also periodically extend to the stands and supporters should be aware that abusive remarks, chants or banners directed at any player or fellow spectator is out of place in the modern game, and indeed, always has been.

However matters of cricketing etiquette usually stem from other areas, such as dress code, singing and the consumption of food and drink. In the terraces there is no set dress code and nowadays inventive and colourful dress in often encouraged. However, those attending a match in an executive box or from the confines of the exclusive pavilion, such as the one at Lords, are generally expected to wear at least a collared shirt and slacks, often with a jacket and tie.

As for singing and chanting, again the location is all-important. From inside the terraces, vocal support is encouraged (in moderation) so long as it is not whilst the bowler is making his run up, whereas within the pavilion applause is the most acceptable form of appreciation.

Unlike other sports such as football, cricket spectators are permitted to consume alcohol whilst watching the match. However, all beverages must be purchased at the ground and excessive consumption is prohibited and the club bar has the right to stop serving spectators who are believed to be rowdy.

Further advice on this event – or any other event in the Season – can be obtained on request from The English Manner (www.theenglishmanner.com).

James Hanson

Henley Royal Regatta

Henley is the third major event of the summer season after Royal Ascot and Wimbledon.  First staged in 1839, The Henley Royal Regatta takes place over the first weekend in July (from Wednesday to Sunday) in the town of Henley-on-Thames.

Whilst people often know quite a bit about racing and tennis, less is known about rowing and guests often visit Henley with little knowledge, and come away with not much more!  A rarity in boating events, the regatta pre-dates any international or national controlling body and as such has its own rules and organisation, although both the Amateur Rowing Association and the International Federation of Rowing Associations recognise the event. Stewards who are mostly former rowers themselves control the races.

The river view at Henley

The river view at Henley

The regatta can be viewed from several locations along both banks of the river Thames, although viewing areas for the general public are largely on the Berkshire side of the river. The Buckinghamshire side is limited to private clubs and residences as well as the odd bit of corporate entertainment and entry is not too expensive.  Young people have a fantastic time, and there are many opportunities for picnics with a really fun day out. The course is one mile and 550 yards long and there are 16 events over the programme.  It is relatively easy to attend via the Regatta Enclosure, but membership of the Stewards Enclosure is limited to 6000 and there is a very long waiting list of people wishing to join, who must be proposed by existing members, rather like entry to the Royal Enclosure at Royal Ascot.  There is a one-off membership fee and an annual subscription.  Members of the Royal Family do not often attend, although HRH Prince Michael of Kent can sometimes be spotted!

The event takes place during the first part of summer so the weather can be mixed. Henley is the right place to wear blazers, or cocktail dresses (and possibly a hat) for the ladies, although keen rowing fanatics may wish to get on board one of the Umpires launches and so something a little sturdier may be needed.  Ladies must wear a dress which covers their knees and are not allowed trousers or culottes.  Men must wear lounge suits or blazers with flannels and a tie or cravat, and if sporting a boater, these must be genuinely acquired  from a school rowing team or a rowing club.  Designer blazers are frowned upon, plain navy is best!  The most distinctive dress at Henley will be a cerise pink cap and tie:  this is the dress of the Leander Club, an almost exclusive body comprising those who have rendered special service to rowing.

A popular event in the corporate entertainment calendar, Henley is very male, very English and very charming.

The English Manner (www.theenglishmanner.com) are always happy to advise event-goers on dress or protocol. Please feel free to contact us for advice.

William Hanson & Alexandra Messervy
The English Manner

The Championships, Wimbledon

Nadal in green.

Nadal in green.

Also known as ‘The Championships’, Wimbledon is arguably the most prestigious tennis event in the world and has been held in the London suburb of Wimbledon since 1877. Unlike most professional tennis competitions, it is held on grass courts.

This year the two-week event starts on the 22nd June and is one of the only sporting tournaments to enforce a strict dress code on players. In the past, convention had dictated that white was the order of the fortnight and it was strictly enforced, however there are some hints of colour (notably in stripes) creeping back into the kits. When current champion Rafael Nadal first played the competition in 2005 he was famous for tight fitting colourful tops, but Wimbledon regulators suggested that he switch to white equivalents instead. Players’ clothing designs have to be submitted months in advance to get officials’ approval.

Although there are no hard-and-fast rules for spectators (they need not wear all white) it is generally acknowledged that Wimbledon is an ‘occasion’ and should be treated like such and so smarter dress is worn. This said, it is the beginning of summer and so one can see a lot of loose-fitting materials, cottons and linen being sported in the stands.

For first-timers, it is important to know that you cannot leave or take your seats whilst a game is in play (a game consists of anything from five to seven). Wardens control the spectator entrances and exits and sometimes you can wait anything up to fifteen minutes before the game is completed.

This year, we find a Briton in the top 8 tennis player rankings (Andy Murray), to which we offer him our congratulations, however, despite this rare glimmer if British sporting success, we would suggest that spectators do not make a song and dance about this: flag waving and nice cheering (not during actual, play, mind you) is preferred – there’s no need to go overboard.

An umbrella, although cumbersome, is always a smart move as it wouldn’t be Wimbledon without rain.

If you are in a tennis apparel quandary and would like advice or help, please contact us through our website. (www.theenglishmanner.com)

William Hanson
Tutor, The English Manner



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