Published on July 11th, 2014 | by Editor
The Chap Olympiad 2014: Everything you need to know
It was that time of year again, time to pull out the hacking jacket and plus fours and roister your way through a wonderfully bizarre day of raucous antics! Moustaches needed to be waxed; sports cars revved into life and girls everywhere were preparing themselves for a broken heart. It has been the weekend of ‘the chap’, for he who must rise above the competition and compete for glory in ‘The Chap Olympiad’.
The first Chap Olympiad came to Bloomsbury London in 2005, and ever since the annual event has been a hive for eccentric moustache twirling, tweed wearing fellows to embrace their inner chap. The event is now back by popular demand for a 10th consecutive year!
This year’s events included the Tug of Hair, the Bounder Hunt, Briefcase Phalanx, Wet Gloves, Ferrero Rocher Lever, Cucumber Sandwich Discus, Umbrella Jousting, the rumbustious and crowd pleasing Ironing Board Surfing and our personal favourite and so inherently British, Not Playing Tennis, which had us all in stitches. Fancy dress was proactively encouraged and refreshments such as sandwiches, a hog roast, tea and cakes are served all day. A huge amount of alcohol was also consumed, and additional entertainment in the form of piano players and quartets also helped to create the perfect atmosphere.
Pictures of the full event can be downloaded from our Flickr account.
What a weekend! No event could come off as eccentric and British as the Chap Olympics. People from every corner, be that Liverpool, Europe and even as far as America had made an effort to get dressed up and partake in the days animated events. The weather was on side, the mood was high and the ‘good time’ atmosphere was infectious. It’s incredible to see the lengths everybody goes to with their outfits, hair, makeup and even mannerisms with many men bowing or raising their hat as you walk by. The day’s entertainment didn’t fall flat on its face, even if a few contestants did. With such classic British sporting events as ‘Tug of Hair’ and ‘Briefcase Phalanx’ being complimented by the witty, dry humour of the Master of Ceremonies Tristan Langlois, it’s safe to say you would be hard pushed to find a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon and apparently we aren’t the only ones who think so. A crowd of over 1500 graced the event and although everyone looked amazing, and we found our best dressed favourites to discover a little more about why such an unusual event is so popular.
We absolutely loved Fernando’s custom stitched and designed yellow waistcoat and trousers which he had especially made for the event. He was in England for the week and travelled all the way from Liverpool on his friend’s recommendation. When asked what he was enjoying most about the day he stated “Pimms and the eccentrically British games”, good choices!
Kezia drew our attention from the beginning of the event, easily having the most creative and innovative hair at the Chap Olympics. This was a huge achievement, especially considering the amount of effort all the ladies had gone to. But who could compete with a Moustache hair style? Kezia has been coming to the event for two years while her husband, ‘Mr Wax’, who we are also featuring, has been coming for 5 years. After talking to the lovely Kezia she disclosed the fact she actually designs her own vintage and theatrical head pieces, which in our opinion are beautifully crafted pieces of art. You can see for yourself at www.kezia-argue.com. Oh, and her favourite part of the day? “Hanging around with beautiful people, drinking gin and appreciating the eye candy at the event”.
Zack Pinsent, University of Kingston, London
Zack’s bright, colourful and unique attire caught our attention immediately, but for Zack this wasn’t a day to play fancy dress. In fact, he shared with us that he dressed this way every day. Zack’s style is as inspired as it is unique for everything he wears he skilfully makes himself. His passion for vintage clothing was undeniable and that enthusiasm flowed over when competing in the events where he successfully won ‘Not Playing Tennis’. (Of course, this is something which most professional British tennis players manage exceptionally well during the Wimbledon fortnight).
Despite only being 18 he writes regularly for the Chap Magazine and is also currently studying History of Art at the University of Kingston.
Sarah Brown, Brighton
Sarah is an active part of the Chap Olympics, having helped to organise the events and always taking part in the many games on offer. Sarah was dressed perfectly from head to toe in a beautiful outfit, with vintage hair and make-up, giving her that overall glamorous look. She loves coming to the event because it brings people together and introduces her to individuals who she would never meet otherwise. She is also a fan of the ‘anything goes’ philosophy of the games, as this always encourages a day of fun. So what, may you ask, is Sarah’s favourite game? The cucumber sandwich discus.
