The Chap Olympiad: The Home of Sartorial Prowess

Oh my gosh, what is this? A fashion post! I bet you guys had thought I was all video games and nerd stuff now, well do not fret! I am still going to be talking about all things fashion and all things gender, I just felt that I needed to open up the spectrum (haha) of what I was posting on this site a little more. Hence the name change, and the current work in progress to the look of the blog. It’s getting there, slowly but surely.

Anyway! Today’s new post is about fashion, more specifically about the amazing show of sartorial elegance that is The Chap Olympiad. Pretty sure I have talked about this event before but I love it and my look this year was killer (as was everyone else’s) so I’m going to jump right on in and give you a little play by play of the Olympiad as a whole. And who knows, maybe some of you will even fancy going to it next year!

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A spot of ironing board surfing?

In brief The Chap Olympiad is the best village fete you will ever go to. Imagine all those idyllic scenes from Wodehouse, Christie (before someone gets brutally murdered), and the like, that are all about the jolly summer fete that has been set out on the green. The village out in their finery, laughing gayly at the jollities around them; now throw in a ridiculous school sports day and enough booze to drown a rugby team and all their supporters (and trust me, I’ve worked on a rugby club bar, that’s a lot) and you get The Olympiad.

Having run for over a decade – I think? I’m really not old enough to know these things and the internet is failing me horribly – The Olympiad provides a brief repose from the hustle, bustle and general unnecessary bad taste of modern day life and opens up a little slice of eccentric pie to excite the mind and refresh the body. I mentioned before that it falls into the realm of the school sports day, please do not fear, this is not the awful days of being made to run up and down a field by a man in too tight shorts and smoking a foul smelling cigarette – I went to the local comp and yes, it was like prison – instead the Olympiad provides all and any of the most wacky sports you can imagine. Some of which are rather questionably dangerous. But why live life without a little excitement, eh?

You can see, and compete, in everything from tea carrying races, to the bowler hat toss (ala Jaws in the James Bond films), pipe smoking (I told you it was bad for your health, didn’t I) and ironing board surfing.

The favourite, and most infamous, of all these games though is the Bicycle joust. Imagine if you will a businessperson on their Sadiq Cycle, umbrella in one hand and briefcase in the other, now add an equally adorned rider coming towards them. At speed. Charging. One must defend from the point of the others umbrella with their own briefcase for fear of being unseated from their wheeled steed. Surround them with a cheering, goading and generally violence encouraging  crowd and you have bicycle jousting. Not a sport for the faint of heart, but definitely worth a try.

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That is how you lose an eye my friend!

Now of course, it isn’t all risking life and limb, no the majority of Olympiad goers are there for the sartorial day out. Dressed to the nines and tens and elevens if I’m at all honest and clutching their beloved G&Ts in hand. While, obviously, I felt my own outfit was really rather special – more on that further down – the Chaps of the Olympiad always bring their A game.

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Telombre and Lady Eccentrick photographed by Soul Stealer Photography

There is no wrong way of being Chap either, everyone can put their own mark, and bring their own unique style to the party as it were. The only rule is to be well dressed – no untucked shirts or open collars here, unless you have a cravate.

Some take it upon themselves to create the most outlandish outfits, all vying for the coveted trophy of best dressed man or woman – we are still working on reconstructing the binary centric ideas here – and see the fashion itself as the competitive event rather than the games.

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Mairon Oakley photographed by Soul Stealer Photography, proving that dandy knows no time frame.

But at the end of the day everyone’s a winner, getting to witness the peacocking of these excellent humans. After all, isn’t that what all of us really want to do; drink and look good doing it? And this what the Olympiad provides, by most outlandishly combining all the pleasures of a picnic in the park with a night on the Oscars red carpet.

And this is why I love it. I wish I could go to more vintage events, but at the moment I simply cannot afford to jump on a train each weekend (especially when I’m working most of those weekends! And all the other hours my little brain can take on top of that). So I content myself with one big blow out. I get to drag my friends into a little slice of the world I love, and very rarely get to see myself at the moment, and dress my absolute best.

This year, I actually found time to design and make myself a full look, and I am very proud of it I must say. As regular readers of my blog will know, I love video games, and so this year I themed my outfit around one my most favourite games ever, Bioshock Infinite, bringing a hint of Lutece-ian sass to proceedings.

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Science and Style; the Lutece way

For those who don’t know, the Lutece Twins, Rosilin and Robert, are two brilliant but baffling scientists who have created Columbia, a city in the sky. They spend their time riddling with and vaguely guiding you through the game, while looking utterly excellent while doing so.

I based my look on them, with a summer twist.

The boating blazer I made myself in four days (something I am very pleased about I must say), as well as the waistcoat, brooch, watch chain and hat band. Paired with the high-waisted white slacks and the orange tie to make the whole thing pop, well, it just goes WOW even if I do say so myself. And I do. So there.

The late Edwardian look is one of my favourites and so getting to finally wear an outfit like this was so much fun! And I will definitely be re-wearing this as soon as is humanly possible!

I think I will also be going for more nerdy themed vintage looks too There’s no reason why they can’t crossover, something I will be exploring a lot in my next piece on The Chap for those who read it. You’re in for some rather geek filled column inches, I’m sorry (I’m not, but I have to pretend like I’m a nice, grown up human who realises that other people aren’t as geeky as them).

Anyway! The Olympiad is most definitely one of the highlights of my year, especially since now comic cons have every much become work for me, this is a real chance to let my hair down…as much as that is possible with my hair I suppose. And actually I think it’s unfair to compare this event to anything like a convention, because it’s clearly so much more than any of those types of events. It strives for community at its heart and fun and frivolity as its core function. It is not here to scoop the money from the masses by dangling the things they love in front of them with the highest price tag they can get away with – Comic Con,  the home of capitalism at this point – but to create a space to share and share alike, with a nice cup of tea to wash it all down.

Gosh, I just love it.

You can now follow me on Instagram @lilistprince and on twitter @lilistprince. Links in the footer as well.

I will be posting looks on both of these, and chatting about life as a nonbinary person. Oh and Star Wars. And robots.

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‘Olly Out!

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Written by Holly Rose Swinyard

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