You might think it harsh, as Afghanistan falls to the religious fundamentalist Taliban, that they force women to wear what they are told to but is England much different? Has England ever been much better? In the middle ages the sumptuary laws were brought in to keep people in check.
England took the lead in restricting the extravagance displayed publicly in dressing. To that end, a number of monarchs passed sumptuary laws aiming to prohibit the use of expensive items and clothing. They were meant to maintain a certain sense of social distinction between hereditary nobility and those who had acquired wealth but were not a part of the nobility. English monarchs, from Edward III to Elizabeth I, promulgated detailed laws governing the quality, colour, fabric and type of clothing for each sex.
Women can now wear trousers at the Henley Royal Regatta everywhere after it changed its “draconian” dress code.
Previously women could only wear a dress or skirt with a hemline below the knee to gain access to the Steward’s Enclosure at the annual event in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.
For the first time in decades women can now wear trousers and trouser suits.
Regatta chairman Sir Steve Redgrave said organisers believed women should wear trousers if they wished to.
It comes after a petition last year by a University of Oxford rower who called the dress code “draconian”.
Sir Steve said the dress code at the Steward’s Enclosure was only adopted in the late 1970s.
“We felt with the introduction of all the new events for females, if they would like to wear trousers, they should be allowed to wear trousers,” he said.
“Within investitures they now allow trousers as well, so we’ve eased our dress code for that same sort of reason.”
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The Steward’s Enclosure is only open to stewards who organise the regatta, members – who can reportedly wait years to be given membership – and their guests.
It is described by one rowing website as the “equivalent of the Royal Enclosure at Ascot”, and has the best view of the finish line.
Men are required to wear lounge suits, or jackets, or blazers with trousers, together with a tie or a cravat.
Izzie Mayhew-Smith, who was wearing trousers to the Steward’s Enclosure, said: “It was a lot easier to find something to wear in my wardrobe, and I think it’s good because men can wear trousers so we should be able to as well.
“The regatta becoming more modernised will maybe encourage more people to come and it’s not just something for older people that’s old fashioned.”
Lucy O’Neill added: “Trousers are just more comfortable personally and it’s easier to walk around and sit down, so I’ve enjoyed wearing my trousers today.”
In previous years women could only wear trousers in the Regatta Enclosure – which did not have a formal dress code.
A trouser ban remains for women at some private member clubs alongside the river where spectators watch the regatta from.
The petition last year calling for changes to the dress code attracted nearly 1,700 signatures.
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