King Edward VII and the Goodwood look

Mar 29, 2013

You don’t have to search far back in history when looking for inspirational gentlemen attire to find little anecdotes that put the wind back in your sails.

The Goodwood look has its own ethos and simple dress formula. It’s the summer suit attire that a lot of men aspire to but don’t know the origin of or why they’re chasing it. They just know it’s cool.    

Glorious Goodwood is a race-meet that dates back to 1801 which today takes the mantle as one of Britain’s best dressed occasions. Before King Edward VII (one of history’s sharpest dressed royals) dropped onto the scene in the summer of 1906 Goodwood was just another formal dress, in-crowd society event that most people considered only a warm-up for Royal Ascot. Same amount of stuffiness, half the excess.

Edward changed the image of the event into one of equal glamour as Ascot but made it more accessible and, more importantly for us gents, banned the formal dress and established his own vintage Goodwood look. He changed the boringness of an event that’s only appeal was for horse-lovers into a kind of Edwardian piss up, garden party. Or, in his words, “a garden party with a racing tracks on”. Fast-forward a hundred years and it still heralds the epitome of the British summer style.   

Edward VII was already one of Europe’s best dressed royals before he invented and branded his own Goodwood style. A traditional suit-wearer on official business but was happy to don the tweed, flannel or linen blazers that defines the Goodwood look. Loafers, with the summer blazer and white hats were his style and we owe a lot to his careful crafting of the gentleman garden party look. 

Conquer your own Goodwood look:

Suit: You can still abide by Edward's rulebook and not spend the earth on your summer suit. Go conservative on the blazer and light coloured on the tread. Tweed, flannel or any vintage material is the way forward. There’s a mountain of choice out there. Make the trousers match.

Pocket chief: An underrated kicker for your summer suit. Go spotted. They’re cool.

Shoes: A casual pair of loafers will suffice. You will be spending the majority of your Goodwood experience traipsing around and toeing in grass so don’t ruin your best wingtips.

Attitude: The whole point of Goodwood was to open up a royalist event to everyone else in the country so if you’re taking inspiration from its ethos don’t swan around acting like you’re God's gift to the whistle and flute. Just act like you’re a fan of watching boating and you can afford expensive holidays and you’ll have the attitude to match.


James Fredrick Gray


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