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Glorious . . . not a chav in sight
Last Updated: 2:03am BST 01/08/2007



In pictures: Glorious Goodwood
On the opening day of Glorious Goodwood yesterday, the "Smart Set" foiled any possible threat of a "Chav Takeover" on the South Downs.


Silks, champagne and Panamas on parade at Glorious Goodwood


Crisp Panama hats resembled a field of golden wheat under the blue sky of a perfect English summer's day. Floral tea-dresses and feather-trimmed straws fluttered in the breeze.

There was not a Burberry baseball hat to be seen; no gas-fire thighs bulged inside shorts and no bared "muffin-midriffs" wobbled over low-slung waistbands.

If there was any cleavage, it was cocooned inside modest necklines, buttoned-up underneath trim, tailored jackets or disclosed only in the environs of private boxes, away from the public gaze.

The naked flesh on display was all of the equine variety.

I spotted one rather amateurish tattoo on a spotty shoulder, but apart from that slight lapse in taste, Glorious Goodwood lived up to its reputation both in fashion and meteorological terms.

Earlier, the Earl of March, heir to the Goodwood estate, had voiced concern that the event could be losing its prestige, in the wake of criticism that Royal Ascot was letting standards slip in a bid to boost attendance.

He was worried that Glorious Goodwood might be heading the way of other racecourses where young women often dressed as if they were going to a nightclub.

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Glorious Goodwood is considered more informal than Royal Ascot, where men are required to wear morning dress in the royal enclosure and the dress code for women stipulates no bare shoulders, dresses above the knee or hats which do not cover the crown.

But the event does have its own rules of dress for the enclosures, which include a complete ban on shorts and denim of any description, and relies largely on the good taste of its patrons to follow tradition. Elsewhere, informal dress is allowed, although any man going topless can expect to be ejected.

"I won't be asking that visitors wear morning coats. But I would like to see the ladies in summer frocks, with linen suits and Panama hats for the gentlemen," the earl was reported as saying.

His prayers were answered. Racegoers responded to the gentle suggestions of the Goodwood good-dress guide, by really making an effort. This was not, however, a competitive parade of labels, status handbags and haute couture hats.

Dresses from Principles and Karen Millen rubbed shoulders with Moschino and Alexander McQueen. Millinery came in every style from Accessorize to zebra-pattern.

Men followed the sartorial tradition laid down by Edward VII who first abandoned the strictures of morning dress in favour of a linen suit and Panama, deeming it more worthy of a race meeting that was like a garden party with racing added on. There was not even any need for spare jackets on hand, as the Earl of March had suggested, in case of a fashion emergency with a racegoer inadvertently arriving too under-dressed.

By 11.30am, stewards were advising racegoers that because of the brilliant sunshine, it was perfectly acceptable for gentlemen to remove their jackets.