Last we looked at Brits donning American duds, and today we seem them in their native English garb, albeit often anachronistically. If you’re an Anglophile and a bit of a young fogey, there’s a magazine for you — which covers such topics as tweed on film — that’s finally being distributed in the US. Of course, maybe it’s not your cup of tea. Andrew McCallum reports.
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The Chap has finally crossed the pond. As of September 20th, it is available in select Barnes & Noble locations. A digital edition is also available on issuu.com. For anyone who doesn’t google tweed, moustache maintenance, or anarcho-dandyism in the wee hours, The Chap is a UK satirical gentleman’s magazine. Despite being a fun read, the its staff and fans take civility and traditional clothing with due seriousness. They have even organized polite protests in which well-dressed ladies and gents have taken to the streets to share proper tea with the masses, to help little old ladies cross the street, and even to oppose Abercrombie and Fitch’s invasion of Savile Row.
There is much in the magazine that is likely to appeal to Ivy Style readers. The last issue had a profile on Rowing Blazers and a great article on tweed in film (which included a breakdown of the traditional Irish and American elements of John Wayne’s costumes in The Quiet Man). David Evans’ regular “The Grey Fox Column” is one of the finest resources I’ve come across on dressing well for older men. I’m only 37, but I wish I looked half as good as he does!
I had the privilege of asking Mr Gustav Temple, founder and editor of The Chap, a few questions about the magazine and its American debut.
IS: The Chap has been published since 1999. Why have you decided to expand to America now? Is this a sartorial intervention?
GT: I don’t think America needs a sartorial intervention! What it does need is a decent magazine that is dedicated to dressing well and the gentlemanly lifestyle. Many other magazines have come and gone since The Chap was founded, but most of them have either focused exclusively on the vintage scene (too narrow) or the luxury scene (too much bullshit). The Chap has always aimed to bridge the gap between living well in the modern world and retaining the integrity of past decades by wearing the clothes from those eras.
IS: Will the magazine be changing to accommodate American readers?
GT: Yes. We will focus less on London-centric events and outlets, and bring in more reviews and features on specific places in the US where what we call “Chappism” is celebrated. We will also stop using the phrase “here” meaning “in Britain”. We have showcased our first US-distributed edition with Dandy Wellington on the cover and interviewed inside. Generally, we will consider the relevance of certain people interviewed to an American readership, and try to interview as many Americans as possible – this is happening by default anyway, as some of the British chaps were ever interested in interviewing are either dead or already interviewed by us. We already have several American correspondents, and will be calling on them to write more and more features with US themes.
IS: Can North Americans be chaps? If so, are there any particularly chappy gents in public life over here?
GT: Of course – because anyone can be a chap. I can think of Dandy Wellington, Natty Adams, John Malkovich, Gay Talese, Baron Ambrosia, John Waters. I would also put Barack Obama clearly in the “gentleman” category. By publishing in the US, we are sure that more and more authentic chaps will materialise from the exposure and perhaps eventually appear in our pages.
IS: What is anarcho-dandyism? How can we use tweed, quality shoes, and ties to build a better life in world filled with cargo shorts and strip malls?
GT: By wearing the above-mentioned clothing items, we have already created a better life. It’s been clinically proven (well, demonstrated in practice anyway) that the more well-dressed people are seen in public areas, the more the rest of the public are encouraged to dress well. In the UK you can now buy a Harris Tweed jacket in Primark (think Walmart). This is the filter-down process of a few men switching back to tweed jackets in the early 2000s and gradually turning everyone back on to that style of dress. The cargo-pant wearers will never go away, but one day they might grow up (except the ones who are wearing cargo pants in their 70s).
IS: What do you think of the Ivy League Look?
GT: Love it. And I love the obsessive protocol and sartorial rule system (always, sometimes, never, etc). It’s the perfect American counterpart to the British upper class dress code (never brown in town, etc) and the existence, and persistence, of the Ivy League style, quite frankly, shows that our gentle mocking (while retaining a deep respect for) of the established order, will work across the Atlantic as effectively as it works on this side of the ocean.
— ANDREW MCCALLUM
Why in the world would any Brit want to be an imitation American when he could dress like that?
The only real differences are the slant coat pockets, the side vents and spread collars. I think the point is to dress well regardless of ones personal style. I know “made men” that exhibit good taste in how they dress in a continental style.
GT: I don’t think America needs a sartorial intervention! What it does need is a decent magazine that is dedicated to dressing well and the gentlemanly lifestyle.
Excuse me? I don’t know what GT smokes in his pipe but the U.S. is in desperate need of a sartorial intervention. If you visit the downtown area of any major city you will see the average American dressed either like a homeless person, a street thug, or like he just rolled out of bed in sweatpants and hoodies.
I used to read the British version of GQ when I was younger but that was mainly to see the nude women in ads that were censored in the U.S. by the FCC.
Another “real difference” is the built up shoulders
which change the entire shape of the jacket. Compared
to natural shoulders in Ivy or even Neapolitan coats,
the garment feels very different to wear.
