Fashion Flashback: Classic European Fashion from Downton Abbey

The early 10s to the 20s gave way to a major generation transition that allowed fashion to evolve in the most remarkable way possible. Fashion in this era focuses on Europe and its society classifications which led to luxury and elegance being embossed in people’s clothes, specifically for women.As the 20s could only tell us their story in black and white, British-American series, Downton Abbey thought that the era can be explained through a historical period drama series. Well in this case, viewers were left stunned and no less satisfied as Downton Abbey’s plot bagged the hearts of many – including its sophisticated eye for fashion.

What Dowton Abbey is all about – Plot

The historical period drama follows the lives of the members of the aristocratic family, The Crawleys, in the post-Edwardian era happening in Yorkshire Country Estate. It also involves the lives of their domestic servants and how major events in history have affected and changed their lives drastically. The drama series depicts how the British hierarchy and its social classifications differ from the present generation we know. A whirl of high society gatherings, aristocratic architecture and luxurious fashion pieces took great influence in the drama.

Vintage Fashion Inspiration

We have gathered the best fashion ensembles to this list for you to take inspiration from! Are you ready?

Luxurious Pearl Accents and Elegant Soft Frills


This particular look is what greatly defines the default formalwear worn in aristocratic evening dinners or casual high society meetings. The most popular fashion look is the combination of silk and chiffon draped into soft frills paired up with luxurious pearl jewelries. The 20s gave birth to the iconic Marcel waves which are mostly accented with pearl or crystal headpieces.





If you fancy the 1925 novel The Great Gatsby, your eyes are in for a treat with the fashion ensembles from Downton Abbey. Although corsets are still a thing in the 20s, it has become less popular as the mid 20s emerges. Simpler outlines and loose silhouettes have conquered fashion in the mid 20s. In addition, lace, embroidery and beaded embellishments have become immensely mainstream on aristocratic formal attires.

Soft Silk Belts and Corsets


The use of velvet and silk gloves that rise up to the elbows is an essential fashion must for formalwear in the past. It can be matched to long frilled dresses, specifically with those that come with no sleeves.

Apart from loosely tailored dresses, Downton Abbey also showed an alternative to corsets in terms of making their feminine body physique more defined. Silk belts have surfaced, most particularly the ones that perfectly matches the print and color of the dress. Placed on the waist, the belt gives more definition to prominent womanly curves.


Source: Fox & Rose: The Lingerie Blog

Well, despite more and more women have liberated themselves from corsets, it was still considered traditionally fashionable in the 20s. It is most commonly worn with big ball gowns and poufy dresses.

Summer Hats and Fascinators



Source: The Boston Globe

20s fashion can never be complete without beautiful and colorful hats. In the photo above, Lady Mary and Lady Edith are wearing summer cream-colored hats that perfectly match their flapper look. The hats weren’t oversized, which makes them great for casual outdoor gatherings.


Source: The Consulting Detective

Although summer flapper hats have surfaces, fascinators were still greatly considered as elegant. Therefore, wearing fascinators depicts class and sophistication and are most commonly used in very grandeur occasions. Fascinators are quite common with European aristocrats, most particularly British royalty, up until this date. Fascinators come in more dramatic colors and are usually decorated with fancy feathers and luxurious embellishments.

Fancy Fur Coats

Source: BuzzFeed


Source: Radio

Wearing high quality animal fur is an aristocrat signature in the 20s. Rich velvet coats accented with fluffy animal furs have made constant appearance all throughout the drama series. The more dramatic the fur looks like, the more elegant it seems. Glamour grandma Martha Levinson’s appearance at Downton Abbey truly created a statement that screams luxurious and elegant! She went on a heavily-printed coat with fluffy brown fur that matches her intricately embroidered fascinator. Of course, the iconic Marcela waves are not going away anytime soon, so the wavy bob truly complements the whole look.

True enough, Downton Abbey have brought us a solid rewind from the past and how fashion tells a vast story in people’s lives. The era made a great transition from the Edwardian era, a time when women are limited to extreme frills and ruffles, inexplicably uncomfortable corsets and thick fabric materials. The way the 20s influenced today’s fashion is immense that even some of the pieces from back then are still wearable until today. Want to know more about vintage fashion in movies? Read Mad Men, Café Society, The Wings of the Dove.

Source: GlamourPOPSUGAR Fashion

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