Sunday Times Column: The posh are slumming-it and loving-it














I am so posh now, I spend my summers tripping between polo matches, races, regattas and the odd country-house soirée. I have acquired a floor-length wardrobe and a taste for champagne, as befits a girl like me, of marriageable age. After all, the Season is swinging, and was intended for meek debutantes like moi to make their society entrée.

So I went to the polo, prepared to rub shoulders with royalty and quaff bubbly like they do in Tatler’s party pages and Jilly Cooper books. Instead, I found boys in ball-hugging beige elastane Del Monti suits, models in polyester dresses, and reality-TV stars with Day-Glo teeth and fake tans. Before the chukkas had ended one woman was dancing on a table with a silver champagne bucket on her head.

I went to Henley Regatta, having carried a Debrett’s around Topshop until I found something befitting the dress code, which advises that women “are required to wear a dress or suit that covers the knee”; and “Men must wear: lounge suits, jackets with trousers and flannels and a tie or a cravat.”

Apparently, no one else got the memo. Knees? There were asses. Cravats? There were men wearing Elvis costumes and Union Jack suits. Beau Brummell would have wept, the Queen Mum choked on her gin. It was like Shagaluf with canapés, or Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights as people danced on tables, passed out in bushes and had sex by the Portaloos (what fun!).

Meanwhile, at Royal Chavscot, people lay on the lawn, swigging from bottles, kicking off heels and tanning their tats.

What happened to the Season? Has the Ascot-Cowes-Cartier polo holy trinity been infiltrated by plebs? Or is it the other way around? Because, while working-class culture has become more aspirational, snobs’ sensibilities are on a downmarket trend. Towie and Made in Chelsea are now indistinguishable.

Chelsea housewives get tattoos, while council tenants wear Ralph Lauren. Public schoolgirls pitch up in Peckham, while Adele has moved to Cheyne Walk beside Lord Browne. Hoop earrings and hoodies have migrated from Benefits Street to Sloane Square. Meanwhile, Primark sells a range of tuxes.


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