The wife got me a free subscription to GQ. Haven’t seen an issue in thirty years. Got the first issue the other day.
What garbage. Every issue I get will be thrown in the paper drive bin, unread.
PS: The Chap seems like a good read. I wish the magazine the best.
America needs all the help it can get, to eliminate the slob culture.
For those who’ve been fortunate enough not to be familiar with GQ, here’s their idea of “best dressed men”:
David Evans, aka The Grey Fox, lives round the corner from me. His Grey Fox blog was occasionally worth reading in its early days. Sadly, more and more of his posts are full of PR hype and advertorial. The New & Lingwood “collaboration” is a recent example. I’m a former customer of N&L as the brand has been ruined by its new management. It is now a dandified parody of its former self – quality has plummeted as prices have spiralled Sadly, it did not take long for The Grey Fox to sell out and become another corporate blagger. Even his articles in The Chap have included accounts of his sponsored jollies. One can only hope that The Chap does not sell out its independence to American sponsors and advertisers.
Is there Really somebody called Old School with a tie as their avatar? I’m lost for words…
Cheerio! Any suggestions for a young lady custom London in a few weeks? I’m hoping to bulk up my collection of bow ties, and would love nothing more than to bring back a pair or two of beautiful brogues. The shoes may be a bit of a task since my dainty size 6 foot can’t just wear a man’s shoe in a smaller size (oh that it could!). I would be much obliged for any and all suggestions.
Autocorrect is the bane of my existence.
@Rachel – Crockett & Jones have a solid line for women, and narrow lasts in my experience, which may suit. All the Northampton makers do women’s shoes. Be prepared for relatively high prices though. Now. Now, at the end of one’s discourse one can say “cheerio”. Cheerio.
The first spinofff of “The Young Fogey Handbook,” published in 1985, was The Oldie, founded in 1992 by former Private Eye editor Richard Ingrams. I am given to understand that Ingrams initially considered calling it “The Fogey.” The Oldie, now edited by fogey-obsessed Young Fogey Harry Mount, is light-hearted but serious, if you get my meaning. The Chap, while delightful, is pure satire.
Old School Tie,
Yes there is somebody called Old School with a bar stripe necktie as his avatar.
If I’m correct, his use of the name and the avatar precedes your use of the name “Old School Tie” by years.
I’ve been aware of The Chap for a dozen years or more, including interviewing Mr. Temple way back then. My sense of them, as well as many other retro-eccentric types, is that they’re quite serious. They’ve just wrapped it in a layer of self-protective irony.
Old School Tie,
I’ve been able to trace Old School’s comments back ar least as far as 2010.
Old School – That would make you like J Press and me like, well, RL…..just waiting for someone called Old Skool to make their appearance. Actually ‘old school’ and ‘old school tie’ are very different concepts in reality, I’m sure there is no overlap and I defer, of course, to your seniority…
@ Rachel. I strongly recommend Trickers of Jermyn Street for ladies’ brogues in the classic English style. You should also take a look at Tricker’s Outlet website, registration required, for some great bargains. The stock changes constantly so you need to visit regularly. For bowties, try Turnbull & Asser which is a few yards away but Jermyn Street is the best place for bowties in London.
My sense of all (or most) things trad in the modern era is that it attracts/draws men (and women?) who are drawn to charming, archaic, and mostly misunderstood lost causes. Emphasis upon lost. Guessing the same holds true for the fogey. I’m not sure about “Chappism,” but I suspect the same inclinations and habits of mind are at work.
Ouch. That one dude is sipping a Light Beer. I’ve been buying the odd Chap magazine from eBay vendors for a while; I guess that I can forget about that, now that it’s going mainstream. “Ten Best Dressed” indeed. LOL
There is something to being the example for others inour society to follow. I have noticed that since I have been wearing a suit and tie to work every day but Friday which is my blazer and no tie OCBD day with loafers, many more of my co-workers have begun wearing dress shirta and slacks and even ties and tie clips. All to the good.
When in London for shoes, you need to visit John Rushton on wimpole street. I’m not sure he carries womens sizes though.
While at it you could continue a few blocks west, pass Cadenheads whiskey shop and tasting room for a bottle of Old Raj Gin, on your way to a visit at John Simmons… or a lunch at Chiltern Firehouse (if you have the wallet for it).
Driving past the Saks men’s department store window every morning showing what today’s man is wearing has me laughing and crying at the same time
My god. What has happen to style and elegance?
As a Brit, I find the interface between ivy and chappism interesting. I love ivy because for me it’s the ultimate “smart casual” style – when it’s done well (e.g by the Japanese, Miles Davis, Paul Newman etc), it’s anything but stuffy.
In the UK, the chap look has quickly become mannered, retrograde and worst still, a uniform.
I attended the recent Distinguished Gentlemen ride (on a Lambretta scooter) and was amused by the bikers on their expensive machines, with their thrift-store tweed jackets and pre-tied bow ties….you could tell it wasn’t a look they understood or cared for.
The man on the right looks like he’s drinking lager. For shame.