I realized today that I’ve not yet created a modest fashion-related post at my new blog. I enjoyed writing about such topics at Beauty from Inside, so I plan to do so here, too!
I will start with a look at some of the outfits of Sybil, a character in Masterpiece Classic’s new series, Downton Abbey. Some notes about the show and Sybil’s character appear below as well. Enjoy! 🙂
Downton Abbey is the newest Masterpiece Classic mini-series. It premiered on January 9, 16, 23 and 30, 2011, at 9pm on PBS, as well as online at the Masterpiece Classic website. It is a 4-episode series, and the second season is currently in production.
I would give this particular series a PG-13 rating. Warning: Episode 2 contains the majority of any of the negative content in the series. For the full synopsis of Episode 2, see here: scroll down and click “Read Full Synopsis”. Please note that most of the negative content of the series is limited to Episode 2, which you can easily skip through if you watch the series online.
I enjoyed watching Downton Abbey. The series is about a turn of the century family and neighborhood grappling with change while trying to retain all that is traditional. It is as much a story about the overall social structure and progression of history in England as the internal conflicts and triumphs of the Crawley family and their friends, as individuals and in how they relate to each other. The only thing that I didn’t care for in this series was when the producers would occasionally insert their own modern perspectives, which were anachronous in the story. Yes, it’s fiction, but still. This was most clear in Episode 2, but there were a few blips of anchronism throughout other Episodes as well.
My favourite character in the series definitely has to be Lady Sybil Crawley, played by Jessica Brown-Findlay. The character Sybil is interested in women’s civil liberties, and is the most “forward-thinking” of all the characters. Downton Abbey took a risk foraying into the cliche of featuring a female character that goes against the historical tide and is more concerned about women’s rights and activism than a young woman of her time probably would have been (such women were the exception, not the rule); yet the risk paid off. The writers, as well as Jessica’s performance, gave Sybil a cheerful disposition and interdependent, look-out-for-others streak unlike many traditional “civil-minded woman”-archetype characters. This made the character seem more realistic than she might have been otherwise. I think that one reason for this is that her character is not so much politically as morally-centred. She has a heart, and we believe she’s really trying to do the right thing because she believes it’s the right thing, and not to “be a rebel” like many female characters that have gone before her in film history. You can actually imagine her making a difference.
Of course, there are more reasons to like Sybil’s character- her wardrobe! Here are some beautiful examples of the clothing, jewelry, hats and hairstyles of Lady Sybil Crawley of Downton Abbey.
At center: Sybil in a blue, harem pants-style outfit.
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A closer look at Sybil’s headwear.
A close-up of Sybil’s jewelry and hair.
Sybil wearing a face-framing hat in her trademark colour of blue.
Another of Sybil’s stunning hats.
Sybil with her sisters, donning a hat with a swooping brim.
Sybil in a lovely purple frock.
Sybil’s purple frock in the film.
Sybil in a traditional, elegant Edwardian gown.
Sybil in a softly pleated pink blouse.
Sybil wearing black lace and a dramatic hairstyle.
What we can learn from Sybil’s style sense:
– Wear face-framing hats.
– If you have a fair to lightly tanned skin tone, embrace feminine colours such as blue, purple, white and pink, as well as appropriate tans and light browns. More dramatic colours such as black can be elegant for evening wear.
– Embrace length in skirts and dresses.
– Find the right kind of collar style or shape for your body style. Sybil’s necklines are often rounded or something close to an oval-shape.
– The sheen and drape of a fabric often helps to define how elegant an outfit will look.
– You do not need a lot of jewelry or makeup to look your best. Minimal jewelry and makeup looks natural as well as elegantly feminine and lovely.
– Drop-style earrings are a beautiful accent to an outfit.
– Hairstyles that are off the face, whether parted or unparted, can help bring out the beauty in a young face. Many of Sybil’s hairstyles are practical for the hat-lover, and are frequently “half-up”, ideal for showing just a bit of hair from beneath a hat, as well as both practical and elegant uncovered.
– Plain heels, especially in white, can make an outfit look even more feminine and beautiful.
What do you think of Sybil’s sense of style? Do you have any suggestions for Sybil inspired attire?
For more about Jessica Brown Findlay, the actress who plays Sybil, read here at the Enchanted Serenity of Period Films blog.
Note: Due to the popularity of this character among my friends and the interest I have in costume fashion, I have decided that there will probably be a part 2 to this post! Look for it in the near future, with some stills of Sybil’s wardrobe that you probably have not yet seen outside of the film. 🙂