7 Downton Abbey Beauty Tips We Can All Try ...

By Laura

7 Downton Abbey Beauty Tips We Can All Try ...

From the never-endingly staunch Mary through to Lady Grantham, the ladies of TV’s favorite period drama would have had some great Downton Abbey beauty tips we could all enjoy. During the early part of the 20th century, our aristocracy was still quite schtum about beauty in Britain. They were all into it, it just wasn’t ‘ladylike’ to be caught dead indulging in cosmetics. Today, there are still plenty of Downton Abbey beauty tips we can all try.

1 It’s All about the Corsets

Remember the scene in Season Four when Mrs Patmore gladly tells Lady Crawley that she would happily embrace the lack of corsets that came with the 1920s revolution? Well corsets were one die hard aspect of early 20th century beauty. Until the 1920s, this would have been one of the more painful Downton Abbey beauty tips, as it meant adhering to stomach clenching whalebone. Fast forward to the interwar period and elasticated alternatives were available. Whether the aristocracy would have adopted them is another matter…

2 Pinch, Don’t Blush

Obvious makeup, like the type you see on the cast of Jersey Shore today, was a massive no-no. Women who embraced synthetic blush would be immediate prostitute suspects. They could, however, give their cheeks a quick pinch to make themselves blush. Unless you are a fan of pain, I wouldn’t suggest doing this. Instead, take the less is more approach to achieve a Downton-like look.

3 Keep It Pale

Forget the sunbeds and spray tans, pale was the name of the game for Downton ladies. Those who resided upstairs, at least. Being pale meant one thing: you were so stinking rich you did not have to work or trudge from place-to-place outdoors. Those who were the palest even had visible veins, giving rise to the whole ‘blue bloods’ thing. If you want to look Lady Mary Crawley, you need to shun the tanned look.

4 Wear Yardley

The ladies of England’s aristocracy continued to indulge in Yardley to smell great, just as their Regency and Georgian ancestors before them had chosen to do. Today, Yardley is super budget. It still smells great, but it is a little simple compared to the likes of Yves Saint Laurent and Dior. Sprays, perfumes, and soaps all come with classic English smells. My personal favorite is daisy.

5 Never Wear Your Hair down

Just like ridiculously rouged cheeks, wearing your hair down was a sure fire way to convince people you were a prostitute. In addition to this, it may have looked pretty grim. While ladies like the Crawleys would have washed on a daily basis, they may not have washed their hair any more than once a month. Up dos were therefore essential. As were hats and ostentatious ornaments, which could keep styles looking pretty and not grubby.

6 Keep It Dark

Rose may be quite the belle in seasons three and four, but she certainly wouldn’t have been in vogue during the early 1900s. In fact, ladies with dark hair were much preferred over their blonde counterparts. One of the most popular hair colours during this time was chestnut brown. If you are naturally blonde, don’t go and dye your hair for the sake of Downton Abbey. As we very well know, beauty ideals soon shifted, making blonde a coveted colour once more by the 1950s.

7 Curves Are Totally Fine

Athletic skinny images weren’t really created until the 1940s in Britain. In the course of writing my dissertation, I have found a TON of literature on how fitness was really pushed by our government in an attempt to make women ‘do their duty’ for the country. A lot of this was to do with healthy breeding and parenting, and it got us all into sports! Yay for that movement! Until then, curves literally epitomised beauty. In fact, walking around places like Kew Palace and Hampton Court, I have only ever seen big bosomed ladies like myself. Don’t use this as an excuse to ditch exercise altogether (your heart does love it), but do embrace your curves lovingly.

So what can we take from this? Well less was certainly more during the early 20th century. There was also a desperate need to look fantastic and use beauty aids, without anybody noticing. This is clearly quite different to today. Out of all the ladies in Downton Abbey, who do you think strikes the right balance beauty wise?

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