Active Member with Corp. Privileges
"The First Guide To What Really Matters In Life"

Just got a copy of the Official Sloane Ranger Handbook in the mail and figured I'd post some stuff from it since so many here have enjoyed the OPH. Also, there was some recent discussion of the topic, here, so there must be some interest.

Here are some highlights from, but certainly not all of, the clothing section:

The main item Sloane Rangers were said to wear is The Husky jacket: "Save an Alligator--kill a preppie;save a Husky--kill a Sloane." Remember how the OPH always talked about those Norwegian sweaters that were just so perfect but were (until recently) no longer produced? Same thing with the Husky jackets. From what I can tell, Husky of Tostock no longer exists.

from the book:
The Husky has imitators, 'but people in the end still want the Husky label', says Mrs Guylas. 'We had a letter from a woman saying "Please never change the poppers on your jackets, because I know just who I can talk to on trains."'

That (probably fictional) woman is now out of luck. But the Barbour Liddesdale or seems like a good alternative.

On Suits and jackets:
". . .all but the most formal of a Sloane's suits (no vents) have two vents, for two reasons: he can put his hands in both pockets, and when he moves fast or dances, the skirts fly up, showing the silk lining (raspberry is a bit charlie, but it does look fine)."

The tweed jacket:
"Army Sloanes call it a change coat. Etonians cal it half change. Worn in all situations, particularly with jeans. Must be real tweed, seriously made by an English maker. Never in a fashion cut. One vent."

Blazer: two vents

"Not freshly pressed. A gentleman is not seen to pull his trouser-knees when he sits down. Pleats are dubious except on old suits. [. . .] Turn-ups are usual, on formal trousers anyway: at a standard depth of about an inch. (this can't be right!) And yes, worn a bit short--looks boyish and shows the Sloane ankles and socks."

"The Jermyn Street shirtmaker collar is instantly identifiable. It's never giraffe or tiny (half an inch change in a decade is a revolution). Look for the tightly woven proper poplin texture, the slight concave curve to the collar-bone (cardboard shirts go convex easily because of the cheap stiffening), the fine stitching inset precisely 3/8 of an inch from the collar edge. Hard-core Sloanes often let a good shirt like this get frayed at the collar. The Key shape is unshaped (body-hugging jobs with darts are strictly for John Travolta) with a long tail (for when you send them back to be given new collars and cuffs)."

It also talk about Bengal stripes, Oxfords (in white, light blue, or dusty pink), Tattersall checks etc.

"Shoes are crucial. Hard-up Sloanes will give up several meals for decent shoes. This is because they are instinctively aware that in the days of knights and peasants, only knights wore them. After the Industrial Revolution, there were boots and shoes, and Sloanes wore the shoes. Henry treasures his father's hunting-boot jack and his great-grandmother's shoehorn and buttonhook. His father distrusted suede shoes ('for cads') but they've crept into Sloanedom now, though Prince Philip still doesn't like them. But Henry would never, ever wear high heels or fashion shoes. Anyone who does is a giant step away from Sloanedom."

"The ideal is a classic from Lobb circa 1965 resoled and patinated over the wrinkles."

Oxfords, Brogues, Guccis ("The ones with the red and green stipe look regimental, and they all look equine because of the snaffle"), Wildsmith loafers, Tasselled loafers, Brown suede shoes or chukka boots, Hunter wellies ("London sloanes sprout green wellies in wet weather like a plague of frogs"), Tennis shoes, Moonboots (remember that Brooks Brothers offered these last year to the surprise of most), Walking boots ("for Scotland"), and patent leather evening shoes.


The big item here, mentioned everywhere throughout the handbook, is the guernsey: "key to the SRM uniform. Rupert is given one on his first birthday. From Guernseys Galore. The navy blue standard."

Also, the action man sweater ("army standard, olive green or navy with cotton patches on shoulders and elbows"), lambswool V-neck pullover ("a waistcoat substitute"), Henry Higgins cardigan ("When the elbows wear out Caroline darns or patches them. She eventually mounts a campaign against That Cardigan"), Aran and Norweigian ("They saved Henry in his cold bachelor pad. Still his friends for skiing and sailing"), and Shetland ("Henry wore them as a child of course, but they're suspect now all the foreigners and art directors are in them. Henry does not aim to look like a northern boy in a Hovis advert").

"Ranger ties tended to be on the thin side when others were fat, but now that thin is New Wave, they are medium (2 1/2 - 3 inches wide)."

"Only one kind keeps off the rain. The full-size old-fashioned black one with the plain brier handle topped with a gold ring (traditionally from Swaine, Adney & Brigg)."

"Watch Henry with his stick--how he likes to lightly change his grip on it, tap the ground as he walks along, point things out with it, slash at a weed. You can see it's a sword. Every Sloane home has an umbrella stand near the front door bristling with sticks, emblems of the knightly class."

Full tweed suits and tweed overcoats are also mentioned.

To be honest, the funniest (and most enlightening) bits are in the chapters not dealing with clothes (just like in the OPH). But since this is a clothing forum. . .

From the title page of the book:

"If you can keep your seat when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust your shoes when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their background too;
If you can hail (and tip) a railway porter,
Or read a person's nature in his ties,
Or being outmanoeuvred, don't manoeuvre,
But win, by honest means and small whit lies.
If you can choose a house just for its cellars
To gut your pheasant in and keep your wine,
Or fill a Volvo full of dogs and wellies
And park it on a double yellow line. . .
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of jolly fun,
Yours is this book and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Sloane, my son!
(or daughter, depending on which way the genes jumped)

If you like the OPH I'd definitely recommend finding a copy of this book. It's usually priced a little high on amazon but if you click on different editions you can find one for under $10.

