The fashions of ‘Downton Abbey’

History was my favorite subject in school and is a big passion of mine. So I often watch shows on the History Channel, Discovery Channel or whatever channel that gives me an insight on it.

I’m also fascinated by old movies, antique jewelry, or anything that infamous stars like Doris Day, Joan Crawford, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe, wore in those black and white movies from the ’40s and ’50s. Back in the day, the studio’s costume designer would dress the stars for everything, even the award shows, and that included the “Oscars.” The great fashion designer Edith Head, is one of the costume designers whose style I’ve often admired via those old films and is responsible for most of those ladies styles aforementioned.

I actually started watching the PBS show “Downton Abbey” because of the decade it was set in knowing I’d love all the fashion — I fell in love with the show second. I think the 1920s is one of my favorite eras for hair, clothes, shoes, makeup and especially jewelry.

There was a line of jewelry called “1928” that I used to buy antique inspired broaches, earrings, rings from a store called Mervyn’s … that store became or is now Kohl’s … at least Kohl’s now stands where all the Mervyn’s use to be where I live.

At any rate, this is the last season for “Downton Abbey,” and I’m going to be sad to see all the great storylines and all the fabulous fashions come to an end.

I’ve often wondered what inspired the stylist or costume designers to create the different looks for all the specific characters and Anna Mary Scott Robins, the costume designer for season six of “Downton Abby” summed it up this way:

downton-abbey-clothing-line-main“I’ve really gone to town and found some incredible original pieces that I’m very excited about. Knowing that it’s the final season, I wanted to go out on a high and epitomize that mid-decade point that we’ve reached. The ’20s glamour and decadence, knowing that that way of life is waning. You could troll vintage markets for months and months and months and it might not be exactly like it was in your imagination. That’s another reason you make something: It gives you control over the exact coloring of the silk, the cut, the detailing. I tend to have an open mind when vintage shopping and am constantly looking for things that could be for any of our characters. When I find them, I’ll buy them and stockpile them. I know the characters so well that I can buy things knowing they’ll be good for certain scene moments. Having a rough idea where the characters’ stories are taking them, I try to be prepared.”

Until next time my Veteran Fashionistas, as always, stay fashionable!

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About the Author

Jackie Tacke

Jacquelyn Tacke is a proud Navy veteran. She has represented designers from “Project Runway,” “Project Runway All Stars,” “All On The Line,” etc. Some of those designers’ lines were sold in Dillard’s, Lane Bryant, the Smithsonian museum, as well as a variety of boutiques across the U.S. She has produced celebrity fashion shows all across the country and abroad. She was also a guest speaker for FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising) in San Diego and is a member of Fashion Group International.


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