How to get your wardrobe Revival ready

11th January 2022
Rae Ritchie

Whether you’re a regular Revival-goer who wants to change up their usual look or a first timer who’s not sure where to start when it comes to putting an outfit together, a little vintage style inspiration never goes amiss.


Armed with such inspiration are the staff who manage some of the best vintage charity shops up and down the country. Not only are they immersed in vintage clothing and accessories day in, day out, but their enthusiasm for and knowledge of various eras is vital to the success of their stores.

Here, these aficionados share how they would dress a customer ready for Revival along with looks that you too can recreate. They also reveal their ultimate dream donation. Stumble upon one of these and that’s your Revival wardrobe sorted.


Fabulous forties and fifties

What they’d select for a customer visiting Revival isn’t just a theoretical question for these vintage charity shop managers – some have first-hand experience of it. “When we have customers who are attending Goodwood [Revival], I try to find out the style they would like [to wear],” says Tracey Chippett, who runs the St Clare Hospice fundraising store Scarlet Vintage and Retro in Harlow, Essex. “It’s all about what our customer feels comfortable and special in.”

A fifties look is always popular. “Most customers like a polka dot fit-and-flare dress with a net underskirt,” continues Chippett. “We team this with a beautiful hat or floral hair accessory and a pair of Mary Jane shoes.”

Another popular choice comes from World War Two. “Some customers like the Land Girl look where we pick out dungarees and a headscarf,” says Chippett.

Others homed in on this era, too. “If we were going to style a customer for Revival, we would focus on a 1940s outfit,” says Sharna Jordan, deputy manager at the St Barnabas Hospice Shop in Lincoln. “We’d choose a floral tea dress, paired with some seamed tights, a simple button up cardigan and some Mary Jane shoes. “To accessorise, we’d choose a vintage basket, some pearls and some gloves. Finally, we’d choose a small fascinator to go alongside those Victory rolls.”

Beth Heale, online sales manager for the Florence Nightingale Hospice Shop in Buckingham, suggests another classic forties’ look: tweed tailoring. “There’s nothing quite as flattering as finding a well-fitting jacket and waistcoat, especially against a crisp collar,” she says. “We have a great selection of tweed and the accessories to really set it off.”

Louise Ball, a regional manager at the British Heart Foundation whose area includes the vintage-dedicated Manchester Piccadilly store, chose similarly. “It would have to be a classic ‘40s outfit,” she responded. “Keep it simple with a square shoulder jacket, blouse matching the skirt and a tailored felt, feathered hat to create an elegant feminine look.”


Styles from the sixties

“An outfit for Goodwood would be lovely to create [at the shop],” says Sarah Potts, manager of Pilgrims Hospice Shop in Tenterden, Kent. Her choice was pure 1960s: “A nippy little suit in a vivid colour, cropped jacket and mini skirt, with colourful tights, some elegant sling backs with a low heel, a contrasting silk scarf tucked into the high collar of the cropped jacket and a pillbox hat with matching handbag in patent leather. Oh, and a large brooch!”

A Jackie Kennedy twist on this look came from Emma Danley, manager St Peters Hospice Shop, Westbury Hill, Bristol. “A dress with a small pillbox hat and small heel shoes,” she suggests.

Such period touches elevate any vintage outfit, as Gemma Burgess of Barnados Vintage in Cheadle, Greater Manchester, notes. “I’m a big fan of using staple pieces and pairing them with great accessories such as shoes, bags, costume jewellery and head wear,” she says.


Try out trousers

If you’d like to try something a little different for your next Revival, the following style suggestions may just fit the bill.

“Be inspired by some old favourites that we’ve been revisiting,” says Margarida Jorge, community shop manager for the Shelter Forrest Road store in Edinburgh. “We’re really in love with the Bacall and Hepburn classic look – impeccably tailored trousers styled with a gorgeous shirt.”

Trousers feature in the style suggestion from the Oxfam Hollywood team Oxfam Holywood team in Belfast as well. “We love to push the boundaries of fashion,” says manager Fiona Anderson, “And would recreate an androgynous Twiggy-esque ladies plaid pantsuit paired with heels and a killer ‘60s Vidal Sassoon-inspired haircut.”


Dream donations to look out for

Those are the styles they would put together, but what would be the ultimate donation for their store? Spy any of the following items and you’ll be Revival ready in an instant.

“A dream donation would be any vintage military uniform. From the quality of the cloth to the history behind the piece, militaria really gets our pulses racing.” Sybil-Jane Edgar, Florence Nightingale Hospice Shop

“My favourite designer is Christian Dior. The tailoring and detailing is so beautiful and I would love to receive a beautiful tailored jacket and skirt.” Tracey Chippett, Scarlet Vintage and Retro

“An original 1940s tailored suit is an absolute classic. When you find vintage that fits you like a glove it is so special.” Sarah Potts, St Pilgrim’s Hospices

“You dream of donations as early as 1940s/1950s. They’re extremely rare these days. America and Europe have so much more from that era.” Gemma Burgess, Barnardos Vintage

“A classic Twiggy BIBA dress.” Louise Ball, British Heart Foundation

“I would love more fifties dresses as we have a few people come in and buy them as they are collectors and they even come in dressed up in the 1950s style.” Emma Danley, St Peter's Hospice Shop

“A 1960s PVC raincoat. Mary Quant played such a pivotal role as a designer in the 60s, and her Vogue cover featuring the wet look coat is iconic.” Sharna Jordan, St Barnabas Hospice

“We can never get enough hats! Vintage hats in good wearable condition really are such special items that are such a joy to sell – and to wear.” Margarida Jorge, Shelter

For more about getting Revival ready, check out our nine essential Revival style tips.

This year at the Revival, Dandy Wellington will lead the Vintage Style Not Vintage Values series of talks in the Revive and Thrive Village. Book your tickets now for a chance to meet his wonderful community of vintage icons.

Photography by Dominic James and Toby Adamson.

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