The Good Life look is back, but is your style more Margo or Barbara?

The Good Life cast
Richard Briers, Felicity Kendal, Paul Eddington and Penelope Keith in The Good Life - BBC

It may be almost 50 years since The Good Life first aired, but the concept of two very different couples on either side of a suburban garden wall is one that will never date. On one side, there’s the wholesome Tom and Barbara Good (Richard Briers and Felicity Kendal), transforming their outside space into an allotment so they can be self-sufficient. On the other side, the more conventional and aspirational Jerry and Margo Leadbetter (Paul Eddington and Penelope Keith). Comedy ensues. In fact, in a post-lockdown era, it’s more relatable than ever.

The fashion hasn’t dated either, as Susannah Constantine noted in an Instagram post featuring her friend and one-time What Not to Wear co-host Trinny Woodall. “Margo. The Good Life,” she wrote beneath the photo. Showing Trinny outdoors in a lounge chair wearing a wide-brimmed hat and a denim shirt and skirt, it was a spot-on observation.

The comments beneath were full of appreciation for the reference. “No fancy gardening gloves,” remarked one. “That’s the last time I play the tart for you, Jerry,” quoted another.

“I felt flattered that Susannah had taken that picture,” Trinny later told The Telegraph. “I grew up on The Good Life. Margo never let the side down, she always had the look. She never wore cutoff jeans and a T-shirt. It was a kaftan, it was a beautiful 70s hat. Margo wafted, she was brilliant.”

Penelope Keith as Margo
Penelope Keith's Margo always choose glamour over practicality - BBC

You don’t need to have watched the show to see the appeal of Margo’s look. She was always immaculately turned out in the flowy, glamorous dresses and headwear that were typical of the 1970s. Any kind of practical activity, though, she’s more ‘all the gear, no idea’.

Barbara’s look couldn’t be more different: she persuaded a whole generation that dungarees and men’s shirts could be sexy, and her knitted polo tops could have come straight from a spring/summer 2024 catwalk show.

Richard Briers and Felicity Kendal
Felicity Kendal's Barbara loved an oversized shirt, seen here with Richard Briers - BBC

As with every show about friendship, from Friends to Sex and the City, the question everyone always comes around to is: which character do you identify with most?  The Good Life is arguably the first show to inspire this, and the wardrobes play an important part.

So, is your style more Barbara or more Margo? Read on to find out…


Google autocomplete tells me ‘Margo Good Life kaftan’ remains a popular search term in 2024, and with good reason: Margo is the kind of woman who enjoys putting together a glamorous look, and has an array of flowy, draped gowns in vibrant prints. She knows how to show just enough skin, and accessorises with care, whether it’s a silk headscarf, chandelier earrings, a corsage brooch, or all of the above.

This kind of wardrobe doesn’t lend itself to much more than pruning roses, but that’s about the extent of Margo’s horticultural talents. Her favourite thing in her garden is the sun lounger anyway.

Margo fashion
Margo fashion

Wide-brim hat, £45, John Lewis , Thome earrings, £75, Rixo  Heart-print dress, £195, Kitri 

Margo fashion
Margo fashion

Cotton blouse, £175, Essentiel Antwerp Castaner Barby sandals, £190, Made The Edit 


In a modern world, Barbara would probably be an accidental influencer, slightly baffled that her posts about the challenges of growing potatoes had earned her a following more preoccupied by the way she wears her dungarees.

Barbara’s borrowed-from-her-husband style is very 2024; we see it in her denim, her chunky cable-knit jumpers and her love of an oversized shirt. Her clothes are slightly faded from drying on a line in the sun, and headwear is purely to protect her head from its rays, but of course it looks fabulous anyway.

The most important thing about being a Barbara is that the outfit looks unstudied - trying too hard is the easiest way to stray into Margo territory, and not in a good way. If you have genuine green fingers, it’s all the better.

Barbara fashion
Barbara fashion

Maya Relaxed Straight Leg Dungarees, £99, Hush, Classic brushed linen shirt, £125, WNU, Ribbed knit polo, £56, Everlane 

Barbara fashion
Barbara fashion

Donegal wool sweater, £175, Toast , Boston suede clogs, £130, Birkenstock