Goodwood Revival Costumes – 50’s Costumes for women

Posted by Jen on 10/09/2012 in Fashion Ideas with Comments closed |

With the weekend getting closer, many already have their Goodwood Revival costumes already. However, for the not so organised amongst us, we have prepared some 50’s costumes ideas for women.

The 50’s were instrumental in the fashion world. The world had largely recovered from World War II, meaning that new technologies, music and fashion were all prominent features in the news. During the War, designers were warned not waste materials as they may be needed for servicemen’s uniforms. This meant that designers had limited resources and had to cut back on ‘frills’ and pockets.

The start of fashion in the 50’s was actually created in 1947 by Christian Dior. The ‘House of Dior’ collection went down in history as the post war ‘new look’. The signature shape of the ‘House of Dior’ was a below the calf full skirt, pointed bust, small waist and shoulder line. Dior stated that skirts should only ever be 12” or 15” off the ground, then nipped in at the waist. Strapless designs were created for evening ballgowns as bust-lines were accentuated and waistlines raised.

After having such limited supplies during the War, the feminine look was really prized, with long gloves and pearls becoming more and more popular. As the look became even more popular, there were different alternatives created. By the mid 50’s, the wiggle dress had also been designed and was becoming increasingly popular. The wiggle dress is defined as being narrower at the hem line than it is at the hips. The narrowness causes your legs to keep close together at the knees, causing a ‘wiggle’ as you walk.

Much of 50’s fashion is still popular today. The 50’s was all about independence and freedom. The war was over and this was the era of mass produced clothing and standardised sizes. Women also started to wear trousers more, having been forced to during wartime. Unlike during the War when women were forced to wear their husbands old trousers, trousers were actually designed for women. These included pedal pushers, Bermuda shorts and tapered leggings. It was finally acceptable for women to wear the same as men. The 50’s was really a decade of change and innovations for fashion, which led well to the most radical era for fashion, the 1960’s.


For Goodwood Revival costumes and any other fancy dress needs, then visit the Mad Hatters Fancy Dress website.

Goodwood Revival Costumes – 50’s costumes for men

Posted by Jen on 03/09/2012 in 50's fashion with Comments closed |

The 1950’s were iconic for fashion and so play a big part in Goodwood Revival costumes. The war ended in 1945 after seven long years and much of the 40’s was spent dealing with the aftermath. However the 1950’s saw a new era and rather than being concerned about rationing and survival, it was a time of celebration and freedom.

Many designers tried to take on the task of redesigning fashion for the world and many succeeded in changing the style. For men, this decade was shaped by different subcultures of teddy boys, greasers and rockers.

The teddy boy trend arose as income increased post war. The subculture was inspired by Saville Row tailors trying to increase their revenue and customer base after the war. The look started in London and rapidly spread across the UK, becoming associated with American rock and roll. The style was very much that of the Edwardian era with tapered trousers, long jackets and fancy waistcoats. This was where the name ‘Teddy boys’ came from, as Edward shortens down to Teddy. Whilst other groups had tried to distinguish themselves from others the Teddy’s were the first to manage this, differentiating themselves as teenagers and helping to create a youth market.

So what exactly is the teddy boy look? The teddy boys was all about swank and exhibition. Teddy boy clothing included dark drape jackets, sometimes distinguished with a velvet trim collar and pocket flaps. The typical look also included high waist drainpipe trousers which would expose the socks. The favoured footwear included polished Oxfords, brogues or any other suede shoes. Underneath the suit they would wear a white shirt, a narrow ‘Slim Jim’ or western ‘Maverick’ tie. The preferred hairstyle was long, moulded and greased-up up hair with a quiff at the front, then side combed back. The 1970’s also saw a revival of the Teddy Boy look, inspired by designers like Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm Mclaren.

Another popular look for the 1950’s was the Rocker look, later to be known as the Greasers. This was centred around the bikers subculture. Up until the World War Britain held a prestigious position and was associated with glamour and wealth. From the 1950’s Brits were able to afford to buy motor cars, the poorer of society would drive motorcycles. 

