Hello, Hair! My Thoughts on the Return of Downton Abbey

By Jennifer Albers-Smith

***Warning: May contain spoilers for Season 5 of Downton Abbey***

Downton is back. And I’m so relieved. Nothing brightens up a cold January night (here in Michigan) more than a brightly colored and eventful Downton Abbey episode. And Sunday’s premier certainly didn’t disappoint. I spent a few days over Christmas vacation sick with the stomach flu, and I relived all of the Downton moments watching seasons 1-4 from my couch. I was ready for Sunday.

The clothing and hairstyles were fresh in my mind, so the first thing I noticed in Season 5’s premier were the new hairstyles. I wrote this post last year gushing over the clothes; now it’s time to focus on the hairstyles. Even Jimmy had a new ‘do. And poor Molesley…he has a good heart, but he’s hard to take seriously with his new “blue” hue.

Because I just couldn’t get enough (how can you ever get enough Downton?), I thought I would take us on a little tour of hair-dressing and coiffures of 1924.

The curl was coming back in style. I’m not sure if you noticed on Sunday, but many of the leading ladies of Downton were wearing more curl in their hair, less wave.

return of curl

Not Jimmy though. This season, he’s sporting a wave in his hair. Apparently, the style was popular among French men in 1924.

mens hair

I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly glad neither Edith nor Mary have taken up the “tooth-brush fringe” with bangs about two-inches wide. Thank goodness the Daily Mail Historical Archive had a picture of this because it really is as hideous as described, and I’m not sure I would have imagined it properly with just a description. Apparently, according to the article the style was started in the United States. Good lord.

toothbrush fringe

And speaking of the U.S., across the pond, in 1924, the bob was in. Here’s an amusing ode to the bob taken from Liberty Magazine Historical Archive. Shakespeare is probably rolling in his grave.

bobbed hair LibertyI don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what happens this season. The Dowager Countess, in my opinion, has the best lines. Her witty quips always make me laugh. Here’s hoping poor Edith will be happy again. And poor Baxter. Hopefully Thomas will leave her alone (which I doubt), and Molesley can get up the nerve to ask her out.

Other than great hair, what do you expect to see in season 5 of our favorite television series?


  1. The Return of the Curl. Daily Mail (London, England), Monday, June 09, 1924; pg. 11; Issue 8782. Daily Mail Historical Archive.
  2. Male Hair Fashions in France. Daily Mail Atlantic Edition (London, England), [Aquitania, Eastbound], Friday, March 21, 1924; pg. 6; Issue 160. Daily Mail Historical Archive.
  3. The Tooth-Brush Fringe. Daily Mail Atlantic Edition (London, England), [Aquitania, Westbound], Saturday, March 08, 1924; pg. 2; Issue 152. Daily Mail Historical Archive.
  4. Bobbed Heads and Bone Heads. Elsie Janis. Liberty Magazine (Rye, New York, United States), Saturday, July 26, 1924; pg. 5; Issue [12]. Liberty Magazine Historical Archive.



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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