How to Style a Gown for a Dressy Downton Abbey Event

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How to dress up Downton Abbey Style


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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Gloves– The longer the better. Preferably opera length.
  4. JewelryChokers, pearl strands, drop earrings. But, remember, you’re going for opulence befitting a  snobby  dignified countess. So one must keep it tasteful so as not to, heaven forbid,  be mistaken for one of the middle class!
  5. 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.
  6. Hair Accessory–  Hair was usually worn up for evening.  And a glittery headband or tiara is a must.  Edwardian hairstyle ideas found here.
  7. 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!

Downton Abbey inspired outfit

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!






By | 2016-02-23T12:54:51+00:00 February 23rd, 2016|Fashion|6 Comments

About the Author:

Hi, I'm Theresa, owner and chief classy dame at the Blue Velvet Vintage online boutique. Lover of mid century fashion and home decor, classic films, Old Hollywood, pretty dresses, red lipstick, swing dancing and retro culture in general. Between my ecommere site and vintage style blog my mission is to revive the eras of classy dressing and inspire women to add more glamour to their lives! So don't be shy! I love to hear from others who share my appreciation of the styles of the past.


  1. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell February 27, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Thank you Katrin! I’ll bet you are especially attracted to the beautiful jewelry worn on the show. I checked your site. Your pieces are exquisite!

  2. Katrin mdmB February 27, 2016 at 7:07 am

    You look awesome! I must admit I also like Downton Abbey because of it’s fashion 😀 So-so inspiring!

  3. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell February 24, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    Thanks, Vicki! I love the show too and will also miss it. I”ve not seen this current season yet. Been awake till all hours of the night binge watching previous seasons to catch up. At least after the finale I’ll get some sleep 🙂

  4. Vicki February 23, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    I love Downton Abbey, especially the clothes. Am really going to miss that show. But I think your interpretation is perfect for a DA themed party!

  5. Theresa Campbell
    Theresa Campbell February 23, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Hee hee! Thanks Suzanne. Though not so sure I’d upstage Mr. Crawlys daughters. More likely his mother, the Dowager Countess 🙂

  6. Suzanne February 23, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    Wow! You look spectacular!

    I’m so delighted they allowed you in on set ; P

    Truly though you would have fit right in. Maybe even a bit too posh for them. What would Mr. Crawly have to say if you upstaged his daughters?


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