If you are attending the Goodwood Revival this year then give us a call at Mad Hatters on 01580 830757 for help in finding the perfect outfit.  You can also visit our website on 

Hairstyles for Goodwood Revival

Posted by Jen on 31/08/2012 in Goodwood Revival with Comments closed |

As we have already discussed, the 40’s and 50’s were great era’s for fashion. But once you’ve created your perfect outfit for the Goodwood Revival, then it’s important not to forget the finishing touches such as your hair and make up.

First of all, make up. Ladies, lips should be red. This is the hallmark of make up in the 1940’s. Go for as bright a red as your clothing will allow, remember this should be classy so if you are wearing bright coloured clothes which would not match bright red lips then tone it down. Lips are supposed to stand out and be noticeable so don’t be afraid of bright colours!

Blusher was also popular. You should go for the porcelain look rather than tanned, so use a foundation which is no darker than your skin colour, then finish it off with blusher. The blusher should go on your cheeks, nose and forehead. Eye make up wasn’t bright in the 1940’s, so go for darker colours. Mascara and eye liners should be applied for 1950’s dress.

Hairstyles were very prominent in this era. Perhaps one of the most recognisable looks and one of the most flattering was the victory rolls. To create this look, first section off and roll a thick strand of hair into a circle either between two fingers or with two knitting needles. Once close to the scalp pin it down inside allowing the curl to stand up on it’s own. It will take a lot of practice to achieve the desired look, and you can have as many rolls as you like. The key is to keep them as smooth as possible. Top reverse rolls are swept up away from the face, rolled and pinned toward the top of the head. Side reverse rolls are one of the most familiar of the 1940’s hairstyles. This style is popular on most women, because it is good for most face types and figures.

Hair had a lot of volume throughout the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s, so make sure you have plenty of hairspray at the ready when doing your vintage hair. Curls were also popular during this period so if you would prefer not to have the victory rolls you could simply curl your hair then back comb it to give it volume. Spray lots of hairspray to keep in place.

Style was extremely important during this era, so make sure you finish off your outfits with the correct make up and hairstyles. If you have any problems then please contact Mad Hatters and we can point you in the right direction for more tips.



RAF Uniforms to hire for the Goodwood Revival

Posted by Jen on 22/08/2012 in Goodwood Revival with Comments closed |

Each year Mad Hatters Fancy Dress invest time and money into getting the best outfits for the Goodwood Revival. This year’s new additions, are a range of RAF uniformsincluding flight suits for the men, and some wonderful new full skirt and flirty fifties dresses.

For the men, the Flying suits are a great alternative to the formality of the RAF uniforms, Army uniforms or Naval Suits; all of which Mad Hatters have in stock in their shop for hire, in a wide variety of sizes.

Another style also worn at the Revival, are the country casual 1940’s suits and Jackets. Again Mad Hatters have a good selection of Tweed suits, Herringbone tweed, and Norfolk Jackets, as well as the superb Pinstripe suits, suitable for the ‘1940s Spiv’s’.

If the men fancy something a little more flamboyant then perhaps a Teddy boy suit, 60’s Beatnik velvet jacket or a frilled shirt… Or perhaps a mod jacket might be more your style. At Mad Hatters they have a wide range of appropriate period costumes for the Goodwood Gentleman, spanning all three decades.

For the ladies, fashion is at the heart of Goodwood, and style is of the up most importance at Mad Hatters. Whether you favour the formality and sophistication of the 40’s with Mad Hatters couture wiggle dresses, or tailored 40’s suits, or the fifties Rock ‘n Roll full skirted polka dot 50’s dresses and bolero’s, Mad Hatters is only a phone call away.

Mad Hatters also cater for the working girls, with their Land Girl outfits (with headscarf’s), WAAF uniforms, or perhaps a 1940’s nurse. Mad Hatters also have a fine selection of Mary Quant style dresses and boots, for those ladies who fancy a more ‘up to date’ style. They stock a good range of seamed tights, red lipsticks and of course the all important period eyelashes, for that extra glamorous look.

When planning your outfit for the Goodwood Revival this year (whether it be an RAF Uniform, or a tailored 40’s suit), make sure you call Mad Hatters Fancy Dress on 01580 830757, or visit their website at to discuss your requirements.