Mikhail Korausch, London
(Winner of best Moustache)
You couldn’t miss Mikhail if you were at this year’s event. Looking incredibly dashing and fantastically accessorised in a bold two piece tailored orange suit we enquired to find out his secret. Turns out he’s not only an enthusiast for this style of dressing in his day to day life but he is actually founder and creative director of his own unique and innovative bowtie company, La Bowtique.
Mikhail loves and is an essential part of the Chap Community and has attended this particular event three times, enjoying seeing friends and meeting new people.
Dawn Parsonage, Kent
It wasn’t just Dawn’s incredible outfit that we noticed but it was her infectious personality and beautiful smile too. She told us she would love to dress like this regularly but it is definitely much easier for men than women as the hair and makeup can take hours. Her outfit is from Etsy and a few pieces are from her mother in law who loves to buy her vintage clothing.
Dawn always comes with her husband, who also looked amazing and generally embraces the Chap style in his day to day life. She loves the fact that you find so many different people at the event, not just from the vintage community but alternatives or introverts who find this a comforting place to be.
Dawn used to work in television but now has her own production company. In her free time she also has her own online shop www.tallyhooxford.com where she indulges her hobby collecting vintage found photography, in addition to alternative crockery in vintage or Byron designs. Her favourite event? The Briefcase Phalanx.
‘Mr Wax’, Creater of Bounder Moustache Wax
Mr Wax, husband of Kezia, has been coming practically every year and is an integral part of the Chap community. He definitely looked the part in his knitted tie, panama hat and that mesmerising moustache. He always ends up competing and loves that everyone gets involved in having a laugh at the British and themselves. Even with the controversial ‘Shout at the Foreigners’, ultimately it’s a poke at all the British stereotypes. He finds it important to have people who understand this humour and predominantly believes ‘It is the crowd that makes the event.’
The Essential ‘Chap’ Guide
When the Chap Olympiad dawns upon us, we at Chillisauce begin gearing up for a day and night of frivolous activities, debauchery and sartorial splendour. Before you attend, however, here are the essential do’s and don’ts to ensure ultimate chap status!
Shaving can pose a minefield of potential problems for the uninitiated so here’s how to keep that facial fuzz in order.
DO: The Moustache. The more eccentric the better, but a simple paintbrush style would more than suffice. To keep yours looking its best, ‘Bounder Extra Firm Moustache Wax’ is handmade in London and comes highly recommended within the Chap community. Not only are they regulars at the event, they are also sponsoring The British Beard and Moustache Championships in September. So, not only will it look great on the bathroom shelf, you can also be confident that even your most daring style will hold perfectly in place all day.
Buy a decent shaving brush, preferably with badger’s hair. Using this with a decent cream will create a beautifully rich and creamy lather that will create the perfect shaving platform. You should also invest in a cut-throat razor. Yes the name is slightly unfavourable, but as traditional chaps, it is imperative we learn to wield this tool.
DON’T: Buy a bag of Bic razors or your face will feel like an itchy Victorian carpet.
Your barnett needs to withstand the rigours of daily activity including the heat and the daily drumming’s of life under a hat. At some point your lusty main may be revealed, possibly upon introduction to a chapette. At such moments your hair should be slick, smooth and refreshingly buoyant for which poor products shall do no justice.
DO: Use a less oil based product such as American Crew Pomade to maximise that shine result without looking like a heap of Vaseline has been upturned upon your head.
DON’T: Use cheap oil based products. The old adage, a little goes a long way should not be taken lightly. To avoid looking like a dodgy second hand car salesman, use a quality brush or comb.
Yes you may be dressed head-to-toe in elegant attire, acquitted with some fine gentlemen accessories, but none of this will matter when we catch a whiff of your smelly armpits. Sorry old sport, but smelling like a damp sock doesn’t cut the metaphorical mustard with us. But fear not, here is how to save your nostrils and your dignity.
