Style Clinic: On achieving Downton Abbey elegance with a modern-day twist

Stephanie Smith has tips on how to get the Crawley ladies look without looking like a flim set extra.

Elizabeth McGovern, from left, Harry Hadden-Paton, Laura Carmichael, Hugh Bonneville and Michael Fox, right, in a scene from Downton Abbey, the film continuation of the series that wowed audiences for six seasons, on release now (Jaap Buitendijk/Focus Features via AP)
Elizabeth McGovern, from left, Harry Hadden-Paton, Laura Carmichael, Hugh Bonneville and Michael Fox, right, in a scene from Downton Abbey, the film continuation of the series that wowed audiences for six seasons, on release now (Jaap Buitendijk/Focus Features via AP)

Dear Stylist

I love Downton Abbey style but how can I channel it without looking as if I’m dressed like an extra in a costume drama?

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Downton Abbey is back, this time on the big screen, so it’s time to party like it’s 1927 as Lady Mary, Lady Edith and their eternally stylish mother Lady Cora Crawley get out their satins and pearls, country tweeds and utterly covetable beaded knits.

Teal satin pleated midi dress, £27.99, at New Look.

The key to modern-day Downton dressing is to introduce to your contemporary wardrobe just one or two key pieces with a 1910s, 1920s and 1930s feel (the overall on-screen look is fluid, time-wise, depending on whether the wearer is, say, trendsetter Lady Mary or Edwardian- style queen, the Dowager Duchess (Dame Maggie Smith).

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Joanna Lumley steps out at Sandersons

Seek out genuine vintage if you can. For the TV series, pieces were found at Parisian flea markets, such as Chez Sarah in the Marché aux Puces in Saint Ouen. In Yorkshire, look out for vintage fairs, especially in York, Saltaire and Ilkley. Oxfam Online is also well worth browsing.

Were they alive (and real) today, one can well imagine the Crawley ladies heading for Harrogate to visit Cordings, a beautiful emporium of timeless country wear they would surely swoon over. Lady Edith would suit the fur-trim tweed jacket here.

Fur collar tweed jacket, coming soon to Cordings in Harrogate and at www.cordings.co.uk.

On the high street, this satin dress by New Look has a decidedly Downton feel, albeit with a modern twist. The beaded deco-style clutch bag here would work well with it, but avoid round toe T-bar heels and instead opt for leopard-print ankle boots for a 2019 kick.

Beaded clutch bag, £35, at Accessorize.