The perils of getting the right Goodwood look without demeaning the event


Author: Martin PortPublished:

It is August, which means I begin the usual deliberation about what to wear at this year’s Goodwood Revival Meeting.

I will admit that my choices are rather limited – due in part to a combination of expanding waistline, wrestler’s neck and Oompa Loompa stature, but that doesn’t stop me opening the wardrobe to stair wistfully at the three-piece tweed suit that I bought from eBay several years ago.

It was a bargain too. £55 if I recall correctly, and tailored for its previous owner (34” waist and 30” inside leg), but I do rather think that they overengineered it slightly. None of this modern ‘fashionable’ tweed: this was built to last and is so weighty that I’m convinced it could have a measurable effect on your MPG down to West Hampnet.

Moving along the coathangers, past the collared shirts that see the light of day only at weddings or funerals, and I’ll come to the bargain moleskin trousers I bought from a Teddington charity shop a few years back. They fit nicely and are remarkably comfortable thanks to the amount of give in the material.

Pairing them with a checked shirt, I could blend in nicely with the other ‘country gents’, so what is the problem? They’re a horrid shade of brown for starters (they’d probably be called Crushed Caramel in a trendy gents outfitters in the big city), and they’re too smooth.

I know, it sounds daft doesn’t it, but they’re so tactile that you suddenly find yourself  gently caressing your own thighs while watching ‘our Stirl’ stuff a Jaguar round Madgwick and that’s never a good thing.

Which brings me back to the usual get-up. Despite arriving in something with four wheels, I usually end up rolling up as ‘faux biker’. Old denim jeans, some sturdy boots, white t-shirt and a jacket adorned with a Triumph patch bought from a Beaulieu autojumbler many years back ‘complete’ the look.  At least when I had a BSA in the garage I could claim some level of authenticity, but not now.

Which brings me neatly to the options for this year. 

I definitely don’t fit into the tweed any more (well, not the trousers at least), and the moleskins are still very touchy-feely. I don’t own a motorbike but I will be going in the Land-Rover which means I could rock up as a farmer. Bale of hay in the back, maybe a small goat? In which case do I go for some dungarees and a bit of straw between my teeth, or something more authentic… which means I’ll be in danger of the country gent look again – just a bit more down at heel and with some muck stains peeping over the top of my wellies.

Alternatively, my Land-Rover is nice and green and looks ‘a bit military’, so I could pop on to eBay and grab myself an old army outfit… except that I have a bit of a moral dilemma where that is concerned. I know it’s all just for fun and effect, but I wouldn’t feel right putting on a service uniform having never actually served. I’m not suggesting everyone who does is wrong, of course – this is just my own peculiar opinion, but it just wouldn’t sit comfortably with me, so that’s off the list too.

Onwards to my final option: mechanic. I’ve even got my eye on a pair of old overalls on eBay, but not the pristine white kind with neatly-pressed seams up the legs. Nope, these are green, dirty and made out of something rather hard-wearing which will look pretty authentic when paired with an old pair of boots and a cap.

But the best bit is, should anything happen to the Landie on the way home, I’m ready to jump in to action without fear of getting oil stains on my velvety slacks AND they won’t need washing at the end of the day. It’s a win-win situation… or it would have been if I’d not just been outbid again. It looks like only one thing is certain: I will NOT be wearing a stick-on moustache.



Chris Martin

Great photos mate! If they don't give you inspiration, nothing will. The top guys with odd socks, string vest, Queen tea caddy and that red stripy tent thing that was always over a hole in the road in the sixties certainly get the right look for the period, though not sure they would have been cheering Graham, Stirling and Innes on in a major GT race, possibly more the dogs at Harringey.
As for the second photo, surely the bikers and the mods behind on the scooters should have been down the road at Brighton kicking seven shades of sh*t out of each other in the sixties rather than mixing it with the gentry. And while the cat with the ciggie on the Triumph nearest the camera looks the part, the modern 'copter above his head doesn't.
Cap'n Mainwaring and Corporal Jones are always welcome, of course, as are any old Maser's, Healeys or whatever. I can't make it this year, but my best guess is (given the Landie) you'll be a tweedy farmer, or grab the old overalls and go for the mechanic look. Either way, I guess Goodwood needs the alternatives to the dressed up sixties look retro fashion victims anyway. Whatever you choose, be sure we get photos!


Chris Martin

On reflection, yeah, I'd be with the blokes in the first photo.....but, whatever happened to the art of pipe smoking?



Having gone to the Revival for the first time last year I was both astonished and heartened at how much effort people had put into their outfits.

True, the good looking and nicely proportioned lot amongst us (a group to which I alas do not belong) will always look good no matter what the attire, but even the roughest of diamonds will generally look better well scrubbed and smartly dressed with some well chosen retro threads....and I guess that applies to the Men too!

This year, I have gone for a Tweed and moleskin ensemble, have attempted to grow some kind of Handlebar/Spitfire Pilot Moustache, much to the hilarity of my work colleagues, and after being sniggered at for pulling on an empty Pipe last year, have learned to smoke one and grown to enjoy it.

Somewhat harshly though, some may remark, I do think that unless you have served, to wear a military uniform is poor taste....and don't get me started on the minority who actually make no effort with a Retro look at all.

It's a Retro event, if you can't accept that, then don't bother to go.


Frankly on the evidence of a virtual takeover by the corporates and the journalists I would suggest pin stripe suit black polished shoes white shirt and old school tie.

Thanks but on recent evidence I would rather stick with e.g. Prescott


I agree with jasper3934. Goodwood has become a corporate entertainment event. It is now too crowded, too expensive and over-hyped by journo's on freebee passes.

and the VSCC have been trying to follow suit with Prescott unfortunately.

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