DO: Wear a manly scent, something that rekindles a feeling of manliness, like solving a crossword or rescuing your neighbour’s cat from a tree. Possible scents to look for but not exclusive too could contain notes of wood, leather, spice and citrus.
DON’T: Wear deodorant as a cologne alternative, unless you want to resemble a prepubescent teenager.
Your hat speaks volumes about you as a chap. It is the focal point for many outfits sitting proudly aloft your forehead so make sure it’s a good one.
DO: Wear a Panama hat such as this one from Goorin Bros. This simple design is elegant, sophisticated and proudly represents the greatness of all chaps. Similarly, wear a Fedora. This is a highly acceptable alternative as long as it isn’t in a garish colour scheme. A top quality Milliner can help you with correct sizes too.
DON’T: Wear a ‘snapback’. We are chaps not chumps…old sport.
The Bow Tie
These are a must to be accepted in any chap social circle, so do not underestimate the value of a good bow-tie!
DO: Get as creative as possible with colours, patterns and textures. Chap Olympiad regular Mikhail Korausch is a connoisseur of the bow tie and founder/creative director at la Bowtique. Using the finest silks, each bowtie is handmade in France and carefully constructed to your requirements. If you want to really stand out from the Chap crowd then have a look at their bespoke service where you can source your own fabric and showcase something truly special.
DON’T: Show up with your collar button undone and expect to be welcomed. The only time this is acceptable is if you are wearing a cravat, in which case, bravo good sir.
Potentially a daunting prospect, but with a bit of style inspiration and guidance you will be pulling it off in no time.
DO: Check out Anderson & Sheppard. They are fantastic for inspiring the perfect Chap style and for allowing ideas to flow. You can also check out Henry Poole & Co for a bolder statement or Age Of Reason for a more modern punk twist.
DON’T: Get the toilet paper out and start thinking no one will notice. The only time anyone will approach you is when they have run out in the bathrooms.
When it comes to demonstrating your sartorial prowess, thick lapels are a must and any cut considered contemporary or skinny is utter codswallop and best left to underdeveloped boys. Needless to say you should accompany your garments with a few well-chosen accessories, starting with a Blighty staple – the umbrella.
DO: Venture on to Mr. Porter.com and peruse a fine selection of elegant pieces. We’d recommend a classic shape, with a curved handle, preferably made of aged wood.
DON’T: Buy an extendable umbrella, this act shall be the basis of all ridicule and gentlemen relish jokes for the rest of your soiree.
DO: Buy something with a bit of depth, subtle hints of juniper berries and rosemary. Look around for other unique and intriguing flavours to indulge your sophisticated gentlemanly palette such as Sipsmith Gin or perhaps a celebratory Plymouth gin. For something a bit more risqué, further afield you may find the likes of Herno or Elephant Gin. If Gin doesn’t wet your whistle you could also consider Cognac Remy Martin or Whiskey Gentleman’s Jack, preferably on the rocks. For cocktails order a Rusty Nail or a Whiskey Manhattan and if you reach for a beer make sure it’s imported and in a tall, ice cold glass.
DON’T: Order anything with “tini” on the end. Unless you want to raise a few eyebrows.
DO: If you want to make sure you’re catching the ladies attention a pipe will catapult you to the top of their interest. Not only will you look mysterious and dashing but it will add an air of sophistication as well. Of course the pipe is just a fantastic prop, but if you really want to get in to it, Carey’s have posted a beginners guide to get you started.
DON’T: Pull out a packet of Lambert & Butler. Just don’t.
Sometimes it can be difficult to mingle with your fellow chaps and chapettes so we propose a few simple rules to tackle the discerning task of communication. To begin with, use “old sport” at the end of every other sentence. You understand old sport? Now stop imagining you’re the next Gatsby and move on to the next step. Next? Learn about rugby and cricket old sport. A G&T and discussion about the inevitability of English rugby dominance is one of the most splendid subjects to grace this earth.