Remember: "It's you they want to see, not your clothes."
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Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Who wrote this? A fair bit of nonsense in there actually. It seems to have transcribed the entire upper class old & new to the term "sloanes"

It's satire and the whole thing is based on the idea of a stereotyped upper class. Just like the Official Preppy Handbook. Don't take it too seriously. It's supposed to be fun.

It was written by Ann Barr and Peter York in 1982 and (apparently) funded by the magazine Harpers and Queen.


Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Earl of Ormonde,

I was looking back at the previous sloane ranger thread (linked to in the first post of this thread) and realized you were the one who offered this revelation to the forum last time around:

I went to secondary school just off Sloane Square, left in 1978. And worked in Chelsea ( in Knightsbridge) from 78 to 80 and again from 83 to 96, with a few "sloany" girls and socialised in Chelsea as well with several sloany gals, so allow me to address a few errors in the definition of the term both here and on wiki. A sloane ranger was only ever a woman, men were NEVER EVER referred to as sloane rangers. The slang term for the men of the sloanes was usually "a Rupert". Sometimes "hooray henry" but that old term was only really used by outsiders. People in Chelsea always said "he's a Rupert".

The second thjing I want to correct is that the women that were sloane rangers were predominantly married to rich men or rich in their own right or daughters of rich men or the nobility. Many of my female friends and colleagues in Chelsea were Lady this and Lady that.

Their style had absolutley nothing in common with preppy and trad. Sloane rangers were the direct descendants of the debs, that died out in the early 60s.
Debutantes were presented at court to the Queen at the start of the season, so always in the latest classy fashions.
Like the debs the sloane rangers tried to emulate the royal family and so wore haute coiture in the evening, Barbours and wellies in the country and Laura Ashley, pumps and body warmers in town. Older sloanes were also quite similar to the old suburban "twinset and pearls" brigade of the 50s.

Lady Di (one of whose early boyfriends James was a friend of mine) was a sloane ranger but not of the extreme variety.

Fergie who I spoke to twice in an official capacity was not a sloane in the traditional sense.

By about the late 80s the sloane ranger style and attitude was dying out. By the early 90s it was history. Their haunts were the cafes and shops in and around Sloane Square, Sloane Street, and Kings Road (only as far as Sydney Street -after which Kings Road was a bit run down back then) as well as the very exclusive shops on Lower Sloane Street, Brompton Road, Fulham Road, Beauchamp Place and of course Walton Street.

As for the "ruperts" well, several of them were friends and colleagues of mine and like myself several were ex-military, having served short term commissions- usually in a guards regt, which was still traditional back then, and still the done thing, especially as the Irish and Scots Guards alternated at Chelsea Barracks. The Household Cavalry at Knightsbridge Barracks.

So a Rupert didn't go very far when he signed up, except when on exercise or on a tour of N Ireland or on station in Germany.

I wasn't aware Sloane Ranger was a label applied primarily (or exclusively) to women. "Rupert" and "Hooray Henry" are mentioned as nicknames in the OSRH.

So yeah, if The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook is less than accurate, I don't think anyone has ever considered it otherwise. It really is just riding the success of the OPH two years earlier. Still a pretty enjoyable read though.


New Member
raincoat and Earl of Ormonde, thank you for posting. The OSRH sounds very entertaining.

FYI, the OSRH is currently available on amazon.co.uk for as low as £0.01 + £6.94 for shipping to the USA.
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New Member
Here are a couple of other books in a similar vein to the OSRH:

The English Gentleman, Douglas Sutherland
Originally written for Debrett's Peerage, Douglas Sutherland's guide to that endangered species, the English Gentleman, was composed as an antidote to all the dull little books on manners. Both genuinely informative and very amusing, The English Gentleman offers the parvenu a window onto the world of the genuine article. It describes his habits, where he might live, what he might wear, his school, his clubs, his hobbies and sports, his family and relationships, his mode of speech, and the acceptable way to behave in almost any given situation. Not to mention advice on the correct attitudes toward money (it's vulgar), sex (it's vulgar), and business (it's vulgar unless, of course, it's run at a heavy loss). This is a hilarious initiation into the eccentric world of the stiff upper lip.

The Young Fogey Handbook, Suzanne Lowry
Across the land from Bath to Balmoral, the Young Fogeys are coming out of hiding. Stuffy in dress, mischievous in mind, these backward-looking radicals reject modern values to hark back to those idyllic days when marmalade was properly thick-cut.

But would you recognize one? Might you mistake a young man who works in an insurance office for one? With The Young Fogey Handbook you can spot all those little points which distinguish the true Young Fogey from the slick imitator. For example:

* The Young Fogey attires himself in fusty tweeds and hefty brown brogues unless, of course, he can find an excuse to dress in a morning . . . and none of them fits.

* The Young Fogey gives four cheers for Evelyn Waugh, John Betjeman and Disraeli, but detests the Church Commissioners, modern architecture and feminists.

* The Young Fogey would like to reside in Oxford--Brideshead Revisited revisited--but will be found wherever there is a building to restore or a fine old church to admire.

* And there is the Great Young Fogey Mystery: does the female exist? Is Griselda a myth? Will the Young Fogey find his heart's Araminta?

Find the truth in The Young Fogey Handbook.
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