infra dig

Sloane Ranger

The term Sloane Ranger (plurals: Sloanes, Sloanies) refers to the young, upper class and upper-middle-class men and women living in South-West London. The word play term combines "Sloane Square", the fashionable and wealthy London area associated most in the public imagination with "Sloanes", and the television cowboy character "The Lone Ranger".

Initially the term "Sloane Ranger" was used mostly in reference to women, a particular archetype being Diana, Princess of Wales. However, the term now usually includes men. Male Sloanes have also been referred to as "Ra Ra Ruperts" and "Hooray Henrys" (though said terms more accurately apply to the louder, male Sloane Ranger male subset). The Sloane Rangers have their equivalents in other countries: in the USA they are 'Preppies'; in France they are called 'BCBG' (bon chic, bon genre), in Australia they are sometimes referred to as Pru and Trudes (based on similar characters in the TV Series Kath and Kim).

The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook

The Sloane Ranger term, a commonplace in 1960s London, was popularised by British writer Peter York and co-writer Ann Barr in The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook (1982) and its companion The Official Sloane Ranger Diary, The books were published by the British society-watcher magazine Harpers & Queen, for whom Peter York was Style Editor and "was responsible for identifying the cult phenomena of "Sloane Rangers" and "Foodies" ".

The exemplar Female Sloane Ranger (FSR) was Lady Diana Spencer before marrying Charles, Prince of Wales, however, most SRs come from less exalted, yet rich backgrounds (usually the "Town-and-Country" type). The Male Sloane Ranger (MSR) had no exemplar, but was instead defined by exemplary behaviours. Typical of SRs were patriotism and traditionalism, an inflexible belief in the values of upper class and upper middle-class culture, self-confidence in themselves and their given places in the world, a fondness for life in the countryside, country sports in particular, philistinism and anti-intellectualism.

Regarding to the latter, two traits, 'typical' ought be emphasised. Not all Sloanes like country sports (Diana didn't), and not all Sloanes are philistine anti-intellectuals. The reason why a proud philistinism is emphasised is twofold: SRs, with their SR-based self-confidence are unembarrassed to admit disliking ballet, opera, modern art, and James Joyce; most public intellectuals of the 1970s and the 1980s were left-wing, hence aligning with left-wing intelligentsia cultural values is anathema to (typically) staunchly Tory Sloanes. The typical male Sloane is satirised by the Harry Enfield character, Tim Nice-but-Dim.

Language noticeably identifies and separates the Sloane Ranger from the non-Sloane. In 1954, linguist Professor Alan S.C. Ross coined the terms U and non-U, quickly taken up by Nancy Mitford. For example an SR would say "lavatory" or "loo", "sofa" and "napkin", whereas the non-Sloane would say "toilet", "settee" and "serviette"; such slang tends to be a class characteristic.

Traditional values of the English upper class and upper-middle class asserted themselves in the careers chosen, or the careers that were expected to be chosen, by young Sloane Rangers. For women, there was no shame in academic failure and mediocrity and the subsequent employment in secretarial jobs (indeed, expensive secretarial courses in London, Oxford, and Cambridge were popular among SR in the 1980s), since it was expected that even bright FSRs would only hold down a job until meeting a suitable husband. MSRs looked to the traditional careers of the British Army (not the Royal Navy or the RAF, since both were perceived as infra dig, i.e. inferior to one's dignity, resulting from their looser emphasis on social standing; the Royal Family might join the Navy, but they could get away with it); farming (as in, "I own half of Gloucestershire"); the law; and the City. By the 1970s / 1980s Sloane Rangers had begun filling the ranks of estate agents, chartered surveyors, wine merchants, art dealers, et cetera.

Sloane territory

Although Sloanes are more widely spread, they are associated with the expensive areas of West London, most notably the Kings Road, the Fulham Road, Kensington High Street, and other areas of Kensington, Chelsea, Fulham, Barnes and more recently Chiswick. The pubs and nightclubs in these areas are popular with Sloanes, in particular The White Horse pub, known as the "Sloaney Pony", in Parson's Green and the Admiral Codrington, known as "The Cod", in Chelsea. Sloanes have also traditionally favoured certain holiday destinations, in particular European ski resorts such as Val d'Isere, Courchevel, Verbier and Méribel. Popular Summer destinations include the Caribbean, Monaco and more recently, the Maldives and other destinations in the Indian Ocean, such as Mauritius. Other destinations include St. Tropez, Avignon and Cannes, One of the more exotic being the increasingly popular Cape Verde.

Private schools in general have a reputation for being Sloaney, though some are considered more Sloaney than others. Among the public schools mentioned in the Official handbook are; Eton, Fettes, Malvern, Loretto School, Rugby School, Radley, Blundell's School, Benenden School, Marlborough, Harrow, Shrewsbury, Clifton, Uppingham, Cheltenham Ladies College, Stowe, Wycombe Abbey, Sherborne School and Winchester. Francis Holland School Sloane Square is also a notorious producer of FSRs. Confident young upper and upper middles may scorn the more obvious items of aspirant Sloanes (e.g., tan coloured shoes, boating-jackets, cypher rings (like a signet ring, but bears initials rather than family crest) and upturned collars) as these now seem a little too contrived.

