The major difference between the class system in America and the class system in Britain is that Americans act like theirs doesn’t exist, except for when they’re talking about it behind each other’s backs. (Or watching Gossip Girl.) Brits, on the other hand, have a more rigid class system but are also more than willing to discuss it, even when it means making fun of themselves.
Which brings us to Sloane Rangers, a sector of English society as closely associated with their Barbour jackets as chavs are with fake Burberry check. Given that Kate Middleton and Prince William have been hailed king and queen of the Rahs (the term for the ultimate Sloane Rangers), we thought would be fun to give you a lesson in 21st century English style.
But before we get into specific must-have Sloane Ranger pieces, Tamara Abraham–US Femail editor of the The Daily Mail online–offers up distinct definitions of Sloaney Pony, chav, Rah, and more:
Sloaney Pony: The local nickname for a popular pub in Parson’s Green (the Sloanes’ stamping ground), more formally known as the White Horse.
Sloane Ranger: A term coined in the Eighties to describe the posh crowd that generally hang out on Chelsea’s King’s Road, which begins at Sloane Square. They were typically known for a rather fusty, preppy style such as pashmina shawls, pearls and Alice bands (pre-marriage Princess Di), but today’s “Sloanes” are more Prada than Peter Jones (middle-of-the-road department store on Sloane Square).
Rah: Abbreviated from “hoorah,” and often used in lieu of Sloane Ranger. Used to describe young, posh people from public schools (what they call private boarding schools, such as Eton or Harrow, in the UK), usually in a derogatory way, if they are particularly snobbish, for example. For guys, deck shoes and a sweater slung over the shoulders is de rigueur.
Toffs: Like Rah, but refers to people of any age. Mostly those of an aristocratic background. Also derogatory. Toffs mostly wear signet rings, and the scruffier they dress, the posher their heritage is likely to be.
Chav: The meaning of the word chav was of much debate when it was first coined, and a definition is still pretty hard to come by. More of an adjective than a class group, it describes a person who might be both lower-class and tacky in their style and manner. Signature hairstyle would probably be a “Croydon Facelift” and favorite outfit might be head-to-toe faux Burberry checks. Google former soap star Daniella Westbrook. Chavs probably never consider themselves chav.
TOWIE: (Editors note: We made this one up because this group doesn’t really have a name…yet.) TOWIE an acronym of hit reality show The Only Way Is Essex–like a British Jersey Shore. Towie women are all glamor models (aka not real models–kind of like modern Playboy bunnies) and usually orange, the men are club owners and regularly sleep around. They have plenty of money and like to flaunt it, so expect logo-ed designer tees and bags.
Now that you understand how the English class system really works, check out these Sloaney wardrobe essentials: