Some people watch “Downton Abbey” for its enthralling plot lines. Others watch it for its spectacular cast and gripping performances. We watch it for the hats. The period drama wouldn’t be the same without the fabulous accessories that are perched atop many of the characters’ heads. In post-Edwardian Yorkshire, your outfit wasn’t complete without a hat.
If you were a lady, navigating the social etiquette of afternoon tea without a lovely accessory on your head would have been irreverent. While you wouldn’t wear a hat to dinner, you wouldn’t be caught dead in public without it before sunset.
The hat is still one of the easiest accessories to pair with any outfit. If you’re looking for Edwardian era hats to wear to a costume party or to make your street clothes appear statelier, check out our selection of Downton Abbey hats for sale. You can’t go back in time, but you can harness the elegance of the lords and ladies of Downton Abbey.
1910s HatsIn the 1910s, women’s hats had wide brims and were often bedecked with elaborate adornments. Feathers, flowers and lace ornamented the oversized brims. These hats were perfect for leisurely engagements, such as garden parties. The higher you ranked in society, the more appropriate it was to wear a huge hat.
In the beginning of the TV series, the Earl’s wife, Cora, would often wear hats that were festooned with feathers and bows. Her daughters wore daintier versions. They were often costumed in straw hats with medium brims. As the eldest daughter, Mary could get away with sporting more fanciful versions. Lady Mary, who was played by Michelle Dockery, could get away with wearing anything from a masculine stovepipe to a dainty cloche.
The Cloche HatSpeaking of cloche hats, the ladies of Downton Abbey evolved as the years went on. After the war, their brims narrowed, and their hats cupped their heads. The cloche was a strong fashion symbol in the 1920s. These days, the bell-shaped hat is an easy way to upgrade your winter hat wardrobe. It’s easy to wear whether you have long or short hair and can be neutral and subtle or decorated with trimmings.
Violet Crawley’s HatsThe Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by Maggie Smith, may have had the largest collection of hats on the show. The intimidating Mrs. Crawley was made more impressive by her extravagant head gear. In season 3, Smith’s hats were outdone by those of Shirley Maclaine’s character, Martha Levinson. As the younger women’s fashion changes, the older ladies retain their remarkable hat styles.
Mens Hats In Downton AbbeyThe men of Downton Abbey often wore military-inspired hats. However, they were also known to wear a top hat or bowler hat when they weren’t sauntering around with bare heads. When Harold Levinson appears in season 4, he looks distinctly American in a traditional boater hat.
The Earl of Grantham, played by Hugh Bonneville, as well as some of Mary’s suitors looked dapper and British in their tall stovepipe hats. This hat used to be associated with the upper class but now represents bold, anything-goes attire. Wear felt or fur to bring a unique look to a modern outfit. Go for a wool topper for a more traditional appearance. You don’t have to go sky high to wear this style. Understated versions have a shorter crown.