How to dress for summer sporting events in unpredictable weather

How to dress for summer sporting events in unpredictable weather

From cricket matches to tennis tournaments, British summer sports evoke scenes of sunshine, Pimm’s and strawberries and cream. Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t always play ball.

With Wimbledon introducing a second roof in 2013 – finishing the construction of No. 1 Court’s cover in 2019 – to pre-empt all weather eventualities, it seems attendees must be as adaptive in their fashion as event organisers.

Wimbledon has some wet weather in store for spectators this year (Zac Goodwin/PA)

From brollies to boots – here are five essentials to incorporate when dressing for summer sporting events.

1. A wide-brimmed hat

The faff of umbrellas are often more hassle than they’re worth at crowded summer events. You’re also left with the conundrum of where to stick the dripping wet brolly – usually having to put it between your legs for the day’s proceedings.

Celebs such as Emma Watson often don a neutral hat to finish their look (Alamy/PA)Ladies Finals Day, Day 12 Wimbledon Tennis The Championships, Wimbledon, London, on July 14, 2018. Credit: Paul Marriott/Alamy Live News

The versatility of a wide-brimmed hat should not be overlooked. Not only is it often required within dress codes – such as the Henley Royal Sailing Regatta – but it is a great way to keep both sun and rain out of your face while protecting your hair. Smarter, more country-chic options, such as felt fedoras for the races come with a water-resistant coating, making them the perfect all-weather accessory.

(Oliver Bonas/PA)

Oliver Bonas Black & White Bow Fedora Hat, £28

2. Waterproof can be chic

When we think of waterproof layers, technical anoraks and practical wellingtons spring to mind. Fortunately, Britain’s designers have taken cue from the weather and have developed fashionable attire that is both stylish and practical.

The late Princess of Wales often sported a trench in tumultuous conditions (Alamy/PA)

A lightweight waterproof is an essential to throw over any look. Opting for a Scandinavian-inspired trench is a great way to stay dry while staying chic and coordinated. Ensuring the trench is full-length is essential for keeping your whole outfit spot-free.


Next Rubber Trench Coat, £643. Avoid denim at all costs

Not only do most sporting events carry a strict dress code prohibiting jeans or denim shorts, one thing worse than the humid summer rain itself is experiencing it in tight, damp jeans.

Sienna Miller wore a denim-coloured linen suit for Wimbledon, 2023 (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Instead, opt for a darker lightweight trouser that won’t go see-through or show mud-splattered marks from the event grounds. Linen is the perfect versatile fabric, as it absorbs moisture better than other fabrics (even cotton) and dries quickly, keeping you cool.


Principles Front Tie Shirt Midi Dress, £65, Debenhams4. Don’t limit the layers

Summer rain usually comes with mugginess and humidity, but chilly gusts of wind often follow a rainstorm. Packing lightweight layers that are easy to strip off is essential for a full day outside.

Layers with zips, buttons or fastenings are the best option to avoid the fuss of bulky jumpers and sweatshirts – but they are also often smarter. Thin cable knits slung over your shoulders offer an extra bit of warmth and a stylish nonchalance.

(Ralph Lauren/PA)

Ralph Lauren Cable-Knit Cotton Cardigan – Pink Opal, £85 (was £169)

5. Sensible shoes

By this, we don’t necessarily mean wellington boots at Wimbledon, but reaching for a closed toe is often the way forward. Nobody wants soggy socks, which is why splash-proof materials are a must to prevent water seeping into the seams.

Sophie, The Duchess of Edinburgh, paired boots with a smart dress at the horse races last year (Alamy/PA)

Smart boots or leather slingbacks are great options for withstanding any wet weather while keeping your look smart and stylish. If the dress code is a little more laid-back – opting for an all-white leather trainer is a great choice to pair with a smart dress or two-piece.

(& Other Stories/PA)

& Other Stories Leather Ankle Boots – Brown, £145