Even though this is the final season of Downton Abbey, the beautiful sets, scenery and stunning fashions continue to be an inspiration for vintage themed events. It’s not surprising since the early 20th century costumes worn by the cast members are as romantic and glamorous, as they are regal!
When it comes to vintage theme parties, I often get questions from customers on how to put together a period specific look. And what I often tell them is they don’t have to purchase authentic vintage garments and accessories to pull this off. Often that is not possible due to rarity or price when it comes to clothing from very early eras. Pretty much all you need to do to concoct an outfit for a period themed event is to choose the proper vintage inspired dress and pair it with the right accesssories in order to capture the spirit of the original look.
So without further adieu here is my recipe for styling an outfit in case you’re invited to a dressy Downton Abbey Finale Party, formal black tie event or wedding!
- Chose a proper silhouette– From the Edwardian era to 1920s the silhouettes became narrower. For instance, I chose the gown below because the wide waistband and slightly flared silhouette reminded me of these dresses worn by the Crawley sisters in one of the earlier seasons. Plus its bejeweled bodice and heavy lace was perfect for carrying off the air of aristocratic chic I was aiming for.
- Go for a sheer sleeve- Many of the dresses back then had sheer sleeves.. Because modern evening gowns are often sleeveless, a sheer mesh shrug with dolman sleeves or a shoulder capelet could give you that look.
- Gloves– The longer the better. Preferably opera length.
- Jewelry– Chokers, pearl strands, drop earrings. But, remember, you’re going for opulence befitting a
snobbydignified countess. So one must keep it tasteful so as not to, heaven forbid, be mistaken for one of the middle class!
- Shoes- Footwear in the early part of the 20th century featured a curved, a.k.a. Louis heel, similar to the one shown below. Another fabulous style option can be found at American Duchess. They make beautiful vintage reproduction shoes.
- Hair Accessory– Hair was usually worn up for evening. And a glittery headband or tiara is a must. Edwardian hairstyle ideas found here.
- Purse- Evening bags had intricate beading and patterns with fancy metal frames, similar to the vintage inspired beaded tapestry purse I chose for this outfit.
And to see how it looks all put together,
needed an excuse to play dress up, here I am with the the Saloon of Highclere Castle in the background, which I thought was an appropriate backdrop for my ensemble, since it is the real setting for Downton Abbey!
Oh yes, and for added authenticity may I also suggest accessorizing with a glass of champagne, a fainting couch, platter of caviar and oysters, and a ladies maid!
Have a glamorous day!