Downton Abbey was one of the more successful shows which premiered and concluded this century. It earned and attracted dedicated viewers from across the globe and became a mainstay in popular culture long after the premiere of the shows final episode on December 25th, 2015. Many dedicated their time to unraveling, studying, and attempting to predict the paths that each character walked during the shows six-season run; finding themselves completely enraptured by the things that transpired on the screens before them. Whilst other fans found themselves tuning into the show each and every week for an entirely different reason: the visuals. Simply put, though the storylines and characters that make up the world of Downton Abbey were marvelous in their own way, it is the sets and the costumes who are the true stars of the show in the end. Below is a countdown of ten of the most visually stunning and icon costumes from the beloved period drama known as Downton Abbey.
10Sybil’s Harem Pants
Are there any more iconic costumes in the television world? Sybil was a character who was known for her outrageous and rule-breaking fashion choices (for the time in which the show was set).
So one could expect that, at some point in the show, the character would find herself in a pair of pants due to the fact that wearing such a garment was not exactly accepted for a person of her gender. Though her outfit was truly stunning in its own right, it was the rather controversial nature of her fashion choice that made this outfit into the iconic look that it is known as and remembered to be today.
9Edith’s Criterion Dress
Edith’s evolution from who she was at the start of the show into the person she became as she grew and matured was one of the more beloved storylines within Downton Abbey and said transformation was truly encapsulated within her criterion dress (left) which was worn in the midst of her development as a character. Though the dramatic plot lines, the progressing storylines, and the emotional content which all came together and made this beloved show the masterpiece that is was, the costumes were truly an integral cog in said machine. They added a layer of realism to the show which would have been disrupted had less care been dedicated to the historical accuracy of each and every garment.
8Lady Mary’s First Proposal Dress
A proposal is the sort of thing that a girl remembers for the rest of her life. Luckily for Lady Mary, she was dressed in one of the most stunning gowns seen in the long-running show while experiencing this life-altering milestone.
There are many things that a person forgets during the course of their lives but the exact conditions under which one was proposed to by their beloved is not one of them. If she could go back and change one thing about the evening, the only thing one could see her changing would be to grab a coat on her way out into the courtyard. For her sleeveless gown is stunning but it is not the best outfit to protect one against the elements.
7The Garden Party Looks
If there is one thing that one should bring back from the past and into the modern world, it is the garden party. There is just something so lovely and calming about a good old fashioned garden party. Is it the flowing and delicate white linen dresses that add a touch of whimsy? Is it the tasty finger sandwiches or the pitchers of ice cold lemonade? Is it the lace gloves or the dainty straw hats? Or is it the perfect combination of every mentioned element that makes a garden party the best sort of party that one can throw on a lazy, sunny, summer afternoon?
6“This Old Thing” That Lady Mary Throws On
Watching a character come out of their shell, change their look, or adopt a more modern (of the time) way of living their lives/styling themselves is one of the more fascinating aspects of taking the time to consume a long running television series.
Watching Lady Mary develop from the character that she was at the onset of the show to the woman that she was at the end of her journey was a truly rewarding experience. And this stunning beaded down was a truly wonderful part of that journey. Paired with show-stopping gold gloves and a matching headband in order to draw attention to the beadwork of the gown, this is one look that the audience will not easily forget.
5Lady Mary’s First Wedding Dress
There are few other words that one can use to properly describe this gown other than delicate. Everything from the lace to the colour evokes a soft and ethereal quality. Looking at this photo is like peeking into someone’s dreams. Lady Mary is shrouded in a delicate and simple veil which truly completes the wedding look. Though the dress is rather simple in design, that does not mean that it is plain by any stretch of the imagination. Rather that she focused on a more muted design in order to allow each element of the look to be seen and appreciated without any of them having to fight for attention over one another for the audience’s attention.
4Martha’s Fur Coat
Everyone needs a relative with a dramatic fur coat. If one is attempting to create a captivating fictional drama, there needs to be a relative or character who shows up in a flashy, extravagant, and dramatic fur coat.
And not only does Martha have one of the most stunning coats in the entire show, but the character also paired it with a captivating hat adorned with a large feather. This is the sort of outfit one wears when they plan on making a scene and being the centre of attention. This is not the sort of outfit worn by wallflowers or those who seek to avoid the spotlight.
3Lady Rose’s Debutante Dress
The best part of coming out and becoming a debutant has got to be the beautiful gown one gets to wear. Amongst other things, Lady Rose is known for her stunning costumes and impeccable modern (of the time) fashion sense. So it comes as no shock that she would choose such a stunning gown to make her societal debut in. The soft colour of the gown compliments her skin tone and is somehow able to be formal while still creating a youthful and playful silhouette for Rose. The embellishments add a bit of opulence to the dress (which is rather fitting for the time in which it was worn) without overwhelming the dresses delicate design or drawing the eye away from Rose herself.
2The Flapper Costumes
Though the more Edwardian style gowns which were featured in the earlier seasons of the show and on its older/more proper characters were utterly stunning in every way, the more modern flapper style gowns that dominated the later seasons and were popular with the younger characters were the true stars of the show.
The combination of delicate femininity and masculine shapes that are present in flapper gown make them both fascinating and elegant in design. Their simplistic shapes combined with the short hairstyles that were in vogue at the time invoke a childish appearance that adds to the pixie-like quality of the picture perfect flapper girl.
1Lady Rose’s Wedding Dress
The best thing about the Downton Abbey series was its ability to blend together more modern (at least for the time in which it was set) designs, attitudes, and costumes with the more dated styles of its older characters. The young Lady Rose went for a very modern (of the time) look when choosing her wedding gown. She wore her blonde hair in a short, curled, and flapper style bob while having it adorned with accessories that were both trendy and feminine. The dress itself was sleeveless, embroidered, and maintained the “box-like” shape which was popular in the 1920s while still remaining glamorous and delicate.