Here we are, three episodes into our favorite Edwardian-no-more soap opera, and we’re barreling headfirst down the radical Roaring Twenties rabbit hole. Dubbed les années folles — aka the crazy years — by the French, the headstrong decade, among other things, gave women the right to vote. It also — fittingly — gave women shorter skirts and the bias cut in sensually simple, revolutionary crêpe de chine, gabardine, and satin. The famous French couturiers, Jeanne Lanvin and Madeleine Vionnet, became almost single-handedly responsible for the mass shedding of corsets and the modern female figure.
Historically on point, this season’s lead costume designer, Caroline McCall, cites the two fashion houses: Mary owns a Vionnet dress and McCall took inspiration from Lanvin’s back catalog for her wedding dress. That being said, some of the characters are still decidedly stuck in the past. In anticipation of this week’s episode, we thought we’d go all Joan Rivers and rank our beloved upstairs uppities by how they’re taking to the dawn of a new era in fashion. Click through to see who we think is wearing it best.
8. Tie: The Dowager Countess of Grantham and Lord Grantham
Dear Dowager Countess, how we love thee, but — not surprisingly — you’re not really embracing the freedom and fun of a brand new world. Case in point: the dramatic difference between what you and Mrs. Martha (aka Cora’s rich mom) are wearing in this photo. That fussy old lady hat. That brooch on a (ugh) lace choker. Be inspired by your American counterpart. Think about fur. Long layered lariats. Comfier, free-flowing fabrics. Try out a turban. You never know, you might like a little less structure.
Lord Grantham, we love you too, but a lot has changed in three seasons. One thing that unfortunately hasn’t: your look. You’re a handsome man. Take some cues from your new son and co-Lord, Matthew, and do it up a little. Maybe try a slimmer cut. Maybe even a little color?