Dress at Downton

All about the costumes of Downton Abbey, and actual clothing from the time it's set.

I generally post in series, and I love suggestions of topics or designers or other stuff that people specifically want to see, just because they want to know or because they're doing research for a fic.

Whenever I post images of extant clothing or fashion plates from museums, I give the full citation with accession number, museum name, title, and date - you just have to click on the picture to see it.

So here it is: The Court Presentation Gown. Bare shoulders and white plumes had been required for over a century, and white was traditionally worn by unmarried debs.

This type of dress - with a wide skirt silhouette, sometimes held out with a pannier-like understructure - is often called a robe de style in the historical fashion community. And while it was also called that in some fashion plates and text of the 1920s, these dresses were more often just described as “full skirted”. In the early years of the decade, the look was quite common (more so than it is portrayed in the show).

For more on that sort of thing - my post on Gatsby’s costuming and the illustrations in basically all of my blog posts on the ’20s.

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Another dark outfit for Edith, in another scene where she talks about her baby. I think the color scheme is also sort of reminiscent of her Love Dress, but with brownish orange instead of pink.

(Sorry for the poor quality of these caps. I don’t know what was going on.)

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More evening dress! All very attractive.

It’s notable that Edith is wearing that pink velvet dress with the odd neckline once more, and that Rose is wearing a much darker pink than she usually chooses.

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A study in contrasts. Very, very, very contrasting contrasts. I think Violet is Edwardianed-up especially for the occasion.

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Pink? A Gregson feels outfit.

I like the way Edith and Martha clash here, because characters very rarely clash - the designers are careful to not only have colors Mean Things, but they also usually make sure that all the characters’ clothing harmonizes, which means the clashing Means Things. I think it’s mainly the way that Martha rolls brightly over everyone else in the scene, and more broadly the way that Edith is the granddaughter that’s the least like Martha. Mary has an iron spine and Sybil was a rebel, but it’s harder to see what Edith gets from her, even though we know that Edith’s more than she looks.

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Mary’s pale blue dress is similar in color to the one she wore in the last episode, but is much brighter and warmer. While still being icy. Coincidence or commentary?

Lots of nice hats in this scene.

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Lots of evening dresses! I like Freda’s as well as Rose’s - it is a lovely shade of green. And her necklace is a wonderful compliment to the neckline.

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I love Rose’s blue dress. It’s like her earlier “I’m grown up and not in pink" blue evening dress, but a little looser, both in cut and in decoration, and I think that’s on purpose. The callback, I mean - because in being presented, she is taking a new place in society. I will be very interested to see if she wears blue more frequently in the next season.

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I like this dress, and it’s not a color that Edith’s worn very much through this season. It’s sort of a second-mourning, bruisy type of color, which fits with her regret over her daughter.

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