Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sloane Rangers or Preppy in the UK

The other day, my husband saw some girls on the tube and referred to them as Sloane Rangers. My husband is a few years older than me and was living in London for 3 years in the late 80's or early 90's so this term, popularized in the early 80's is something he is familiar with. I asked him what it meant and he said it was a slang term for girls that hung out in Sloane Square and had a certain sloppy style and distinctive accent. He compared their accent to the LA Heidi Montag way of speaking (you know what I mean - the way all the Hills girls say Thank You-ew with a bit of a dipthong?) So I was surprised to read a blog post yesterday about the Royal Engagement that referred to Kate Middleton as a Sloane Ranger because she is anything but sloppy! So I did some research this morning!

My husband was a little off-base calling the girls we saw on the tube Sloane Rangers, but he wasn't entirely wrong...
According to much of my research, the original and best example of a Sloane Ranger when the phrase was coined was the late Lady Diana Spencer before she married Prince Charles. In those days, she was simply an aristocrat from the Earls Spencer family, not the Princess of Wales we all learned to love as children. In those days, she was the picture of what we would call preppy style (are those Hunter wellies I see?), but in fact, it's Sloane Ranger style!
Here's what Wikipedia says about Sloane Rangers:

"The term Sloane Ranger (often shortened to Sloane or Sloanie) refers to a stereotype in the UK of young, upper class or upper-middle-class women or men who share distinctive and common lifestyle traits. The term is a punning combination of "Sloane Square", a location in Chelsea famed for the wealth of residents and frequenters, and the television Westerns 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" (or, simply, Rah for short) and "Hooray Henrys".[1] The term Sloane Ranger have similar related terms in other countries: in France they are called 'BCBG' (bon chic, bon genre). The Preppy of the United States can appear similar to the Sloane Ranger at first glance but in fact they are different in their ideologies and aspirations."

One famous often referred to as a Sloane Ranger you might recognize is David Cameron, the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Much like the preps in the US, who recognize The Official Preppy Handbook as their guide to the ultimate preppy life, Sloane Rangers gained notariety because of a book called The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook and it's companion The Official Sloane Ranger Diary, both by Peter York and Ann Barr.

Similarly, while the Preppies of the US have True Prep, a recent update on the original handbook as a result of a comeback in mainstream society, the Sloane Rangers have also made a comeback, sparking an updated book as well called Cooler, Faster, More Expensive: The Return of the Sloane Ranger. Many say that this comeback has a lot to do with the economic state of both countries and there is a similarity here... wasn't there also recession in the 80's? Just a thought...


Quite possibly, Kate Middleton is the most famous of the new set of Sloane Rangers. She has been described to me by some of my London friends as "wonderfully normal" and that fits the bill. Also, as seen in the first photo, she enjoys many of the British outdoor sports, has studied art history and attended the best of schools. Sloane Rangers like preps, while generally affluent, don't dress austentaciously and seem to be normal while many of the pieces they're wearing are quite expensive. These girls most likely will not be carrying a lot of bags bedecked in gaudy logos, but will wear more classic unidentifiable pieces while still enjoying the best of luxury.

Here is what Wikipedia says about the Sloane Ranger style:

"What is perceived as male Sloane fashion has remained relatively constant over the years: the trend amongst the men being for open-necked shirts or polos with the collars turned up, sometimes wear flip-flops in whatever the weather, golfing baseball caps, grow curly locks of hair, sometimes overly built in the rugby physique and wear traditional brands like Barbour. Female Sloanes are considered to favour a scruffy ponytail or bun, and most commonly blonde hair held in a massive side parting. dangly ear-rings,sometimes wear sleevless puff jackets, Jogger bottoms (sometimes even pyjama trousers)[citation needed] & jumpers (particularly those labelling their sport of choice i.e. netball team etc. or their school) bangles and pashminas:[citation needed] tending to be affluent, they dress expensively, but not too neatly and rarely ostentatiously. Clothing brands typically associated with the Sloane include, Ugg boots, Jack Wills and owing to the increasing worldwide influence of American culture, brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister and "Pink" by Victorias Secret."


Another famous Sloane Ranger is recent OBE recipient Tamara Mellon, Chief Creative Officer and Co-founder of Jimmy Choo.


Kiera Knightly is also known as a Sloane Ranger.

As well as Sienna Miller.

The Sloane Rangers have their own haunts in London and tend to hang out around Chelsea, Kensington and Fulham, while spending their holidays (vacations) in the Caribbean, Greek Isles, Monaco and Cannes. Favorite hang-outs include the White Horse Pub in Fulham, fondly known as "The Sloaney Pony" and Admiral Codrington in Chelsea, referred to as "The Cod." If you find yourself in "The Sloaney Pony" chatting with SR's or if you happen to ever meet Kate Middleton, you'll need to know the lingo! I found this in an article from The Daily Mail.

• Fitties/Birdage/Top totty - Attractive young women
• Hohmygod - Exclamation following banal piece of gossip
• Sweetiedarls, what's the goss? - How are you?
• That's fierce - That's great
• Jokes - How funny
• It's GLO - It's guest list only
• Literally - Metaphorically, e.g. "I'm literally dying" means "I'm quite tired."
• I'm off-roading it - I'm in the country for the weekend
I feel very enlightened after reading this! It's always fun to learn about new cultures! I must say I love the Sloane Ranger style and I'm more partial to it than preppy style because in some cases, it's more conservative and a little less crazy colorful. No judgement here, but I cannot wear pink and green pants! Some of us would never get away with that! I love Kate Middleton's style and I'm interested to see her Royal style. I find it interesting that both she and Diana have been labeled as Sloane Rangers. Diana's style was iconic and I'm certain Kate's will be too!
Much of the information in this post is taken from Please click here to read the full article on Sloane Rangers.
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  1. Its just the Spencer family, Earl was the title Diana's father held, that is now held by her brother. Spencer is the family name, Earl is the male title.

  2. How interesting! I'd never heard of Sloane Rangers but definitely see what you mean. Kate is gorgeous and seems effortlessly chic -- she'll be the next style icon, I'm sure!

  3. This is absolutely hilarious!! I NEVER knew about the term "Sloane Ranger"!! We lived at Cadogan Square for a while before we moved to 77 Kings Road... So we were very close to Sloane Square!! I can still remember the Peter Jones department store there!!

    I love your British posts... Keep them coming!! They are so adorable :)


  4. Keep in mind that back in the 1980's, Hunter Wellies were made in Scotland and considered upper crust footwear. They were not the Chinese mass market fashion "chav" item that they are now. Every lower middle class American girl in the mall has a pair of Hunters (and probably a North face jacket). The wellie of choice now would be the much more expensive Le Chameau brand (which both Kate and Wills wear).

    1. Oh well, at least Barbour is still safely out of common reach... or is it?

    2. I don't know about everywhere, but I would say that Barbour is rather common in the UK. It's like a classic British staple - I'm hoping to get a Barbour jacket sometime this year... They're perfect for cold, rainy British weather!

  5. Replies
    1. Thank you - this was a fun piece to write! x


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