fashion inspiration: downton abbey

Like the rest of the world, it seems, I have fallen in love with Downton Abbey. The moving storylines anchored by historical events, the interwoven lives of the Crawley family and their staff and, of course, the wit of the Dowager Countess caused me to tear through the entire first and second season (and the Christmas special) in a mere two weeks!

However, it is the fashion that gets me most excited. The gorgeous gowns worn by the Crawley daughters and Lady Cora are just begging for modern interpretation and anyone who has been in my company since I started watching the show will know that I am now constantly lamenting that I have no excuse to wear sublime eveningwear like they do in the show.

So I’ve decided to ring my own dressing gong. It’s time to dress for dinner.

If you would like to join me, here are a few easy ways to draw inspiration from Downton without looking like you’re in costume.

Go long: Length is a key aspect of the Downton formal wardrobe. While long gowns can feel conspicuous, they can be made modern by choosing a fashionable colour or print.

Try a pretty pattern in a modern cut like the Winterbloom Maxi from Anthropologie (on sale – $199.95)

Embellished gowns: Crawley women wear beautifully be-laced and beaded gowns to dinner and while a full formal dress isn’t appropriate for most dinner events, you can still embrace some elements.

Try it at home with this Grace Garden Dress from Modcloth ($97.99) – its lace details and design are a modern take on the Downton look.

Sheer details: Some of my favourite dresses from the series have sheer sleeves and yokes. Fortunately this trend seems to big in the modern world and there are plenty of wonderful options to consider.

Try this modern bird print dress with sheer yoke by Warehouse from Asos (£65).

Embrace colour: Black is for mourning so instead of turning to your LBD, try a seasonally appropriate colour. The Crawley women look lovely in pretty pastels for warmer months and rich reds and purples for winter.

The Lexi dress from Reiss ($285) is a perfect springtime mint, inspired by Lady Sybil’s dress above.

Upstyles: Crawley women always wear their hair in sophisticated up-dos, often accessoried with beautiful combs or headbands.

Try using some fabulous hair accessories to help hold your look in place, like this Heiress Jewelled Pin from Mimco (A$39.95)

Ditch the made-up look: Edwardian women of class never wore make-up so let your hair and clothes do the talking instead.

For your final inspiration, check out the actresses behind the Crawley sisters wearing modern versions of their costumes by Alberta Ferretti and Julien MacDonald – don’t they look gorgeous?

And there you have it! Will you try the Downton look this weekend? (Excuse me, what’s a weekend?)

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