Robert Redford, Gregory Peck, Frank Sinatra, Winston Churchill, Michael Caine – these are fine chaps and men of class, learn the etiquette chaps, learn it all and soak it up like the summer sun.
The Chap Etiquette
1. Shout “For the Queen” when raising a glass.
2. Complement each other’s choice of tweed over afternoon tea.
3. Refuse to accept incorrect pronunciations of the English Language from foreigners.
4. Do offer to buy your lady friend a glass of G&T.
5. Don’t wear the same pair of slacks two days in a row.
6. If insulted, do challenge your rival to an umbrella joust.
What is it exactly that makes a chap a chap?
We asked several top journalists and writers exactly what they thought, and they provided some rather interesting answers… and this is what the community thinks!
Gustav Temple. Editor of The Chap
THE CHAP LIFESTYLE
Chaps adopt the clothes, mannerisms and lifestyle of an English gentleman of the 1940s, transplanting them into the modern world and jettisoning the elements that do not appeal to them, such a blood sports, bigotry and jingoism.
A Chap’s daily routine is all centred around ritual, which begins in the dressing room after a hearty breakfast of devilled kidneys and lapsang souchong. He will select an appropriate wardrobe for the weather and the occasion. In cooler times this will involve lots of tweed, preferably vintage tweed which has seen a bit of life and is not too pristine looking. He will mix up patterns and colours to create an effect that is sensational and dandiacal rather than emulating an ordinary country squire. In warmer weather the palette will include lighter fabrics such as linen and flannel, or a boating blazer if he’s feeling a bit racy. A Chap will never leave the house without a titfer planted on his head: trilbies and baker-boy hats for the winter and panamas or straw boaters for the summer.
The Chap rarely leaves his rooms before midday, having spent considerable time on his outfit, including shoe polishing, hat brushing and an extensive wet shave, with application of wax to his moustache. He will devote the early afternoon in search of more clothes: a visit to his tailor, if he has one, to discuss trouser turn-ups or waistcoat pockets. The more impecunious Chaps will scour their local vintage or charity shops in search of any item of menswear made before 1956.
To kill more time before the cocktail hour – the social hub of a Chap’s day – he may enter a tobacconist to see whether they still have a stock of the old version of Dunhill’s Early Morning Mixture, a find that will make him the envy of his fellow chaps. Cocktails will be taken with chums at five pm sharp, in an establishment with old-world charm and a debonair clientele – so not the Ritz or All bar One.
A Chap will only visit a festival if he is likely to be among fellow Chaps and Chapettes. So Vintage at the South Bank or Goodwood Revival rather than Glastonbury. Some Chaps like to dance, but only if the band is a full swing orchestra as opposed to Beyonce or U2. The principal festival activity that a Chap will avoid is sleeping under canvas, preferring to take a room at a village hostelry and motor up to the festival site every day in his Morris Minor.
Chaps don’t mind being openly acknowledged by passers-by, most of whom generally have favourable comments to make about their apparel. They will, however, avoid pubs broadcasting association football, as the endless questions about whether the moustache is real or whether they are “in a play” can prove rather wearying. The cocktail selection is usually appalling as well.
When it comes to the ladies, Chaps are more hot-blooded than they may appear and, unless they are already accompanied by their ‘best girl’ – to whom they will extend every courtesy for the entire evening – they may be tempted to put their considerable seduction rituals into play, but only if they feel they have found their counterpart – the Chapette.
Chapettes adopt an equivalent female version of the Chap wardrobe – tweed skirt suits, gloves and fascinators in the winter; light 1940s tea dresses and straw hats in the summer. Both outfits always include seamed stockings. A Chapette’s day is very similar to a Chap’s, except that she might forgo the devilled kidneys in favour of something easier on the figure such as kedgeree, or even just a glass of vintage champagne for breakfast.
Will Hide. Travel writer for the Guardian FT Times Indie Express & mags inc BA HighLife.
