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How to get the Downton Abbey look
I have a confession to make, I’m obsessed. No, not with the artfully crafted plot of the period drama
Downton Abbey (even though that’s right on point), but with the romantic English elegance of the North Yorkshire women. The clothes, hair and backdrop are utterly desirable. The art of daily dressing in the Edwardian era took far longer than it does today, that’s why I’ve set out to find the perfect pieces to make this look work in the 21st century.
Clothing: In the early 1900s women’s fashion progressed from tight rigid corsets with thick dress overlays to less-constricted tea dresses and drop-waist cocktail attire with lace and beaded embellishments. Daytime dressing was light and airy with soft fabrics in
pastel hues. Whether you’re dressing for day or night, or prefer midi to shorter hemlines, getting the
Downton Abbey look couldn’t be easier these days as so many designers have drawn inspiration from this era. A floral dress like this Chloé number is perfect for a day out in the warm spring weather.
For evening, a short intricately beaded dress makes for an instantly glamorous look. This vintage inspired cocktail dress is a great option.
For those rainy and cool days, a classic trench coat, low heeled shoes and a cloche hat (see below) are a sure way to look chic.
Accessories: Hats were considered
de rigueur for women in the WW1 era. Commonly adorned with flowers and bows, the cloche toppers were a staple of the time. From Ralph Lauren’s Fall/Winter 2012-13 collection to mass-market stores like Topshop, everyone seems to be carrying their own version of the cloche hat. Try one in a
vibrant hue for a more modern and feminine take on the old world trend.
Women also wore faceted jewels
You can check out some retro-inspired jewellery here.
Want to get the Downton Abbey beauty look?
fragrant and floral violet was a widely used scent in the Edwardian era. Try Tom Ford’s feminine and glamorous scent, Violet Blonde that has notes of violet and rose.
Makeup: In the Edwardian era, women rarely wore much makeup, if any at all. Women with fair and almost translucent complexions were seen as most desired amongst the nobles. A more modern approach for women of all skin tones, is to apply as little makeup as possible. Keep your beauty regiment simple, let the hair and clothes do the talking.
To get a milky peach complexion, much like the Crawleys, we recommend using a
matte foundation as a base for a more natural look. Lightly dust some illuminating powder on your cheeks and temples for skin that appears to glow. For the eyes, choose a neutral eyeshadow and apply one coat of mascara – simple, right? Swipe on a sheer slick of peach lip gloss and you’re ready to slip on your velvet cloche hat.
Hair: It was believed that noble women wore their hair pinned up as if ready to be presented at any moment. There really aren’t any rules to what you can and can’t do with your updo. But to keep flyaways at bay, use a smoothing conditioner like Orofluido’s Beauty Mask ($19 at orofluido.com), before blow drying and using a curling iron to coil your strands. Pin into place at the nape of your neck for a sleek and classic look.
Want to be inspired?
Downton Abbey Season 2 has been out on DVD since Feb 7th. Get your hands on a copy for bonus features and interviews with Susannah Buxton, the costume designer for the show, and other cast members.