Ladies at Goodwood

Posted by Jen on 17/08/2012 in Fashion Ideas with Comments closed |

The Goodwood Revival is literally a step back in time. Everyone dresses for the occasion with some people pulling out all the stops for the event. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to join in with the fun.

Regular visitors to the Revival say their experience of the event is further enhanced by taking part in the historical theme by dressing up. We at Mad Hatters personally attend the event each year so are able to give you first hand advice on what you should and shouldn’t wear.

For this years event, we have created a section on our website which is dedicated to clothing for the Goodwood Revival weekend. We have carefully selected the best fashion’s from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s and put them all in one place ready for you to hire. The costumes come in a variety of sizes so there really is something for everyone.

The 40’s, 50’s and 60’s were all key periods for fashion, much of which wouldn’t look out of place on the high street today.

Traditionally, ladies fashion during this period was immaculate, smart and sophisticated. It was very rare for ladies in the 1940’s to wear trousers, so our rule is to always wear a dress or skirt for these types of events. The 1940’s look was very tailored and smart. Ladies generally would wear a dress with fascinator hats, fur shawls and little gloves. The dresses in this era are very much like you would see within an office today.

For 50’s dress we recommend a dress with a swing skirt, or a top and swing skirt. In the 50’s, bigger was better, so the bigger your skirt the more authentic it will look. These looks really look complete with red lipstick and stockings.

The swinging 60’s was a revolution for fashion and was a decade which really broke traditions. This decade included the creation of the mini skirt and the bikini, it was the period where women really stood up for what they believed in and it showed through their choice of clothes. Clothes were used as a means of expression.

All costumes we have mentioned are available through this website for a small hire fee. Don’t get caught out and ensure you are dressed for Goodwood. We also have a mini blog site which provides more detail into different costumes and eras. If you require any assistance please give our team a call who will be more than happy to help.


Goodwood Revival Costumes – Men 40’s Wartime

Posted by Jen on 15/08/2012 in 40's fashion, Fashion Ideas, Goodwood Revival with Comments closed |

The 1940’s were a tough time for most of the world. It was a time of austerity, which the fashion of the period reflects through its colours and cut of clothing.

Austerity affected men’s clothes during the wartime years just as it did women’s. Pre-war suits would have been made from wool, cotton or another expensive material, whereas during the war they were made from synthetic materials in order to cut costs.

A group of British designers joined together to become the Incorporated Society of Fashion Designers. There purpose was to create a line of designs that would be affordable and hard wearing. The group made the most out of materials available and created over thirty different designs.

One example was the British Utility suit which was designed by Edward Molyneaux. There was nothing special about these suits, they were made from wool-synthetic blend yarns and were very simply-cut. They had no pleats, turn ups or patch pockets like previous suits. The jackets were shorter, trousers narrower and waistcoats were no longer made in order to save materials. The suits didn’t even have pockets as they needed to save on material.

Most men who were able to would continue to wear their pre-war suits, however these would not have been as hard wearing which meant that many had to conform wear the British Utility suit.

These suits fitted in with the ‘mend and make do’ mentality and were very plain and drab to look at. Colours were very dark, fitting in with the dark era. Greens, navy, red and grey were all popular colours for clothing. This was largely due to the colours which were used within military personnel uniforms.

Of course, much of the country were military personnel which meant they were provided with their own uniforms. There was a wide range of military uniforms depending on what section you were in. For example, RAF uniforms, army uniforms, air wardens and navy uniforms were all popular. For fancy dress in particular many men like to dress up in one of these uniforms as it is the smartest way to embrace the 1940’s. Due to the nature of the Goodwood Revival event, military uniform is always popular as it fits with the RAF theme.

We have a very wide range of uniforms fit for Goodwood Revival costume use, some of which are on our website so take a look and give us a call on 01580 830757 for any assistance required.  

Goodwood Revival Costumes – Ladies 40’s Wartime clothing

Posted by Jen on 13/08/2012 in 40's fashion, Fashion Ideas, Goodwood Revival with Comments closed |

As we have already seen, there are many Goodwood Revival costumes you can choose from. Many people go to great lengths to dress the part for the Goodwood Revival weekend, resulting in a step back in time authentic look.

