Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Downton Abbey Style One: Statement Hats

Raise your hand if you like Downton Abbey!
Me too. In fact, I wish Netflix would hurry up and add season 2 to instant streaming. They're *killing* me.
I started watching it on whim when John was out of town one weekend and finished the whole season in one sitting.
What really kept me glued to the TV were the gorgeous costumes. They were absolutely beautiful. I loved everything I saw. On everyone. Just fantastic. If you don't know anything about Downton Abbey, it's a series about a British family and their staff set in England and beginning with the sinking of the Titanic. So, 1914.
I knew immediately that a series about the style would be necessary for la vie, and this is the first part. I was inspired by a hat that I saw Mary wearing in one of the production stills.
photo from imdb.com
I had 2 similar hats at home which I inherited from my Great Grandmother (who was so smashing. I'll have to find pictures of her and all of her flapper-goodness to post for this series). Mine were totally plain, one is larger and black (which was used for this post) and the other had a much smaller brim and is grey. Maybe I'll redo that one later this week.
Anyway- I loved how it turned out and here it is, if you're ready to make your own. I tried toning mine down just a titch so that it would be more street wearable. (also, I really want the jacket she is wearing in this photo).
(1) Start it. Start with an old, period correct hat. You can either buy one new OR you can cruise thrift and antique shops. One of my favorite antique shops locally always has a few of these in stock. Clean it off and prepare it. It may have old adornments which need to come off!
(2) Feather it. If you'll be using feathers on yours, you'll need to create a feather pad. Simply start with a small piece of felt, I used a circular shape. Then hot glue your larger feather on to the pad. Next, glue your smaller feather on to the pad, making sure to arrange it as you'd like it to appear. Lastly, glue another piece of felt over top, creating a feather sandwich. Set aside. 
(3) Ribbon it. Instead of using bunched fabric (which you can!), I got a layered ribbon that incorporated both ribbon AND the heavy tulle seen in the inspiration piece. I glued one piece all the way along, overlapping at the edges and then I glued the second piece on in a mirror image style so that the "tops" of the ribbon were together instead of one top touching one bottom. 
(4) Feather AND lace it. Soo... I messed up and forgot to put my feather in. Ha. After you get your ribbon glued on you'll want to glue down your feather pad BEFORE covering the pad with lace. I had to do a weird little round up to hide my feather. After you get your feather on, add a piece of lace over top, hot glue down. I finished with a little gold button. The inspiration used a big black button. I also considered a cameo and a wrapped rosette, but in the end small gold button won out. 
(5) Wear it. I put the hat on and then formed a low bun underneath the brim. Other (better) options would be to curl your hair and make a little updo before placing the hat on. Or wave it. Or do whatever. Or wear your hair down and be a modern Downton Abbey enthusiast. Whatever way you wear it- enjoy it! I would probably wear mine a little differently in "real life". Maybe with a trench coat or a pair of jeans + heels. Or wear it with something more casual to be slightly ironic. How would you wear it?
Sometimes I wish I'd been born in a different era. It always seems so glamorous, the women in gorgeous attire, sitting around in drawing rooms while well-dressed men read to them. And then I remember how much I love the internet, sweatpants + indoor plumbing, heating and air conditioning and all of those wishes melt away!!!
I hope you're ready for another dose of DAS tomorrow! All the best and as always, thanks for reading!


  1. Love it. You are so elegant, and you really look like you are from another time...

  2. Beautiful hat, and you explain everything so well... I could even do this now. What very good taste you have- ballet & Downton Abbey :)

    1. And in the same way, what very good taste *you* have!

  3. Love the hat! And I stumbled upon this site http://www.shopsye.com/feltbody.html which has very reasonable "blank" hats for about $20. I so want a Downton hat!


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