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The Hats Of Downton Abbey

Let’s face it. We don’t watch Downton Abbey for its gripping plot lines, or novel approach to story telling. We watch it for the setting, for the period details, for the clothing. But most of all we watch it for two things: Maggie Smith as The Honorable Dowager Countess Violet, and for the Hats.

Let us now watch the former fight with a chair, and also wear a hat.

After the jump, some of the most fabulous examples of millinery to be found on Downton Abbey.


As befitting an Earl’s wife, we have a large array of exquisite hats.

Lady Grantham has some of the loveliest Edwardian hats to be found.

Meanwhile her daughters each sport their own version of the cloche hat, a big fashion staple in the 1910s.

When personalities come forth, we discover only Sybil really favors the cloche. Only Mary is fancy enough to go with the large brim.

Speaking of Lady Mary

Manly, yet feminine.

We know Mary’s the heroine, because, of the daughters, she wears the most hats. She even has more hats that her mother!

(Shut up! I know that last one’s not a hat. But the whole outfit is such a lovely example of the pre-flapper era style, and the feather forerunner to the modern fascinator is one of my favorite of Mary’s headpieces.)

Edith…I knew Edith got shortchanged in general, but I was shocked to realise that extended to her hat collection:

At least Sybil has the excuse of being stuck in a nurse’s uniform the entire second season! And they’re all such dark colors. Perhaps she’s just not into hats? Even Lavinia’s two hats are nicer…

Though I prefer her hair jewelry:

season2_characters_slideshow_lavinia_02

Meanwhile there’s Sybil….

sybil

I know this technically isn’t a hat, but it was my favorite part of her “scandalous” frock.

She really favors the cloche hat. Meanwhile, Branson has wicked awesome goggles.

Nursing chic, circa 1917.

You can’t be bothered with fashionable headgear with a War on….

Why We Watch: The Honorable Dowager Countess, Violet

Let’s face it, Maggie Smith is just an excuse to flaunt headgear.



She may not take the cup for the best flower, but she certain takes it for best hats.

Meanwhile, Isobel’s hats are almost staid so as to draw the comparison between that last mother of the Earl, and the next one.

A study in contrasts…

Let’s not forget about Lady Rosamund off in London. She prefers her hats to sit at jaunty 35 degree angles on her head.


But the rich aren’t the only one to wear hats. This was the 1910s. EVERYONE wore hats.

There are work hats…

Both dress uniform and everyday wear


And then there are hats for going to the village…

An Interview going hat.


I miss Gwen.

I say, are Ethel’s hats as dull as Edith’s? I think they are!

Mrs Hughes has a fine hat. So, for that matter does O’Brien.

Even Daisy wears them.

And I couldn’t leave this last observation out….

……………….We know she’s evil. She’s wearing a black hat.

(Part two with the men’s hats is here. Season three here, Season four here.)

47 thoughts on “The Hats Of Downton Abbey”

  1. Reblogged this on Meg Kavanagh Designs and commented:
    I was just about to write about the Hats of Downton Abbey (I’ve watched it while I’ve been unwell – and boy oh boy is it a feast for the millinery eye!) when I stumbled across this article – and it includes some terrific pictures! :-)

  2. That does it!!! My new Spring/Summer 2012 line in sinamy is going to be straight up La Belle Epoch!! WHAT could be better??? FABULOUS blog!! Thank you so much for assembling this!!!

  3. Reminds me of the saying that ‘You’re never really dressed without a hat’. What s superb survey – thanks so very much.

  4. As a committed hat wearer and belonging to the Red Hat Society I want to thank you for such brilliant stills. I was taught to make hats back in the 60s and was delighted when Diana made them popular again.

  5. Love this show, love the hats! My roommate and I just watched all the episodes this past weekend. It was a great time. I was feeling particularely underdressed by the second episode, lounging as I was in my jammie pants and t-shirt. Thank you for posting. This was a lot of fun to look at. :)

  6. Hats are always in fashion! The proper headgear elevates any costume to a memorable fashion statement. And a bit of a veil, don’t even get me started on the shinannigans they can cause.

  7. That does it! I have to try making those hats! I have daughters and grand daughters who would look just and beautiful and the Grantham girls. Thanks for spurring me on with this beautiful site.

  8. I NEED the fedora that Lord Grantham, or Mr. carLYLE (as it’s pronounced) in this season. Way more stylish than those dippy short brim fedoras t6hat guys have been over-wearing the pasat few years.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing this! These hats and photos, with awesome commentaries, from my favourite series (yes, off course because of the clothes) have saved this sleepless night! =D

  10. what a great post! I really love the way your thinking and presentation that you elaborate hare so nicely. All images of hats looks simply stunning. Great job. Keep posting.

  11. Pack them all up I could wear any of them, I prefer the wide brimmed but a hat is a hat, do not like caps, have been wearing them since is was in my mid teens, 60 years ago where can they or replicas be purchased?

  12. Ooo the hats. They too are one of my favorite parts of Downton Abbey, as is Maggie Smith.

    Thanks for sharing all of the hats. I want them all. :)

    1. I think the fashions of Downton Abbey are inspiring all of us to be less casual and more elegant in our appearance. I think the hats are grand and I just bought a cloche and intend to buy some other hats…and wear them…brings a touch of class to our very casual world.

  13. IN THE PHOTOS OF EDITH, MARY AND SYBIL ABOVE , CAN YOU TELL ME THE NAME OF THE HAT EDITH IS WEARING ? IT’S A LARGE BRIM HAT BUT NOT ROUND, IT’S OVAL WITH THE SHORTEST PART IN FRONT AND BACK. I LOVE THESE BUT CAN’T SEEM TO FIND A NAME OR TYPE FOR THEM. AND THANK YOU FOR THE LOVELY PHOTOS AND BLOG.

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