Saturday, 13 August 2011

Chap Olympiad - one month on

I'm finally here with my report of the Chap Olympiad. Unfortunately none of the pictures from the disposable camera worked terribly well so I'll just have to describe what my friend and I wore...

I wore a floral dress from Beyond Retro - it's the kind of dress your mother loves and your boyfriend hates.  The Cat calls it my granny dress.  But I think it's so pretty, all floral and floaty.  I have the perfect slip to go under it which feels as though it was made for the dress because the colour is a deep red that picks up one of the colours of the flowers.  So if my skirt blows up in the breeze, my outfit and my dignity do not suffer. 

I also wore my trusty, perfectly fitted, go-to, dark gray wool jacket which I've worn before in an outfit post here.  I adorned it with a brooch which I bought off ebay when I was having a brooch-buying frenzy due to a perceived unforgivable gap in my jewellery collection.  It's a sweet sprig of leaves with deep berries.  Seamed tights and heeled brogues finished off the look.  

My friend's dress was a pretty little monochrome number from somewhere online (though I can't remember where) which she coupled with saddle shoes.  She'd been living out of a suitcase for almost a month at this point as she was visiting London from abroad - so to look as smashing as she did was a mighty achievement!  She'd been hoping to go shopping for a vintage dress for the occasion but had been up visiting relatives in remote parts of Scotland the week previous so didn't get the chance...

But enough of my vanity project, describing our outfits.  While I'm on the topic of the Chap Olympiad, I may as well write a little something about the day itself, despite it being hardly fresh and news-worthy by now.  In fact, the best little summary of the day can probably be found with the instigators of the day's event - over at The Chap's website.  In the picture accompanying the article, you can see my companion gasping at the excitement of the spectacle in the audience in the background - I am beside her but obscured by the legs of the "shop counter".

All the same, I'd like to share just a few photos from the first half of the day.  I'm not sure about the legalities of putting pictures of a bunch of strangers on my blog - I should probably technically, legally have people sign a release form.  But if they're going to put themselves up on a stage, I'm taking that as permission.  Besides, if I'm posting these pictures and saying they all look fabulous, I don't think they should have reason to take umbrage!  So, as I was saying, a little bit of an illustrated recording of events.

Through a sea of umbrellas, the crowd observes the Opening Ceremony and the lighting of the Olympiad Pipe:

Although my first inclination was to groan when I woke up to hear pouring rain, I definitely think it added a certain something to the proceedings.  It just made the whole thing slightly more mad-cap, slightly more challenging, and slightly more British!  I also get the impression that it put off some of the less devoted ticket-holders, who might have slightly brought down the tone through lack of sartorial efforts or proper chap spirit.  I was seriously impressed by the efforts put into all the outfits there - it was a sheer delight to see.

As the contestants prepared for the first "sport", we managed to grab some seats in the front row, from where we had an excellent view (though also a few scares in the events which saw people teetering around on bicycles, being carried aloft on ironing boards, or crashing themselves and objects around for other reasons).  From said seats, we watched a series of quirky, elaborate, amusing events such as those that feature below...

In which a walking cane is used to pitch a bowler hat into a net:

In which the ladies line up to face the chaps who must attempt to make them swoon:

In which contestants must play tennis but with the least amount of focus and effort possible, i.e. ultimately to Not Play Tennis:

A stroke of luck and/or good timing meant that the rain cleared up at the mid-event interval so a large number of people were enticed to take to the stage for a dance:

These two were absolutely amazing:

... and then I dropped my camera into the jug of Pimms at my feet so there were no more photos!  At least the memory card survived.  And, with nothing left to lose, my companion and I took to the stage to join in the dancing.  

All in all, a thoroughly excellent day was had.  This was my first Olympiad but I will undoubtedly be returning next year.  It's certainly one of the most fun and zany days out in the London calendar.  Some of the events were naturally more engaging than others but the whole thing was held together brilliantly by the MC, Tristan Langlois.

Next time, now I can promote it speaking from first-hand experience, I hope to gather a wee troop of fellow chaps and chapettes, perhaps accompanied by a picnic.  

I just hope it rains again next year...  


  1. Oh no? Is your camera ruined then? How sad :(

  2. Sadly, yes. But I had been contemplating getting a new one which takes better low-light pictures so it's not TOO sad... Just slightly irritating!

  3. Brilliant! Dare I exclaim "What jolly good fun!" Your floral dress with the jacket is beautiful. I'm wondering if the Cat in Red Dwarf would be in agreement with your Cat ;) I love the perspective of the photo of the girl in the gorgous red/white outfit. And the "tennis" shot with the fallen glass in foreground. The girls crossed legs do give a careless air too.

  4. p.s. Yes, your friend did extremely well from her suitcase. Clever girl.

  5. I do love coloured petticoats. I wore a lovely red one yesterday, under a green skirt. I have another pale green one with sunray-pleated hem. Both from Beyond Retro in Brick Lane :-)

  6. Red petticoat and green skirt sounds lovely!

  7. cute pics!!