The Chap Olympiad is always one of the high points in London’s vintage calendar. For those who have never been before it can be hard to describe, but essentially it is a sporting event for people who prefer laughter, dressing up, and carousing, over any pursuit of physical excellence.
The aim of each contest is never to win (perish the thought!), but more often than not, to come up with the most creative way of cheating. Events include Butler Baiting, Umbrella Jousting, Swooning, Hop Skip and a G&T, Gentleman’s Golf (played with walking sticks and bowler hats) and Moustache Tug of War. It is all very silly, very English, and not at all serious.
One of the most enjoyable parts of the day is seeing what competitors and spectators are wearing. What is nice is that everyone is so very different – some people come in military uniforms, some in Victorian gowns, some as sheiks, 50s rockers, 60s mods, in 20s tea dresses, 30s suits, and always a vast amount of tweed. This year we even had Queen Victoria and Mr Brown. It really doesn’t matter what you wear, but it is great that most people put so much thought and effort into their outfits (which is probably why the fake-moustache-and-plastic-bowler-hat-contingent annoys everyone so much. Make an effort guys!).
We even had our own celebrity this year, in the form of all-round nice guy Tony Robinson. You can see him looking dapper in a striped jacket and panama behind me in the photo above, while I pose like an oblivious moron. Luckily we did see him again later; having no shame I ran over to ask for his photo, and knowing my friend Charly was a huge fan dragged her in to have her pic taken with him. I consider that my good deed for the year.
There is a large gallery of photographs below, but if you want more you can also check the Chap Olympiad album on my Facebook page.
My outfit details: 1980s striped dress by Valentino, 1960s shoes, circa 1930s Japanese haori jacket, clear glass 1950s necklace, ethical teal glass modern necklace by Oxfam.