This past weekend, Oxfordshire hosted something called the Henley Royal Regatta—“one of the quintessential British events of the summer season,” according to WWD. Apparently it’s quite an occasion and has happened annually since 1839. Consequently, old photos are an absolute treasure trove of bygone ladies’ fashions.

Boaters en route to the regatta, 1886. Lady, sit down in that boat or you’re gonna topple us all into the drink:

Here’s a colorized glimpse:

Hats! Harps! 1908:

Suffragettes taking advantage of the crowd to sell copies of The Suffragette, 1913. Isn’t anybody worried about wearing white to an event where you’re surrounded by grass and river water? But then presumably none of these ladies does her own laundry.

White again, but outfits are looking a little more free-form, 1914:

It’s 1929 and my God it’s bare arms! Oh the times! Oh the customs!

1936 got a little wild:

But 1949 was a calmer year.

And 1971 was just confused about what year it was, and whether they were in Oxfordshire or Little House on the Prairie.

The most important fact here is that there really aren’t enough occasions in life to wear sun hats trimmed with tropical fruits.


Contact the author at kelly@jezebel.com.

Photos via Getty/Hulton Archive, Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons.

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