Drawing Inspiration From Historical Dramas (Without Looking Like You’re Wearing A Costume)

January 20, 2015 • Get It Now, Magazine

Historical Dramas Fashion Inspiration

Chances are you’ve seen Downton Abbey, Reign, The Tudors, and similar popular shows that are set centuries ago. Storylines, excessive bodice-ripped drama, and historical accuracy aside, the characters’ remarkably detailed wardrobes are one of the many reasons to watch these shows. In fact, even as a modern woman, their outfits make us want to wear piles of jewelry, corseted dresses, and velvet cloaks.

How can you wear Victorian, Edwardian, Tudor, Renaissance era, and other historically inspired pieces without looking like a Renaissance Fair escapee?

Its All About The Jewelry. One thing nearly every wealthy character on these shows has in common is that they wear tons of jewelry – men and women alike. You can find necklaces, earrings, and rings similar to the styles now, and pair them with simpler pieces for daytime, or go all out at night with a multilayered necklace like this emerald green and gold stunner by Lulu Frost.

Choose Ornate Fabrics. Lush velvets, glowing satins, and brocades paired with contemporary styling can all contribute to the overall feeling, but without looking dated or like you’re celebrating Halloween. For instance, this burgundy Magaschoni velvet jacket has that sumptuous royal feeling and silhouette, but the tailoring is undoubtedly modern. Pair it with everything from cropped tuxedo-style pants to denim, and don’t be afraid to pile on the jewelry (see above)!

Find Embroidered Details On Current Pieces. Elaborate embroidery is another frequent characteristic of all the characters’ ensembles, typically in jewel tones or soft pastels (bright colors or neons simply wouldn’t have been available at that time). You can echo this feeling with similar embellishments like this Thakoon blue and gold embroidered frock with an appropriately defined waistline.

Try Elegant Hair Accessories. Another element all these dames and damsels (it feels appropriate to call them that) tend to prefer is intricate hairstyles complete with the appropriate bejeweled accoutrements. While wearing a crown or tiara doesn’t really work for modern daily life, adding a few small braids with sparkling barrettes or bobby pins to a ponytail or curling your hair and adding a jeweled headband like this one from LOFT can lend an aura of romance to even the most basic outfit.

Makeup Matters. If all of the above is too much, try mimicking the subtle makeup of the women on these shows. They are usually fresh-faced with a healthy dose of blush (or should I say rouge?), rosy lipsticks, defined but natural brows, and subtle eye makeup. Benefit’s Benetint is a cult classic that’s perfect for recreating these looks yourself.

Last but not least, remember there really is no good way to wear a corset without looking somewhat ridiculous unless it is part of a ballgown – or you’re in the bedroom, but that’s a topic for a different blog.

Do you draw fashion inspiration from your favorite costume dramas?

1. LuLu Frost Collier Style Victorien Cristaux Emeraude, now $199

2. Magaschoni Velvet Jacket w/ Tags, $195

3. Thakoon Addition Embroidered Dress, now $95

4. LOFT Scalloped Beaded Headband, $24.50

5. Benefit Cosmetics Benetint, $30

– Jacqueline Zenn

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