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What to wear to the Henley Royal Regatta

Debenhams girls at Henley Regatta

A couple of weeks ago I had the most amazing invite pop up in my email inbox: would I like to attend the Henley Royal Regatta with Debenhams and choose a dress for the occasion? Um, YES PLEASE.

I’ve never attended the Henley Regatta but my idea of it is that it’s a bit like Ascot, but with boats instead of horses. That assumption was pretty spot on. As such, it requires a certain dress code. Luckily Debenhams was on hand to help.

I was given the opportunity to go into Debenhams (my nearest one is on Oxford Street) and choose a dress for the occasion.

What to wear to the Henley Royal Regatta

The dress code at Henley Regatta is quite strict in terms of length – it must be just on the knee or below so a short dress was out. Hats and fascinators are also really popular, however I chose not to wear one, which I instantly regretted when I saw how lovely they look on some of the other bloggers!

It was really hot that week so I wanted a dress that would be cool but also appropriate. I absolutely love polka dots, which seem to be quite fashionable at the moment, and I love frills so when I spotted this gorgeous Oasis dress I knew it was ‘the one’.

Polka dot dress from Oasis

I also love wrap dresses – although this isn’t one, it looks like a wrap dress which was a bonus. It was super comfortable too as it has an elasticated waist. I paired the dress with my Swedish Hasbeens as they have a big, solid heel. I had actually bought some gorgeous shoes from Debenhams but they had a thin heel and I read after that wearing thin heels isn’t advised as you’re on grass. Oops.

Red Polka dot Oasis dress from Debenhams

It was important to me that the dress was flattering too as I’d recently come back from Taormina in Italy where a lot of pasta and gelato had been consumed! Not to mention Prosecco…

I’m also a sucker for frills and this dress didn’t disappoint in that department. It has a little fastener by the bust so that the dress stays in place – no lady wants to flash!

Frill detail in Oasis dress from Debenhams

We were treated to Riverside Enclosure tickets, which was near the race starting line so we had a great view of the races. We also had a delicious four course lunch with afternoon tea later in the day and did I mention the Michael Bublè tribute act?

The River Enclosure at Henley Regatta

The enclosure felt a bit like being at a summer wedding. How beautiful are the table flowers?

Debenhams table at Henley Regatta

The main of herb-crusted rack of lamb with Jerusalem artichoke purèe, vegetables and dauphinoise potatoes was absolutely delicious. It was perfectly pink too, which is no mean feat when you’re catering for over 100 people.

Lamb main at Henley Regatta

Lunch was fabulous and then to top it off, there was afternoon tea later in the day. A girl can’t have enough cake!

Cake at Henley Regatta

Henley Regatta is not only an historic event – it was first held in 1839 and has been held annually ever since, apart from during the two World Wars – it’s truly British. It attracts hundreds of thousands of people from around the world over the five days that it’s on. As well as the enclosures, you can just buy entry tickets and set up chairs wherever you like, as this couple did.

Henley Regatta spectators

I am delighted and thankful to Debenhams for giving me the opportunity to attend, and to buy a gorgeous dress for the occasion! Look at how absolutely stunning everyone looked.

All the ladies looked gorgeous but my ‘wow I wish I’d worn that’ dresses were the stunning Matthew Williamson for Debenhams, worn by Monalisa (5th from right) and the Jakarta dress by Debut at Debenhams, worn by Hannah Stratford-Taylor, far left.

Debenhams girls at Henley Regatta

If you have a special event or occasion coming up and fancy any of these gorgeous dresses, take a look at Debenhams online or pop into your nearest store and talk to one of their stylists.

Huge thanks again to Debenhams for a truly magical day.

This blogpost is part of a Debenhams dresses campaign.

Kirsty Marrins

Reader, writer, occasional runner, travel lover.



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