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.