Many Sloanes may aspire to attend the élite universities of Cambridge and Oxford, but these have high academic standards and admission is no longer based on social class. A number of other universities, however, have established reputations as havens for Sloanes who are unable to gain admission to Oxbridge, such as Durham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Exeter, St Andrews and the Royal Agricultural College

Due to stiff academic competition, globalization and social mobility, universities are attracting more students internationally, which is leading to the diminishment of the "social club" role the more historic universities have played. Indeed, the Pitt Club at Cambridge is the historic centre of Sloane social life for the university and has been in long-term decline, with the main part of its building rented out to Pizza Express

Sloanes today

Applied to a younger, school-age generation, the term can also be seen as a generic term for confident, somewhat brash, private-school children. Sloane fashion has remained relatively constant over the years: the trend amongst the men being for open-necked shirts and traditional brands like Barbour. Sloane women, even younger ones, could until relatively recently be identified, both in London and in the country, by the unique way they wore the once-obligatory Hermes headscarf - knotted stylishly, precariously and very impractically just below the mouth, instead of beneath the chin in the usual way. In this, they would appear to have been influenced by the positioning of a guardsman's helmet strap. It has even been suggested that the original Sloane accent may simply have been the result of Sloane Woman's efforts to speak without disturbing the perilous positioning of her headscarf. Now, however, younger female Sloanes generally favour a scruffy ponytail, dangly ear-rings, bangles and pashminas: tending to be affluent, they dress expensively, but not too neatly and never ostentatiously. It is almost as if they are trying to go about unobserved and uncategorised. Sloane women are partial to Ugg boots and are very keen on brands such as Jack Wills, and Polistas. Although country pursuits have become less popular in general over the years, some Sloanes vehemently opposed the hunting ban and support rural issues and the Countryside Alliance.

Careers in the City are still a popular choice of employment for Sloanes.

This traditional Sloane identity has recently multiplied and fragmented. This has been bound up with the changing demographics of London in the mid to late 1990s with massive increases in wealth that considerably increased the Sloane population. Sloanes have sought out new areas of London and with that new negotiations of Sloane identity. Notting Hill in particular has been transformed from a poor immigrant community to one of London's most desirable locations in a relatively short space of time. This has seen the influx of both "new" money (nouveau riche) and "old" traditional wealth. Notting Hill has become increasingly "Sloaney" as the children of traditional Sloanes move out of Chelsea (and other West London haunts) to what was perceived to be a more artistic, bohemian and trendy area. This new, younger generation of Sloanes are called "Boho" or "Notting Hill" Sloanes, another variation being the "Ethnosloane" and are represented both in the media industries such as journalism, TV, PR and advertising, as well as The City. Managing an art gallery of the right kind might also be an acceptable occupation. All areas of West London are possible Sloane haunts-(increasingly popular Warwick Avenue and Maida Vale).

Notable Sloanes

The following people have been considered as past and current Sloanes:

Sloane names

The following names are regarded as popular:

  • Alfred, always abbreviated to "Alfie"
  • Angus, often abbreviated to "Gus" or "Ang"
  • Archie, often abbreviated to "Arch"
  • Alexander, often abbreviated to "Alex" or "Xan"
  • Annabella
  • Antonia, often abbreviated to "Ants"
  • Benedict
  • Benjamin
  • Bunty
  • Camilla, often abbreviated to "Milla", "Millie" or "Mills"
  • Charles, often abbreviated to "Charlie" or "Chaz"
  • Charlotte, often abbreviated to "Char"
  • Christopher
  • Clara, Clare
  • Clementine, often abbreviated "Clemmie"
  • Constance, often abbreviated to "Connie"
  • Conrad, often abbreviated to "Con"
  • Edward, often abbreviated to "Ed" , "Ned" or "Ted"
  • Elizabeth, often abbreviated to "Lizzy"
  • Harriet, often abbreviated to "Hari" or "Hattie"
  • Henrietta, often abbreviated to 'Ettie'
  • Henry, as in "Hooray Henry"
  • Hugo or Hugh alternatively
  • Imogen, often abbreviated to "Immy"
  • Isabella, often abbreviated to "Bella" or "Izzy"
  • Jack
  • Joseph
  • Julia, often abbreviated to "Ju-Ju" or "Jules"
  • Julian
  • Dominic, often abbreviated to "Dom"
  • James, often abbreviated to "Jamie" or "Jimmy"
  • Joanna
  • Jonty
  • Laura, often abbreviated to "Lors"
  • Lauren often abbreviated to "Lola"
  • Monty
  • Oliver
  • Olivia, often abbreviated to "Livs" or "Livvy"
  • Pippa
  • Piers
  • Pollyanna
  • Poppy
  • Rupert, as in "Ra Ra Rupert"
  • Robert
  • Sara (pronounced to rhyme with 'Zara', not Sarah - although Sarah can be a sloaney name)
  • Sophie (the most Sloaney name of all)
  • Suzanne, Susannah, often abbreviated to "Suki" or "Yat"
  • Thomas, often abbreviated to "Tom" or "Tommo"
  • Theodore, often abbreviated to Theo
  • Tilly, often abbreviated to "Tills" (from Matilda)
  • Timothy, usually abbreviated to Tim, as in "Tim Nice But Dim"
  • Toby
  • Tristram
  • Victoria, especially when abbreviated to "Vicks", or "Tor"
  • William, usually abbreviated to "Wills" or "Will"
  • Zoe

There are, of course, many more names which would be acceptable for a Sloane Ranger.

Male Sloanes often carry on the tradition from public schools of calling each other by their last names, or variations of them, that usually involve putting a "y" at the end of them.

See also


External links

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