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What to wear at The Goodwood Revival


For lovers of vintage cars and vintage clothing, the annual Goodwood Revival is a must, but do you have to dress up for Goodwood Revival and where do you buy the perfect clothes and accessories?

What is Goodwood Revival?

A three-day event held annually since 1998, Goodwood Revival at the Goodwood racing circuit in West Sussex, celebrates the vehicles and style of the circuit’s golden age 1948-1966. Goodwood Revival 2022 will take place between Friday 16th September and Sunday 18th September.

Unlike events at Royal Ascot, where visitors are required to adhere to a strict dress code, the Goodwood Revival has no such code, but visitors are encouraged to embrace the spirit of those halcyon days.

What to wear at Goodwood Revival

Men cannot go wrong with a glen check patterned suit as worn by James Bond – think the iconic grey 3-piece from Connery’s Goldfinger (1964), Lazenby’s blue ensemble in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) and even Craig’s darker number from Skyfall (2012) which took us back to Bond’s earlier outings when styled with a navy tie and black Derby shoes (the Oxford shoe’s less formal cousin). Alternatively, the classic combination of double-breasted blue blazer with cavalry twill trousers will always pass muster. Gloves are a must, as are plain, wool socks and a trilby or racing felt will complete the look. Never wear a tie pin with a waistcoat, however, and always carry a discreet gentleman’s umbrella.

Goodwood Revival outfits for ladies

Encompassing the three decades that many believe to be the finest for fashion, the Goodwood Revival offers a wide choice for ladies to choose from. Lovers of vintage 40s clothes should look to the latter part of the decade as the revival weekend celebrates racing from 1948; slim silhouettes with accentuated waists, full skirts and soft shoulders can be worn with a fitted peplum jacket. A less structured silhouette is reminiscent of the following decade, and vintage 1950s clothes include shirtwaist dresses and pencil skirts, paired with bolero jackets and boxed bags. 1960s vintage clothing takes us to the demure A-line dress, monochrome styling and, in the later part of the decade just after the Goodwood age, the mini skirt and psychedelic prints.

How to buy vintage clothing

Aficionados of vintage wear understand that sizes differ greatly from contemporary pieces. Our forbears were considerably smaller and slimmer than we are, so always buy bigger and have it tailored to fit. Look for quality fabrics too, which will have stood the test of time but always, always buy items in good condition. Beware also of retro clothing when searching for a Goodwood Revival outfit; retro refers to the appearance of the garment and it will be inspired by the style or pattern of the original, while a vintage piece will be authentic from the period. Look for an original label or a dressmaker/tailor’s label but do not be put off if any of these are missing, as many vintage clothes were handmade in the spirit of ‘make do and mend’.  

Where to buy clothes for Goodwood Revival

If you know what to look for, vintage gems can be found on markets, in charity shops, and at car boot sales. However, the less experienced buyer will do better placing their trust in the specialist collectors and dealers at centres like Hemswell, who will be able to date and authenticate items accurately and may be able to provide some background and provenance for you.

We have a small selection of men’s vintage clothing and women’s vintage clothing online, but to experience the large selection on offer from an increasing number of dealers, a trip to Hemswell is not to be missed. Offering everything from tweed jackets and caps to outfits and accessories from the 1940s, 50s and 60, our dealers can be found in Buildings 1,2, and 3.

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