For most, dressing in period clothing is a hobby, albeit a passionate one. “The attention to detail these guys have is unbelievable,” he says, “and their historical knowledge is vast.” For a few, however, it has led to a further career in TV and film, either as extras or as historical experts, drafted on to sets to ensure accuracy. Richard “Dicky” Bass, 26, is a re-enactor and costumer who is hired by film studios to assemble outfits and ensure authenticity. His credits include The Legend of Tarzan, the forthcoming Churchill biopic Darkest Hour, and Allied with Brad Pitt – on whom he made quite an impression. “I was asked to show Mr Pitt the proper saluting technique, and I was wearing a cropped, American-made, suede jacket that I’d found in a charity shop. It transpired that Mr Pitt took rather a liking to my jacket and it’s no coincidence that the one he wears in the film closely resembles my own!”
Bass came to re-enactment through watching black-and-white films with his father and then, his interest in World War II ignited, “My mother did a first-class job of nurturing that spark with Action Men, history books and my own pint-sized uniforms,” he says. He now has a wardrobe that spans two rooms, a barn, a stable and two sheds, and he was the proud winner of Goodwood Revival’s “Best Dressed” award last year. “I wear vintage, or vintage-inspired, clothing every day,” he says. “A large proportion of my wardrobe consists of original 1930s-’40s pieces. I guess it’s because they were built to last, both in design and manufacture.