A chap is someone who will defend the game of cricket against the taunts of a bombastic American even though he has no idea how many people are in a team, what the rules are, and last played in school when he was 14. And doesn’t put ice in his cider — beentheredone.it
Cheeky smile, braces, cap ata jaunty angle, dungarees, accent, tousled hair, wolf whistles, a saucy swagger, pints at the pub, tall stories, waistcoat, riding a bike
Peter G Just
Boater hat and boring black brollie — not a match
Clean shaven with dali mustache, striped tweed blazer to fetch, high water trousers revealing, black and white diamond-pattern socks. Bulldog nose; Suede shoes and a stiff upper lip-oh the pox; though the unhealthy cigarette holder is not a catch!
Chivalrous, crumpets, cigars, tea, debonair, tall, dark&handsome, wingtips, polite, mustache, top hat
Harris tweed, top hat, brogue shoes, 3-piece suits, ticket pocket, well groomed, well-mannered
Barber jacket, moustache, pocket watch, tweed, ebony walking stick, prince of Wales, check, argyle socks, debonair, silk hanky
Barber jacket, mustache, pocket watch, tweed, ebony walking stick, prince of Wales, check, argyle socks, debonair, silk hanky
Hat trilby pipe, corduroy trousers, facial hair, turn ups, tweed, accessories, smart shoes
Kimberly Smith, Lifestyle journalist at Yahoo!. Editor of Tittat.co.uk.
“I think associate chaps with toffs/upper class idiots to be honest. I see them in tweed with posh accents”
Laura Porter. London based travel writer and Visit Britain Super Blogger @About London
“Smartly dressed in traditional tweeds and hark back to earlier times where chivalry and a stiff upper lip were vital to our daily lives. Think Jeeves & Wooster and you’ll be along the right lines. Always striving to keep up standards while getting sloshed on G&Ts”
Franco Milazzo. Editor of ThisIsCabaret.com
“Having seen the coves at close range, I would guess that a chap is a combination of etiquette, fine dining and an appreciation of the essentials in life, like tweed, cigars and cheap labour.”
“The best chap is one whose deeds match his words and who evinces honesty, caring, integrity, wit, and a good sense of humour. Good taste in clothes, cars, shoes, etc. is great but hardly sufficient. You can dress up a pig and put it in a Bentley, but it still oinks and stinks. And it ruins the Connolly leather!”
Christopher Bruce Sabine
“A scholarly, chivalrous gentleman who’s always a good sport, and never makes anyone feel ashamed. A chap has impeccable taste in food, wine, and company. He often has good posture, and neatly fitted clothes in the peak of current fashions. Respectfully attends all parties and benefit functions without conducting himself lewdly.”
“Definitely an upper class word, but a friendly descriptive word usually used for friends or colleagues. In other words it’s less about what the individual does or wears, but rather how that individual personally relates to you.”
The text cloud below is generated from all your answers. Don’t forget to vote for your favourite answer and the winner will get a surprise gift from us.
Chap Olympiad Text Cloud
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The Chap Olympiad is a celebration of British buffoonery, and the kind of vintage style and elegance that has not been seen since the 1920’s. With ‘Lad’ culture now well and truly integrated into today’s society, the Chap Olympiad is the perfect opportunity for these wannabes to be shown exactly what it means to be an old school English gent. It seems anything from the ‘118 118’ men to Prince Charles, but more likely a cross between the Monopoly man and Sir Digby Chicken Caesar…but perhaps with slightly more charm and far better manners. Tickets are now on sale, and the fun and games commence at 12 noon on Saturday 12th July, 2014! So trim your paintbrush moustache, break out your finest umbrella and head down to Bloomsbury, London for an event of such sporting magnitude that it will make the 2012 Olympics look like a village sports day!
If you fancy sending in your picture and getting featured here, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!
Big ‘Thank You’ to everyone who has participated in this blog post to make it fun and interesting, with special thanks to:
Gustav Temple. Editor of The Chap
Will Hide. Travel writer for Guardian. Visit his blog Beentheredone.it
Kimberly Smith. Editor of Tittat
Laura Porter. London-based travel writer GoLodon
Franco Milazzo. Editor of ThisIsCabaret