Downton Abbey-Inspired Fashion

It’s 2013! Time to dress like…an Edwardian? Quite right. Downton Abbey’s Crawley sisters and their fellow cohorts are inspiring modern women—and designers (Ralph Lauren dedicated his fall 2012 collection to the show)—with their WWI-era fashions. Now in its third season, the British drama features looser silhouettes, midi skirts (a peek of ankle! Gasp!), fabulous headpieces and pretty Art Deco details. Even though the Downton action takes place nearly 100 years ago, today’s trendsetters can still borrow from the era’s civilized charm—without the constricting corsets. So pile on the pearls and bring on the beading because, although war may change everything as the show’s tagline notes, good fashion never goes out of style.

1Black Beauty

Hourglass gals can show off a tiny waist and undulating curves in this  black chiffon embellished mermaid gown.  Just add elbow-length gloves, a wavy updo and some elegant jewelry, and you’ll fit right in with the likes of Edith, Sybil and Mary.

Mignon evening gown ($678), Unique Vintage

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2Deco Decadence

Season three of Downton Abbey is set in the Roaring 20s. Bring on the Art Deco fashion! This beaded tank lets Triangle body shapes show off their slim arms while skimming over a curvier lower half. If the Art Deco details don’t have you craving jazz age styles, just wait for “The Great Gatsby,” set for release this May. Can you say, full-on ‘20s fashion moment?

Awake “Zelda” beaded tank ($118), Anthropologie

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3Shimmer and Shine

Love that flapper style, but prefer not to look like you’re wearing last year’s Halloween costume? Show up to your next shindig in an Art Deco-inspired mini dress. If Lady Mary were hitting the cocktail circuit today, we think she’d be happy to shine in this modern beaded number that flatters a Ruler body shape’s slim silhouette.

Parker Art Deco Beaded Dress, $396.00, Shopbop

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4Tied Up

Vintage-inspired lace-up boots get an edgy kick when done in gray suede with a curvy corset detail and sexy stiletto heels. Cora would certainly approve.

Manolo Blahnik “Lustra” boots ($572), Bluefly

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5Ride On

Riding clothes aren’t just for horseplay. Take inspiration from the classic, sophisticated jackets worn by Lady Mary, with a striking version of your own. This elegant style looks great dressed up or casual—no stallion required—and the nipped in waist gives the illusion of a smaller middle for Circle body shapes.

Jane Post riding coat ($285), Neiman Marcus 

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6Pearls of Wisdom

The ladies of Downton Abbey would not be caught dead without their pearls, so whether your style is more akin to that of Mary, Sybil or the Countess of Grantham, drape a couple strands around your neck (faux is totally fine), add a knot and you’re instantly working the 20s trend—and elongating a short torso. Just leave the Maggie Smith bustle behind.

Forever 21 knotted pearlescent necklace ($8.80), Forever 21

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7Pretty as a Peach

This oh-so-pretty peach blouse could have come straight off the Downton Abbey set—and the winged chiffon sleeves are perfect for softening the strong shoulders of Inverted Triangle types. We’d wear pair this blouse with jeans and cool pumps to give it a modern vibe. Just be sure there’s a coat check wherever you’re going. The corset lacing in back and crystal embellishments in front are meant to be seen.

Nataya crystal vintage top ($122), Wardrobe Shop

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8Lovely in Lace

The Crawley ladies might be lost without lace. For Ruler shapes seeking a dose of Downton in their wardrobe, get it with this Edwardian-inspired blouse, which compliments a straight torso and fits right in with this year’s trends.

Ted Baker London lace top ($180), Nordstrom

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9Cloche Call

Large-brim, bowlers, stovepipes, oh, my! The hats showcased on Downton Abbey are as fabulous as the clothes (we’re talking to you, Violet, the Dowager Countess). Our fave pick for 2013: The always-chic cloche, which flatters every face shape. A little instant shot of aristocratic glamour? Who couldn’t use that?

Nordstrom contrast stitch cloche ($32.16), Nordstrom

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10Sheer Elegance

Edwardian romance meets modern style in this lovely Art Deco-inspired sheer tulle dress that compliments the straight lines of a Ruler body shape. We can imagine all of our favorite noblewomen taking a spin in this design. Come to think of it, we can see ourselves wearing it, too.

Elena tulle dress ($292.99), Ruche

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