Costume classics...

I am severely addicted to this show Downton Abbey. I have been informed, however, I am all kinds of late on this. It is a Masterpiece Classic (just my cup of tea). Most anyone who knows me, knows I have an odd affinity toward what my sister and I call "period dramas." The two of us call them that, but whenever I am talking to someone and slip that phrase in, I find the rest of the conversation becomes a description of what a "period drama" really is. A time piece? A drama set in another era? Or what the New Times calls period story. It's hard to say, but they all include, drama, wit, scandal, money, and best of all love stories.

Ok, maybe the love stories are not the best part, though I am a sucker for romance (this I have also been told). But perhaps, the costumes and the imagery come in first place. First of all, I am going to say that I know nothing about costumes and the dress of the era, which in this case is right after the Titanic sank until the beginning of WWI, in Britain. With that said. The ladies, especially the wealthy ones, look amazing. It is set at a time when women were looking for representation and rights, creating an interesting tension between the old and new ways of thinking. I see this in clothing....

Old Traditions...
The family gets dressed every night in dinner, gloves and gowns for the women, while the men dress in jackets and bow ties. This sounds lovely, but a lot of work. It is very interesting to see the dresses (although many of them appear several times in the series as there are a lot of dinners throughout 7 episodes), as they change with season and guest. This reveals tradition, and a way of life that is becoming extinct in front of their very eyes.

Pictured here are wealthy ladies, relaxing after the event that is dinner. As you can see it's formal dress, even for dinner with just the family. The details and intricacies of their ensembles are amazing. Shout outs to the people who designed these for the show. And Shout outs to those who pieced dresses like these back in the day.

Excuse the girl's contorted face, she was upset (apparently), and just look at her dress. I was taken initially by the shape of the sleeves and its kind of wrap effect in the middle, completed with a kind of embroidered detail. I feel like the shape, with the V- neckline and the sleeves, is very relevant in today's clothing, especially with summer time approaching (rapidly). The material, that looks to be a chiffon-esque texture, is also trending as I read in Refinery29 a few weeks ago. That along with the color make it fit right in to the 2011 summer season. Its simplicity, in the shape and single color creates a kind of timeless elegance, only underlined by the effortless ornament of the design on the front.

This dress to me captures a different kind of elegance. This dress is more ornate, in that it has patterns, although the shape itself is relatively simple. The overlay of fabrics, and the different layers seem to speak to her social standing, and also capture the era. I also enjoy the rich red color and golden details adding on even more decadence. 

Ok. So this picture, another emotionally tense moment, but the two girls are wearing completely different styled dresses, which in fact does give some insight into their different personalities. I am completely in love with the cream colored dress. The folds and layers, as well as the combination of different fabrics create a sense of movement that is not present in the rosy colored dress. This evening dinner dress breathes aristocracy to me, with a seductive edge. I find it quite sexy. The sheer sleeves and the lace details, the cinch at the waist, and the folds, all add to a very feminine shape, almost replicating the female charm. Some secrets while other things are revealed. Ooo it's deffo my favorite.

New Direction...
There is also the lady suits, that the professional women wear, for interviews. This is reminiscent of blazer and matching skirt. the women of the elite family are also seen wearing these kinds of things., though theirs are a step above, obviously. But for the lower class women, these kinds of "skirt suits" become symbolic as they are looking to become part of the professional world, mainly as secretaries. I LOVE this as well. As a lady, dreading the professional world, I admire, and dream of these kinds of outfits. Although there are sharp pant suits out there, I feel like femininity is lost. I know if I end up in some field where I have to dress in suits (doubtful), I will be all about the skirt suit.

The shape of the jacket echoes that of what men of the time were wearing (as far as I can tell from this show), but adjusted for the female form and purposes. The detailing and the shape of the jacket top bit, accentuates what is supposed to be accentuated in a woman, maintaining the femininity I fear is lost in pant suits (maybe I just don't like pants). In this image, the details of the lapels as well as the hemline of the jacket, abandon rigid straight lines, and give into the form of the female. I love how the jacket is longer in the back than in the front, this theme also seems pretty current.

 This is another more casual look for the aristocratic lady. And let me just tell you, I want this jacket. The length of the jacket is great, and the darker blue piping and details create a very clean look that I admire. I wonder what the jacket would look like closed, maybe with a simple belt. The high waisted skirt, and simple top, also speak to our times. That combo is in fact a staple in my life, which will become apparent.

I do not have a picture of it, but, the youngest daughter, who is the most outspoken about women suffrage gets a new "dress" made, but in reality, it is some kind of jumpsuit with pants. It was awful.

I am just going to say, that this is not the last you will see about "period dramas" or even Downton Abbey. Just a warning...


  1. I love it! It's on masterpiece?

  2. it was i think... you can find it on netflix instant watch! and probably other websites....


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