While entering mid-August does make me feel more than a little sad that summer is soon on its way out, there is one positive to the inexorable creep of the year. It's coming round to one of my favourites events of the autumn, the most excellent Goodwood Revival. If you don't know about the Revival (or missed my posts from previous years), it's a celebration of the golden era of motor sport – the cars and the fashion – as well as plenty of shopping to get stuck into. But since half the fun of the Goodwood Revival, aside from the smell of Castrol R and the people watching, is getting dressed up, putting together a killer vintage outfit is a definite must! So, I thought I'd put together a little guide to sourcing an authentic outfit that fits the Revival time period of 1949-1966, whether you want to go full vintage or modern reproduction with an authentic feel.
Firstly, if you want to find genuine vintage, try eBay and Etsy for the biggest range of options and price-ranges from across the world (you have just about enough time to order a bargain piece from abroad). Buying vintage online is an article in itself, but my top quick tip is to look for metal zips or popper fastenings and avoid anything that's listed as containing polyester or nylon and you won't be caught out with 1980s masquerading as 40s. If budget is less of a concern, there are some fabulous vintage shops in London that would serve as a one-stop shop for a fabulous outfit. The very top of the list (and the budget) is the extremely high end William Vintage, whose couture garments very often fall into the key period for Goodwood. Scarlet Rage is a shop in North London with some absolutely killer vintage at reasonable (for London) prices. Both of these shops have online selections too. For great menswear go to Hunky Dory on Brick Lane. And finally, if you're more into the later end of the time period, check out Atypical Girl, which has an amazing array of 50s and 60s (and even some amazing hippie duds if you fancy sneaking in some later 60s outfits...why not?)
Which brings me onto my next subject: modern reproduction vintage. If practicality is more of a concern, or you prefer modern fabrics and cuts, there are some excellent repro lines around these days. Top of the Revival favourites is Vivien Of Holloway, whose 1950s circle-skirted frocks can be seen everywhere at the event which is either a pro or a con depending on how you look at it! They do plenty of other day and eveningwear styles, too. Atypical Girl also carrys some excellent 50s-60s inspired pieces. The Seamstress of Bloomsbury is another choice for super authentic 40s and early 50s pieces that wash and wear well (from experience!). I also can't fail to recommend Heyday, who make the Fleur wrap dress I've modelled so many times on these pages... I might be biased but it is an excellent mid-century style daywear piece in the loveliest novelty prints! Don't forget to hit What Katie Did for the right underpinnings and seamed nylons for your vintage or repro outfit (they also have a long-established shop at the Revival for any stockings emergencies)!
On the accessories front, footwear brands Rocket Originals and Miss L Fire are an absolute goldmine of vintage style shoes, and they also have a range of very authentic 1950s style Lucite handbags. Betsy Hatter is an excellent place to look for a hat to top off your outfit, or, if the budget is a little broader, Bea & Evie hats and sister brand Ally Fashion make some very high end reproductions. Think pure silk and couture finishing – perfect for driving that vintage car through the Sussex countryside!
Lastly, there are some final things to recommend for your trip to Goodwood Revival. Spare, sensible shoes (anything but high heels) for walking from the car-park to the course, if you aren't driving your classic motor directly inside, of course. An umbrella and sunscreen to cover both weather eventualities – I have experienced all kinds of weather that September weekend! Hairspray to keep your beehive, 1940s poodle or 50s waves in check. A beautiful powder compact to touch up your lipstick and attract approximately 25 wide-angle camera lenses and phone cameras pointed in your direction as you make an unflattering 'lipstick face'... maybe not that last one.
Thanks go to BrewinDolphin for sponsoring this post – I'm even more excited about this year's Revival now. Who will I be bumping into there, then?