Inspired by Downton Abbey

Is anyone else obsessed with Downton Abbey? I haven’t watched PBS so avidly since Saturday night had all the British comedies. I’m a total Anglophile, and Downton is a dreamy show. Set in the early 1900’s, the divide between the upper class and the lower class is portrayed in one busy household. Currently we are on season two, and in the midst of World War I. Big drama!

Obviously, the tastemakers are the three Grantham sisters. They have caused some of my friends to beg for an updated Downton Abbey style post.

Disclaimer: these are not, nor are they intended to be, authentic period clothes. There are very few places you can go dressed as one of the Downton ladies. They merely have some features of the period dress.

Dresses inspired by Downton Abbey

Dorothy Perkins gray dress, $27
Quiksilver empire line dress, $49
ASOS ruched dress, $39
Shiny dress, $43
Old Navy ruffle dress, $23
Dorothy Perkins evening dresses gown, $17

For day dresses, a combination of long and flowy and short with delicate details.

Downton Abbey Jackets and Shrugs

Bellatrix chiffon shirt, $40
Floral shirt, $50
REGENCY black jacket, £57
Victorian coat, $110
Bolero jacket, $28
Free people, $20
Black/White Short Fitted Striped Blazer, $30
Burgundy Red Velvet Gothic Victorian Fitted Corset Jacket from The

Cover up your day or evening wear with a chiffon or lace bed jacket or a cutaway coat.

Downton Abbey Hats

Halogen brim straw hat, $28
Bow hat, $35
Made of Me bow hat, $18
Black hat, $12
Goorin striped hat, £6
American Apparel brim hat, $44
Forever 21 floppy brim hat, $15
Brim straw hat, £10
Tarnish bow hat, $28

Even an updated Downton look wouldn’t be a complete without a hat!

Downton After Dark

ASOS sequin cocktail dress, $45
Vintage lace dress, $100
Lauren Conrad floral maxi dress, $43
TopShop maxi dress, £30
Ryu lace dress, $65
Oasis long sleeve maxi dress, $17
Lace cocktail dress, $50

These dresses won’t require a maid to get you into them–but maybe that’s part of the beauty of dressing for dinner in 2012?

If you’re looking for a GENUINE Downton look, try Nataya. Original designs are based on period pieces; this line has been around for a while–since the movie Titanic, I believe. The dresses are gorgeous, and just updated enough for a formal occasion.



Back when I was young, Saturday nights were PBS Masterpiece Mystery nights.  I cut my teeth on the best of British programming, and love a good mystery.  No matter which mystery series was playing that night, the introduction was always the same.  Unbeknownst to me, this was my introduction to Edward Gorey.

Edward Gorey was a writer and illustrator whose specialty was sort of a whimsical macabre style. His book The Gashlycrumb Tinies, for instance, recounts the deaths of 26 children, each representing a letter of the alphabet.

I always loved the opening of Mystery, however, because it looked like a glamorous house party in England somewhere. I loved the lady with the batwing hat, and the chiffon dresses, and the dark, gothic feel. So, using Gorey as the inspiration, I’ve come up with an evening ensemble that combines whimsy and macabre, just like Gorey’s work.

While the dress is fairly classic, and the necklace is a Victorian reproduction, in order to not make it a total period costume, I’ve added in the edgy talon ring and two-finger cross ring. The evening gloves are fishnet, making them light and airy as well as interesting. A striking flower-and-feather headpiece and frankly fetishist shoes complete the outfit.

If you’re not looking for an evening look, but want to take a bit of the Art Nouveau sensibility of Gorey, Modcloth has a couple of nouveau-inspired dresses.

The Marion Dress has the light, airy feeling of the Gorey dresses, with an Art Nouveau pattern on it, whereas the Old and Nouveau dress is an Art Nouveau pattern in dress form.

What do you think? Is Gorey too gory for you? Or is it Gothically delicious?