We are now going to look in more detail at how you can achieve that specific look of ladies 1940’s style. War time rationing led to many restrictions which affected the number of new clothes that people could buy. It also affected the amount of fabric that clothing manufacturers could use. Women working within the military services, as nurses or such like, adapted to wearing trousers as it was a practical necessity.

The nylon stocking was introduced into the USA in the 1940’s and proved highly successful, however it had to later be withdrawn as the material was needed for military parachutes. This shows how tough the times were. Women had to make do with materials which were accessible. In order to create the illusion of stockings, women would use tan make up on their legs and draw a seam line in eye pencil along the back of their legs. Otherwise they could join the WRNS, who used stockings as a cunning way of recruitment. When nylon stockings reappeared in the shops there were ‘nylon riots’ as customers fought over the deliveries.

In Britain, clothing was also strictly rationed, perhaps more strictly, with a points system. The board of trade issued regulations for ‘utility clothes’ in 1941 and in 1942 America followed suit, issuing strict restrictions for every item of women’s clothing.

During wartime, women wore skirts at or near knee length, with simply-cut blouses or shirts and square shouldered jackets. Magazines provided advice for women on how they could remake their men’s suits into smart outfits for themselves. This was because men had no use for their old suits as they would have been wearing military uniform.

Make do and mend was a popularly coined phrase used throughout wartime Britain. As the ethos grew, so did the ideas. Women would recycle old clothes, using outgrown items to remake clothes for children. More glamorous clothing was severely rationed and often sold on the black market at a high price.

When dressing up in 1940’s costumes much of Goodwood prefer to wear the glamorous screen image encapsulated by Hollywood films of the 1940’s. This included beautiful furs and perfectly styled hats and gloves. We should remember however how difficult the 1940’s were, glamorous clothes which we can now wear for these events were not readily available in wartime Britain.

If you are attending the Goodwood Revival this year then give us a call at Mad Hatters on 01580 830757 for help in finding the perfect outfit.  You can also visit our website on



Ladies Day Goodwood Revival

Posted by Jen on 08/08/2012 in Goodwood Revival with Comments closed |

As we have briefly discussed in previous blogs, one event we love is Ladies Day at Goodwood Revival. So this year we will be attending Ladies Day.

Goodwood Revival is as much about dressing up and fancy dress as it is about cars, so it’s no surprise that they are the only motor sport event to hold a dedicated Ladies Day. The main event is of course the motor sport which is the main reason people go to Goodwood Revival. However in order to make it a family event it is important to have something for everyone, which is where Ladies Day comes in.

Ladies Day first became popular in horse racing, with every horse track offering a Ladies Day each year. The purpose of Ladies Day is to give ladies the chance to dress up and get rid of their men for a few hours! This has captured the attention of the nation, always being popular within the horse racing circuit and now being captured at Goodwood Revival weekend.

The revival always offers car racing, vintage air displays and more, but for us, as a fancy dress shop we are most interested in the Revival outfits. Ladies day this year takes place during the Goodwood Revival weekend. Whilst the ladies enjoy to dress up over the whole weekend, this is when the most effort is made as the best dressed wins a prize.

This year Goodwood Revival is set to be bigger than ever with Vintage at Goodwood bringing together the best vintage shops, costumes, cars and air displays than ever before. The Goodwood Revival is the best place to see fashions of all decades, ages and genders.

Personally, we think this particular Goodwood event means red lipstick, seamed tights and beautiful vintage hats. We always take a camera to Goodwood as there are so many fantastic outfits. We often see many of our dresses which have been hired out, and as you can imagine there is nothing more satisfying than seeing our costumes on people.

Some people find it daunting trying to come up with a costume to wear. So if you’re struggling and planning to attend Goodwood Revival Ladies Day then please give us a call at Mad Hatters and let us dress you in our beautiful dresses. Similarly, if you hire an outfit please take lots of photos and share them with us. 

If you are attending the Goodwood Revival this year then give us a call at Mad Hatters on 01580 830757 for help in finding the perfect outfit.  You can also visit our website on



Taking children to the Goodwood Revival

Posted by Jen on 31/07/2012 in Goodwood Revival with Comments closed |

Many people are understandably a little dubious about taking children to Goodwood Revival.  At such a young age children tend to reek havoc very quickly and cost a fortune! Also, many are uninterested in vintage items, after all they’ve grown up with computer games! The Goodwood Revival however is completely different.  First of all, as an added bonus children go free up to the age of thirteen!

