Published on July 6th, 2012 | by Adrian Simpson0
The Chap Olympiad: What Makes A Chap?
It’s nearly the weekend, time to pull out the hacking jacket and plus fours and roister your way through the next few days. Moustaches need to be waxed, sportscars gunned into life and girls everywhere should prepare themselves for a broken heart. For now is the weekend of ‘the chap’. The Chap Olympiad.
The first Chap Olympiad came to Bloomsbury London. Ever since the annual event has been a hive for eccentric moustache twirling, tweed wearing fellows to embrace their inner chap, and the event is back by popular demand for a first-ever two day event this weekend.
This year’s events include Raconteur’s relay, Butler Baiting, Swooning, Moving Hat Stand, The Pipeathlon, Shouting at Foreigners, Umbrella Jousting and the crowd pleasing Ironing Board Surfing.
Fancy dress is encouraged and refreshments such as sandwiches, a hog roast, tea and cakes will be served all day. Drinking (alcohol) is also encouraged and additional entertainment in the form of piano players and quartets will create the perfect atmosphere.
Sounds splendid, might ditch the kite in the lower field and scrum down for a game of mess rugby. Rather!
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.”
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.
If you’re a chap and have been looking for a haven of like minded people, or you’re not a chap but appreciate the ideals of chappery, then head down to London this weekend for
a ‘celebration of athletic ineptitude and immaculate trouser creases’.
Tickets are £20 per day or £30 for a weekend ticket and are available at Ticket Web or by calling 02076368228.
The Chap Olympiad commences on Saturday 7th July and Sunday 8th July from 12pm to 11pm, with the games starting at 1pm sharp!
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. 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!
Chap Olympiad Text Cloud
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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