The Goodwood Revival Meeting is a three-day festival held each September at Goodwood Racing Circuit in Chichester, West Sussex. The event began in 1998 for the types of road racing cars and motorcycle that would have competed during the circuit’s original period, 1948 - 1966. Most people dress in vintage clothing from those decades while attending the event. It is one of the world’s most popular motor race meetings and the only UK event which recreates the golden era of motor sport from the 1950s and 1960s.
The festival acts as a showcase for exceptional wheel-to-wheel racing around a classic circuit, untouched by the modern world and relives the glory days of Goodwood Circuit, which ranked alongside Silverstone as Britain’s leading racing venue throughout its active years. Between 1948 and 1966 Goodwood hosted contemporary racing of all kinds, including Formula One, the famous Goodwood Nine Hours race and the celebrated Tourist Trophy sports car race.
It is a key event on the calendar for anyone who not only appreciates the history of car racing but also lovers of vintage clothing. Goodwood Revival provides the perfect opportunity to stroll in your vintage finery without feeling the least bit self conscious. You will be among your own and in people watching heaven. There is even a best dressed competition to judge and reward people who have paid great attention to detail and made that extra effort.
Ladies if you are a vintage novice and need a bit of guidance, we have broken down the three main decades to help you find the right look for you. Aim to choose retro clothing for women that suits your figure and that can be worn in comfort because whether you are there for one day or three, they are long days with a fair bit of walking. Not only that the weather may not be behaving itself and you might want to consider light layers especially in September when the evenings tend to be cool even on a pleasant day. To help you decide what to wear for Goodwood Revival, here are a few vintage outfit ideas for each era.
Racing at Goodwood is celebrated from 1948 therefore we would be looking at the late forties silhouette. In the 1940s women’s clothing was forever changed by Christian Dior’s New Look of 1947. This new style of dressing was based around an accentuated waspy waist, full skirts and soft rounded shoulders. This silhouette best suits a slim figure with a small waist as even the jackets followed the same line. However it’s all about the contrast so if you have a thicker waist just go a bit broader on the shoulders and add another layer of petticoat. Nowadays we are seeing many girls with fuller figures adopting the forties fifties pin up look to accentuate their curves. We also have some 1940s inspired dresses in our vintage replica Socialite collection that are a fantastic choice for retro style at any size.
If the weather is poor you can add a light fitted peplum jacket. Your choice of hat to complete the late 40s look would need to be a large brimmed saucer or picture hat. Choose gloves which are crocheted. The most authentic bag for this period would be a skin frame bag or oversized clutch. Crochet bags are also a popular choice; some opt for a basket although they are not as secure due to their open tops.
To complete your look 1940s style take a look at our guide as we have shared many era appropriate hair and beauty tips. A failsafe look would be a pale even skin tone, bold red lipstick, eye liner and hair in rolls. Hair in the late 40s was cut shorter with tighter curls to help balance those large hats but there’s nothing to stop you from going all out with some large Victory Rolls instead. For shoes, a pair of your own clumpy look courts or Mary Janes will be fine. We sell great seamed tights that are less bother than stockings whilst retaining the texture & quality of old style nylons. Choose from nude with nude seams or black seams for a bit more glamour.
If you prefer clothing that is less structured then the fifties wardrobe might suit you better. You could opt for a comfortable cotton day dress in one of the great prints around at the time. Although the skirts are often still full they had flat open pleats which is a very flattering shape for all ages. There is also a choice of neckline so there is bound to be one that flatters your décolletage. Choose from jewel (round), boat or Peter Pan collars. Another option is a shirtwaist dress which as the name suggests has a shirt-like button through bodice with a revere collar. Shirtwaist dresses are both comfortable and stylish so they would be perfect for this event. Wiggle dresses were another type of silhouette often seen in the 50s. These form-fitting dresses featured hip pleats and a pencil skirt. The tight hem didn't allow for a long stride, so women 'wiggled' when they walked. Why not wear one and wiggle your way around Goodwood?! For cooler spells you can add a short shrug, home knit cardigan or bolero jacket.
To finish off your 50s inspired look, a pair of cotton gloves in a complimentary colour will enhance your outfit. Add a smaller hat and a bag in a boxier shape. You will see some carrying a solid Lucite bag. They are very lovely but not the most practical. Chunky lidded baskets are a good alternative. A pair of retro cat eye sunglasses always look cool with a fifties style outfit. The good news is you don’t have to ram your feet into a pair of super pointed winkle pickers. Any of these 50s dresses would look good with a pair of low heeled sandals or pumps. For hair, curly looks were popular with any length. You could try a fifties bouffant hairstyle by using rollers and then teasing the hair to create height on the top and sides. A simple ponytail or hair scarf can give you a quick fifties look with less effort. The 1950s were all about pastels, clothing was almost always pastel and this impacted on makeup trends too. Lipstick was usually pink and peachy-cream rouge was a favourite for the cheeks. This didn’t stop the popularity of red lipstick though! On the eyes, little eyeshadow was used but some women did like to match it to the colour of their outfit. To keep things simple just go for black liquid liner with sharp wings at the end.
Women’s fashion became even more playful during the Swinging Sixties. Long hemlines were replaced by mini skirts, pastel prints were now bright and bold psychedelic patterns, and pixie crops, most famously sported by Twiggy, replaced pin curled locks. Although they tend to be shorter in length, the 1960s shift or A-line shape can suit most figures. You can opt for bold patterned lighter weight fabrics or a heavier weight crimplene which disguises lumps and bumps well as the fabric holds you in. After all, we don’t all have a figure like Twiggy! Don’t worry not all 60s dresses were minis, in fact they were only introduced 2 years before the celebration period of Goodwood Revival. If you do go short you can always add some long fitted boots. You can get away with wearing opaque tights which are great for covering up imperfections. Gloves again look cute and choose a hat that is small and neat like a pill box. Add extra warmth if you need it with a short boxy cardigan or jacket.
Hair and makeup are incredibly important if you want a get an authentic sixties look. If you don’t have a short Twiggy haircut, the beehive has to be the most iconic style of the time. For something a bit sexier, go for a voluminous blown out style a la Raquel Welch or Brigitte Bardot. In terms of makeup Twiggy’s doll-like look was era defining. Use a base that will give you a matte, even complexion and swipe on a pale nude lipstick. The eyes are the real focus of this look with black liquid liner just above the lashes as well as in the crease. Apply lashings of black mascara or falsies. White eyeliner in the waterline will help you to get that wide doll eye look. Finish off by drawing fake bottom lashes with some more liquid liner.
Of course all of these decades can be copied using elements of modern clothing or even fancy dress, however there is nothing like the real deal. True vintage clothing doesn’t just allow you to look the part, it helps you feel the part. You become a beautiful living piece of history for the day that sets you apart and helps get you into the spirit of the decade like you have literally just stepped back in time. And don’t forget, if you’re planning on entering the best dressed competition the key is authenticity!