Secondly, you can (and we always do!) take a picnic which means that they will eat and be less ratty. If a lunch is provided at a venue, my heart always sinks as my boys nibble away at bits that have cost me a fortune, and then it inevitably ends up in the bin. So big thumbs up with the Revival for being able to take picnic’s in.

Thirdly, living on the premises with a costume shop means that my boys are always keen to dress up, but are rarely allowed in as they make such an awful mess, and it is slightly off putting for customers if, whilst undressing, the changing room curtain is whipped back and a three year old wants you out so they can try on batman for the 15th time. The Goodwood Revival, however, provides the perfect opportunity to dress my boys in something vintage looking, a tank top, shirt, cap and shorts, for me to brush their hair to one side and for them to look REALLY cute.

Fourthly. There are loads of vintage rides for the children to play on. Admittedly these are not free, but they consist of rides that most children today rarely get to see, ie not digital!  The Carousel was particularly fun as it had old Bikes fashioned on to it, and my boys felt they were racing!

Finally of course, the kids loved the air displays, motor car racing (vintage or not, they liked the noise), they were intrigued by the dancing, the cinema and they loved the ear peice they got telling them what was going on.  All in all Goodwood Revival is a great family day out!

Finding Vintage style outfits though for children is somewhat challenging. So we have had 1940’s girls dresses, cardigans, 1940’s boys pullovers/ tank tops, caps, shorts and shirts made up specifically for rental for the Goodwood Revival. For 1940’s children’s costumes, we have gone down the route of making garments that are not to far away from school uniforms, so are easy to wear and you don’t mind them having fun in. For the 50’s children’s outfits, we have small leather jackets for the boys, and full 50’s children’s dresses in various sizes as well for hire.

If you are attending the Goodwood Revival this year then give us a call at Mad Hatters on 01580 830757 for help in finding the perfect outfit.  You can also visit our website on


Fancy Dress costumes for the Swinging Sixties

Posted by Jen on 30/07/2012 in 60's fashion, Goodwood Revival with Comments closed |

The 60’s saw lots of diverse trends being picked up, making it a exciting area for fancy dress. Having been through decades of War, rationing and depression the fashion industry had at last revived itself inventing many fashion trends which are still popular today.

During the 60’s many social taboo’s were broken, this included sexism and racism. Due to this, the sixties will always be known the era for change. The ‘swinging sixties’ is famous for its music, social trends and fashions. The most popular fashion being psychedelic prints, bright colours and mismatched patterns. The bikini and mini skirt were just two items invented in this era. The mini skirt was invented in 1964 by Mary Quant and with that, fashion changed forever.

The invention of the mini skirt meant women had even more choice when it came to fashion, it created a world of micro skirts and mini dresses. It also means even more options when dressing up!

The 60’s is a very fun period to dress up from. It encourages new styles, bright colours and rebellion. This was the period where teenagers started to have a voice and it showed through their choice of clothing and music.

We have a variety of fun 60’s costumes available on the Mad Hatters website. For girls we have lots of psychedelic costumes including the Tessa pink and black dress with matching cap. This costume has square blocks and is a mini quant dress, perfectly capturing the sixties theme. The matching hat also embraces the sixties fashion. This dress would look great accessorised with long socks and platform heels. Bright jewellery would also set this outfit apart from the others. There are other styles of dresses women can also choose from.

For the men we have the iconic Sergeant Pepper Beatles costumes. The Beatles were a huge part of the sixties and we have all four costumes available. The costumes include matching trousers and jackets. They also look perfect accessorised with a 60’s wig and matching shoes which are also available for hire. For the men we also have the Flower Power Hippy costume. This is exactly as it says and can be partnered with the female outfit to make a great couples costumes.

Our website has lots of outfits for any era whether you be dressing for the 40’s, 50’s or swinging 60’s. All of these are great eras for fancy dress as our costumes show.

If you are attending the Goodwood Revival this year then give us a call at Mad Hatters on 01580 830757 for help in finding the perfect outfit.  You can also visit our website on


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