Goodwood Revival 1940s Women's Style Guide
At this time of year, there are vintage events and festivals dotted all around the country to celebrate bygone eras. The annual Goodwood Revival from the 8th to the 10th of September is a firm favourite vintage event with us here at The Seamstress of Bloomsbury, and we want to help you look as fabulous as possible! Here’s some 1940s inspiration to help you plan your nostalgic outfit for this year's Revival.
It wasn’t only the men who wore uniforms during the war! Women on the homefront took on a multitude of roles to fill the gaps men had left, from working in factories to the British Armed Forces. These uniforms were always stylish for the time as they were a huge advertisement for getting women to sign up to these roles, with some being more popular than others purely based on what the uniform looked like!
It is possible to buy original 1940s uniforms, but these may not be the cheapest of options. There are plenty of reproduction brands that make authentic uniforms available for both men and women.
- Princess Elizabeth in her Auxiliary Territorial Service uniform
- Poster for the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force
- Photo of Women’s Royal Navy Service uniform
- Photo of Maureen Dunlop de Popp, an Air Transport Auxiliary pilot
The formality of uniforms definitely isn’t for everyone. More casual 1940s styles include shirtwaist dresses, a popular style for the era, or relaxed-fitting trousers with an accompanying blouse/shirt. These styles are much more relaxed and comfortable - with all the walking that there is to do at Goodwood Revival these kinds of styles are an easy yet fabulous option.
- Seamstress Milly Shirtwaist Dress in Red Polka Dot
- Vintage sewing patterns with shirtwaist dresses and wrap dresses
- Hedy Lamarr wearing a casual outfit whilst photographed. Recreate using Lucy Blouse and Tailored Audrey Trousers from Seamstress
It wouldn’t be a vintage event without some dancing. Revival hosts dancing sessions throughout the weekend so you can dance to your heart's content! A full-circle skirt is a classic for dancing, and a petticoat underneath gives a dancing skirt some flair. T-bar or strapped shoes will be an ideal choice to keep your feet nice and secure whilst dancing.
- Seamstress Poppy blouse and Isabelle skirt, paired with a vintage style petticoat for extra volume and matching accessories
- Seamstress Mae dress in Blossom pink - the dress swings out into a full circle when dancing (also a dress currently being used in the London stage performanceGuys and Dolls)
- Seamstress Lucy blouse and Circle skirt
- Vintage image showing a dancing couple
WOMEN’S LAND ARMY
Another iconic style from the 1940s. The WLA were a band of women who helped sustain and boost Britain's food production during the Second World War, and at its peak in 1944, more than 80,000 women kept Britain fed. WLA outfits were practical, consisting usually of a green jumper, shirt, breeches or overalls, and some work-appropriate shoes. Just because this job was manual didn’t stop the ladies from sprucing up their outfits with styled hair with headscarves and the iconic victory red lipstick.
- Classic land army outfit with an iconic green jumper and brown breeches
- Seamstress Grace blouse and Cable Knit Slipover
- A pair of brown dungarees or sometimes overalls
GOLDEN AGE OF HOLLYWOOD
Looking for a more glamorous outfit? The classic Hollywood style may be for you! These styles were not too elaborate thanks to worldwide fashion rationing, but they exuded Hollywood sophistication. Figure-hugging dresses and stylish two-piece outfits were popular with Hollywood actresses both on and off-screen.
- Posters from iconic 1940s films Casablanca and You Were Never Lovelier - looking at 1940s films is a good starting place to look for outfit ideas
- Seamstress Lilian dress in Lipstick Red, a classic figure-hugging style
- Inspiration from film stars such as Grace Kelly and Lauren Bacall
- Seamstress Greta blouse in cream and Audrey trousers in Hampton Green
UTILITY CC41 STYLE
Fashion was certainly on theration in Britain in the 1940s. 1942 saw the introduction of ‘utility’ clothing to help standardise the production, sale, and purchase of clothing in wartime. These garments were marked with the ‘CC41’ label and were an affordable way for women to invest in new clothing when finances were stretched thin.
- Seamstress Lauren Siren Suit - iconic 1940s garment for women to wear over their clothes when evacuating into bomb bunkers/shelters, even Churchillhad his own which helped boost the garment's popularity
- Inspiration from original CC41 utility garments
- Seamstress Polly CC41 dress which is based on an original CC41 garment from our archive
- Deborah Kerrhelped to make utility clothing more popular with the British public
HAIR & MAKE-UP
Authentic 1940s-style rolls and curls are an absolute must. There are so many varieties of styles from victory curls to pompadours, but it's important to go with a style that you're most comfortable with as they can be tricky to execute by yourself!
1940s make-up can be as simple as a subtle winged eyeliner, filling out your brows with a touch of pencil, and finishing it off with a classic red lipstick. Eyeshadow was usually light and matched your eye colour or the outfit that you're wearing.
Goodwood Revival also has its own salon and beauty parlour where you can book an appointment and pay a professional to give you a truly authentic hairdo and make-up if you aren't too confident in your own abilities. Do make sure to book these in advance as they are extremely popular!
Explore to complete your look:
- What Katie Did - perfect for vintage style stockings and lingerie
- Glamour Daze - offers a range of make-up and hair tutorials
- Vintage Dancer - a blog with extensive research into vintage styles
- Splendette - offers a range of 1940s&1950s jewellery
- Retropeepers - vintage style eyewear
- Etsy - a perfect marketplace to find vintage accessories including hats and snoods
- Bésame Cosmetics - make-up inspired by iconic colours of the 1940s