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"Downton Abbey" Costume Party Prep

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  • Katie Culpepper
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Downton Abbey Season 3 Jazz Age Cocktail Reception and Screening 

It's coming quickly, and we'd be lying if we said we weren't excited. While costumes aren't required at the Arkansas PBS Foundaion's Jazz Age Cocktail Reception and "Downton Abbey Season 3" screening, we can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want one! But there's a difference between wanting and having, yes? So to help out, we're sharing our secrets - for rentals and DIY.

First thing's first. The costumes can be as high or low brow as you like. Around the office, we have a lot of different ideas. There are fans who are deeply dedicated to period detail, and they're looking into renting from a theater company. ( We did say deeply devoted, right?) 

For those of us who are slightly less dedicated, we're looking to local costume shops to see what's available, popping into flea markets to see what we might be able to own (instead of rent for just an evening) and visiting local department stores and thrift stores to see what we can see. After all, why not take a good deal when you can find it?

Also, while I haven't heard of anyone brave enough to attempt it (and as a novice seamstress, I consider attempting something like this the epitome of bravery), there are also patterns to be had. 

With two weeks 'til party night and Christmas coming up, however, I see myself as closer to the potential for being one-ripped-seam-away-from-a-nervous-breakdown than being capable of stitching together my own "Downton Abbey" digs. I'll gladly pay homage to those of you who are ready to pull it off, though!

More along the lines appropriate for my tapped-out brain and mid-level DIY skills, however, are these great fascinator options! They are very, very Downton Abbey-esque, since Lady Mary's love for hats has proven far less capricious than her love for Cousin Matthew (in my humble opinion). And who can resist an excuse to wear a good hat?

Here are a few ideas for inspiration (or ownership, if you'd like to purchase tutorials or the hats themselves):

A Passion for Peacock Feathers by The Teacup Milliner

My Milliner Secrets Feather Manipulation by The Teacup Milliner

Oriental Plum Blossom Fascinator by The Teacup Milliner

"Fascinator" search on Etsy

And a few more with more detailed (and free) instructions:

Downton Abbey Style One: Statement Hats by La Vie En Rose

P.S. - I made this … royal wedding fascinator

How-Tuesday: Easter Fascinator With OutsaPop Trashion from The Etsy Blog

DIY $5 Derby Hat and Fascinator Tutorial

Hair-Piece DIY from "The Birds" by little luck tree

Fascinator Hat Tutorial by Whitney Sews

Another idea? Learn to craft your own Lady Mary-esque locks with a bargain brunette wig in this tutorial from Refinery29 Halloween.

Be ready to have some competition, though! At least one AETN Department is already working on their fabulous pieces and ready to compete. See if you can spot them when you join us!


Dec. 19, 2012

Arkansas PBS Foundaion Jazz Age Cocktail Reception, 6 p.m. 
"Downton Abbey: Season 3" Screening Event*, 7:30 p.m.

*Must RSVP to reserve seats for the screening event; doors open at 7:15 p.m.