Downton Abbey: The Clothes, oh, the Clothes!

By Jennifer Albers-Smith

If you haven’t gotten on the Downton train, now’s the time. Exciting things are happening on the show, and I can hardly wait until Sunday night when I get to see another episode. I refuse to spoil it (although I’m tempted) by buying the DVDs of Season 4 off Amazon and watching it in all in a single, glorious weekend. I love the story line, I love the characters–and man, oh, man–do I LOVE the costumes! Beautiful, beautiful clothes. Mary, Cora, Edith, Rose – all are dressed in these amazing silk dresses that I want to grab from the t.v. and wear in my everyday life.

It’s 1922. T.V. didn’t exist. How did women learn about the latest fashion?

Here’s an ad from the Daily Mail, taken from Gale NewsVault.  This one screams Rose to me, although Edith in Season 4 could also carry this off. She’s much more daring.


This one screams Cora, Countess of Grantham to me. This one is also pulled from the Daily Mail.


And this one would definitely be Edith, especially if she was still writing her column.


And who is Miss Bessie Ascough? She started work at the Daily Mail in 1912 as their fashion artist. Maybe she too wanted to break out of the model set for women during the early 20th century and start a career for herself?  All of this I pulled from Gale NewsVault, and the Daily Mail Historical Archive. Time to go back to watching last Sunday’s Downton Abbey episode on



photoAbout the Author

Jennifer loves her children, dogs, and Jane Austen. She has a B.A. in English and Sociology from the University of Michigan, and spends her waking hours as a marketing director and feeding her family.



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