Vintage Fashion in Downton Abbey: A New Era

Downton Abbey has made quite a mark on television with its spectacular storytelling and captivating characters. But let’s be honest, their portrayal of vintage fashion is what we genuinely stick around for. From sequin dresses to silk scarves, it seems as though we’ve jumped right back to the past, and the outfits in the show are enough to keep the vintage savvy watching. With the release of the sequel to their previous film, Downton Abbey: A New Era, we enter the 1930s. An era that redefined vintage fashion is all set to come to your screens!

Vintage Fashion & Social Class

In its six seasons, Downton Abbey gracefully takes us from the early 1910s to the late 1920s. With the gradual change in fashion elements, from higher hemlines to hat etiquettes, the show provides an excellent sampling of vintage fashion.

Through our screen, Downton Abbey allows viewers to explore the distinct garments and designs worn by members of different classes. In the show, upper class characters wore statement headgear that perfectly complemented their beaded gowns. The servant class is rarely seen wearing any hats, as hats represented abundant wealth only attained by elite members of society. By purposely differentiating various social classes, Downton Abbey stays true to history and accurately reflects British culture. From the near demeaning uniforms of the servant class, we see the past for what it was. As time progressed and women had the opportunity to engage in work outside of the home, their outfits shifted from the pasty and grayish gowns.

Vintage Fashion in Downton Abbey

Outfits Throughout the Day

By taking a look at the fashion of the upper class in the post-Edwardian era, we get a glimpse of all the various outfit changes throughout the day. Outfits at this time were not static, but rather changed often to fit the occasion. Women began their day with morning dresses that were typically made of cotton and consisted of a simple skirt and blouse. By afternoon tea, they switched to summery dresses with light embroidery. Lastly, for dinner, women went all out with silk dresses, extravagant hairstyles, and jewelry with precious stones.

Vintage Fashion in Downton Abbey: A New Era

A Look at Men & Women’s Vintage Pieces

As the years pass in Downton Abbey, we’re introduced to more daring outfits with bolder colors and tighter silhouettes. But, one especially attention-grabbing aspect of the show’s fashion is the sportswear from the 1930s. Edith and Bertie sported monochrome, cream-colored attire and primed leather shoes during tennis doubles. Men are also seen wearing a matching wide-legged pants and knit sweater combination.

Vintage Fashion in Downton Abbey: A New Era

Women’s fashion in A New Era is also worth looking into, as every choice is intentional and rich with detail. For instance, the wide collars of flapper dresses ensured that the dresses were both movable and contributed to a put-together look. To look more modern, silk and satin are used alongside deeper necklines. Delicate necklaces compliment this modern look that most women come to embody over time. Edith’s green velvet dress is a great example of this, as it’s paired with long cream silk gloves and shows how the show studied the fashion trends of the time. 

Downton Abbey costume designers have created a reality that stands true to the past. A look into the 1930’s fashion can easily ignite a curiosity for the world of vintage fashion, and leave viewers wanting more. If you feel the same way, explore our vintage collection at ThisBlueBird. From sundresses to tasteful blouses, these vintage pieces will help you connect to the past and its lively fashion.