Goodwood Revival is not just an event for motor enthusiasts, but also the perfect opportunity for vintage fashion lovers to dress up and be seen.
Set on the Goodwood Estate, the three-day festival is a celebration of the heyday of British motorsport. You’ll see original vintage cars from the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s racing, often with celebrities from the world of motorsport, film, and TV at the wheel. There’s also a classic car show, a retro fairground and cinema, and a high street including shops selling memorabilia and even a vintage hair salon.
The biggest draw of Goodwood Revival is arguably not the cars and racing, but the opportunity to step back in time and experience one of the biggest period fashion events in the UK. There are vintage fashion shows held throughout the festival, and even a “Best Dressed” competition.
Goodwood Revival attendees take their outfits seriously. If you don’t look like you’ve stepped out of the pages of a vintage fashion magazine, you haven’t dressed properly. So how exactly should you dress for Goodwood Revival?
Choose a Decade
The unofficial Goodwood Revival dress code is vintage, but they don’t pick a particular decade each year to follow, so it’s up to you to choose whether you prefer ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s, or ‘70s fashion.
It’s also important to remember that Goodwood Revival celebrates British fashion and motorsport of the time, not what may have been in fashion over the pond. There are plenty of original images on Google and Pinterest to give you some inspiration, and you can also take a look at the Goodwood Revival Instagram for some of the best outfits from past events.
Styles popular in the ‘40s were influenced by wartime rationing, so fabrics were cut for maximum use.
Tailoring cut close to the body was a popular look during this time – think pencil skirts and cropped jacket. Suiting styles were inspired by workwear of the time, as many women were conscripted to join military service or work factory or agricultural roles. The masculine style of clothing was toned down with an hourglass silhouette with a nipped in waist. Tea dresses are also an iconic ‘40s look that’s easy to recreate and wear today.
Classic suiting was also the most popular look with ‘40s men, usually made from worsted wool or tweed in muted earth tones. Finishing the look with a hat is essential – the trilby and fedora were common styles, and the classic flat cap was still a popular choice for more casual working class fashion.
In the ’50s fashion changed to reflect the end of rationing and the positive national attitude of the time. Skirts became fuller, and bright colours and polka dot prints were a popular choice.
Pencil skirts were still popular in the ‘50s, but with more pleats, ruffles, and detailing for a glamorous look.
Men’s suiting also reflected the trend towards bolder and brighter styles. Patterns such as spots and stripes were all the rage for shirts and ties, and the argyle cardigan also became popular around this time. Fedora hats were also a common choice for ’50s men, upgraded from the ‘40s style with the addition of a coloured band.
The sexual revolution of the ‘60s was reflected in the fashions of the time – hemlines got shorter and styles were bolder and more daring than previous decades. Miniskirts and whacky prints in clashing colours are the quintessential looks of the time.
This theatrical approach to dressing also affected men’s fashion. Suits in bold colours and fabrics with flared trousers were a popular choice for fashionable young men.
The ‘60s weren’t all about bright colours and flares though – slim line suits in more muted shades were the choice of businessmen of the day. Or opt for a Harrington jacket and cable knit jumper for a more casual look inspired by Steve McQueen.
Colours continued to be bright and bold in the 70’s, but hemlines dropped down as long skirts and dresses became more popular than miniskirts. If floaty maxi dresses aren’t really your thing, consider going for a ‘70s glam look with a silk jumpsuit or slinky gold lame wrap dress.
Men’s dressing became even more flamboyant, with tartan suit jackets, bell-bottom jeans, and a silk scarf creating a popular look of the decade.
Where to Shop for Vintage Clothing
Once you know what to look for, you can start shopping. Vintage shops and markets stock authentic styles from different decades, but they can be on the pricey side.
Charity shops and eBay tend to have cheaper vintage finds, but you may have to do some hunting before you find the perfect piece. If you’re looking for true vintage, avoid anything described as “retro”.
However if you don’t have the time or budget to shop for an original outfit, authentic vintage fashion is certainly not compulsory! Many of today’s fashions are inspired by looks from the past, so see what you can find on the high street and add your own touch with makeup and accessories.