The Hierarchy Of Blazers At Henley Royal

To be really honest I expected Tim Koch to come back to me with a reaction to my entry …And A Dress Faux Pas from yesterday, and he did. He writes that he had a busy weekend with coxing the Head of the River (400 boats) on Saturday and the Veterans’ Head of the River (200 boats) on Sunday. Tim writes “It’s the Boat Race next weekend, I will not be coxing(!) but I will be selling lots of beer.”

About my suggestion that he should start a ‘well dressed oarsmen and women blog’, he finds it “an interesting one, but I’m not sure there is enough material. Most of the world seems to want to dress like teenage skateboarders.” How true this is. My son is not there – yet. Last spring, when my family and I were visiting the ‘fancy’ children’s clothing store in Mystic, he got the idea that he wanted a tie. Very happily I agreed and allowed him to pick out one. He picked out a stylish yellow tie with dinosaurs which maybe would not be my first choice, but on the other hand he is only four…

Back to Tim, who, on the topic of my thoughts about the brown-coloured plaid jacket and the brown hat that a fellow is wearing in the ‘Henley picture’ from yesterday, states that, “The now inactive rowing blog, the Tideway Slug, holds that, as in most things in British rowing, there is a hierarchy of blazers at Henley Royal:

Senior International or Olympic

Under 23 and Junior International – only if the date on the pocket is less than 5 or more than 25 years ago

Oxford/Cambridge full rowing Blue

Leander Club

Top rowing club, university or school – usually means a club with recent Henley wins

Navy blue blazer but with tie representing any of the above

Oxford/Cambridge half rowing Blue

Other rowing school or university

Low performance rowing club

Plain navy blue with low performance club tie

Non-rowing related blazer with an embroidered pocket – if it’s not for rowing we’re not impressed

Any navy blue store brand with indiscriminate non-rowing tie.

Garishly coloured ‘fashion’ blazer

Anything in tweed

A Suit

and so far the Tideway Slug.”

Tim does not share my opinion about the plaid jacket at Henley Royal. “However, at the time the picture was produced (1930s?), the gentleman in the plaid jacket would not have stood out,” Tim notes. He quotes, Alan Flusser, who in his book Dressing The Man (Harper Collins, 2002) states: “The post-war obsession with sports and outdoor activities encouraged fashion experimentation…. By the latter part of the twenties, the (tweed shooting jacket), trimmed of its countrified detailing and worn with separate trousers in contrasting fabrics such as flannel or gabardine, became the ideal expression of casual elegance for competitors and spectators alike.”

“On British Pathé,” Tim writes “there is this short film of Henley in 1938 which shows several men in the everyday lounge suits and trilby hats of the time”:


Tim finished up today’s entry by saying that “In my last posting [on Friday 26 March] I was very rude about Americans wearing Tuxedos during the day. To be fair to our Transatlantic Cousins, U.S. school and university crews at Henley are usually amongst the smartest people attending. (Apart from their shoes – and baseball caps.) Also it must be admitted that (arguably) incorrect formality is better than not trying at all. Was it Woody Allen who said that, in California, ‘formal’ means long pants?”

Thank you Tim for yet another enjoyable entry!

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