Downton Abbey as a source of inspiration

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If you are interested in the Roaring Twenties, you are probably enjoying Downton Abbey now, as am I. I’ve been asked on several occasions if I am inspired by the magnificent costumes that they wear. While I admire the costumes very much, the answer is “no.” There are too many differences between my fictional characters and the fictional characters in Downton Abbey.images


images-1My Roaring Twenties series is based in 1925 in the United States; Downton Abbey is, obviously, in England and moves from 1912 through the 1920s. However, time and geography aren’t the problem. High fashion styles and fabrics crossed the Atlantic quite easily, as they had since the colonial era. The problem is that the women of Downton Abbey are wealthy and titled; my female characters are lower middle class at best and could never have afforded–or even seen–the sort of clothing the Crawley family wears.

One of my real characters, movie star Mary Pickford, could conceivably afford such clothing and no doubt did dress in European-designed clothes similar to the Crawley women, so for her, I guess I can consider the program a good source of information. Not for the others.

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Published in: on January 10, 2015 at 2:45 pm  Comments (2)  

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  1. You know what? I’ve never watched Downton Addey. Of course I’ve heard about it, I know it’s a good show, but I’m not a big tv-watcher and so it never happened. Though I think I will sooner or later, as well as I’ll watch Miss Fischer (never watched this either).

    But for me it’s the same as for you: my characters are middle class Americans (most of them belong to minorities), I don’t think they have much to do with these Downton Addey folk. Maybe Miss Fisher is a bit closer to me? I don’t even know…

  2. I think there’s another issue with the (gorgeous!) clothes in Downton Abbey, which is that they’re pretty conservative by 1920s standards. So while I agree, Mary Pickford would probably go for the style, most youger Americans (at least) were wearing shorter dresses, even for afternoon tea. With her theater background, I imagine Jessie would get quite a lot of pizazz on a lower budget and higher hemline! 🙂


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