From posh to oh my gosh, the fashion in Downton Abbey is as amazingly accurate as it is stunning. For your pleasure, we’ve ranked the 10 best outfits.
Throughout the love triangles, family drama, and political and social upheavals, Downton Abbey has made one thing clear: the outfits are indeed the stars of the show. Much like Game Of Thrones made the fantasy genre accessible to mainstream audiences, Downton Abbey revitalized the period drama. It proved that dragons and white walkers aren’t the only things that appeal to a broad audience — sometimes all we want is a cozy period piece with a happy ending and beautiful clothes.
Because the glamorous evening gowns already receive so much attention, this writer tried to focus on the overlooked and casual looks that are easier to incorporate into the average wardrobe. That said, here are the ten best outfits of Downton Abbey.
Mrs. Hughes’ wedding coat
For her wedding to Mr. Carson, Elsie Hughes borrowed a coat from Cora, an embroidered mauve velvet affair that was a departure from her usual black uniform as Head Housekeeper. She wore the coat over a day dress and accessorized with a hat and bouquet. The look was elegant yet entirely appropriate for “a solid meal served at proper tables,” followed by “a bit of hooley,” as Mrs. Hughes confessed to Cora when asked how she wanted to get married.
Who wants to stand around like posh people with “nibbly bits between their teeth” when there are other options? When in doubt, throw on a coat and call it a day.
Anna’s green dress
Like Mrs. Hughes and the rest of the downstairs characters, Anna spends most of the series in her housemaid and lady’s maid uniform and rarely appears in a color other than dull, dreary black. This changes when Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes organize a day out for the Downton staff at the seashore.
Anna wears a striped green dress with yellow embroidery at the front and a practical, cloche hat that was perfectly on-trend for the day. It was refreshing to see Mrs. Bates smiling for a change, and in a color that is so cheerful and flattering to boot.
Cora’s orange coat
As the emotional core of the Crawley family, Cora frequently wears soothing cool colors, such as purple and blue. This is perhaps why, during her dalliance with art historian Simon Bricker, she wore a bright orange coat that drapes gracefully over her frame. It’s a bright color that is relatively unusual for Cora, whose forays into bolder colors usually limit themselves to deep reds.
Underneath the coat, she wore a pale green dress with cream embroidery that peeks out over the orange. She completes the look with a black hat and leather clutch bag that offers a nice textural contrast to the rest of the outfit.
Rose and Mary’s wedding suits
For some girls, the dream wedding is a full-on princess affair. For others, a small and private ceremony will do. Ladies Rose and Mary show us the upper-class take on the latter with the low-key but glamorous suits they wore on their respective wedding days.
Rose’s suit emerged from an original piece of piping and hand-painted flowers that became the collar of her something blue. Mary’s suit featured much less frivolity, with a simple chevron pattern at the front set off by a classic string of pearls. The outfits show off Rose’s fun and flirty personality and Mary’s high fashion tastes.
Lavinia’s art nouveau dress
Lavinia Swire made her first entrance to Downton Abbey in a green art nouveau-inspired dress that was miles ahead of what the Crawley sisters were wearing. The dress was an original vintage piece from the 1920s, about a decade after the events of Season 2. Not only was it shorter than the Crawley sisters’ gowns, but the beautiful embroidery and opulent headpiece signaled to them that she was on par with the family in wealth, if not in social rank.
A London girl, Lavinia would have adopted more cutting edge fashions than the country-based Crawleys, something Lady Edith would take on in later seasons of the show.
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