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Top 11 Best Costumes From Downton Abbey Season 5

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Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley, Downton Abbey, Season 5

Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley, Downton Abbey, Season 5

Costumes of Season Five of Downton Abbey

Season five of Downton Abbey aired in September 2014. It is set in 1924 between February to December, with the Christmas special actually having Christmas take place within the episode.

This season we see new growth with regards to the ladies' sense of fashion. All of them keep in step with changing styles but they all adapt the fashions to their personalties and their own personal sense of style. One might favor classic looks with a sleek modern edge and one might favor ornate garments with a hint of romance and youthful exuberance. The characters' unique traits are on full display in their fashion choices in season five and it's never dull. All the costumes are beyond beautiful.

This page is a ranking of the top 11 costumes worn by the ladies of Downton Abbey in the fifth season. They were ranked by memorability, aesthetics and how they reflect the characters and the scenes. Of course it’s all subjective so your opinions may be different than the rankings.

The costume designer for season five was Anna Robbins.

Spoiler Warning

List is also subject to change


Poll #1

Number #11

Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley, Downton Abbey, Season 5

Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley, Downton Abbey, Season 5

Lady Mary's Green Evening Gown

Mary’s fashion in season five is seen evolving beyond just a mere fashionable upper-crust lady; Mary is using her style to communicate taking a more active role in the running of the estate. Costume Designer Ann Robbins said that Mary’s bold choices reflect Downton itself as she is the embodiment of the place itself as she is the next generation. As seen in this evening gown which is emerald green. Not a shade she has been seen wearing in prior seasons but it reflects the lush greenery and majestic trees of the estate.

Like any and all of Mary’s garments is very much in the style of the times. The gown is sleeves with a rounded neckline. In the back it’s a low wide v-shape. The hemline is a handkerchief with the shortest parts at roughly the knees.

The gown is embellished with black and silver beaded appliques at the front bodice and some more at the back. There is also a draped belt like element at the waist with a silver clasp.

Mary tends to style this gown with black accessories to add to her bold new approach to fashion.


Number #10

Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley, Downton Abbey, Season 5

Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley, Downton Abbey, Season 5

Lady Mary's Red Tabard Gown

This evening gown is another example of Mary’s bold use of color in her wardrobe this season. She wears it most notably in the premiere episode of season five during Cora and Robert’s anniversary party and in the finale. Unlike green, red is one of Mary’s primary colors so this gown feels more in step with her past costumes.

The neckline is round in both the front and the back. The black is is lower. The gown has a tabard look with a lighter red as the outer layer and darker more saturated red as the underlayer. The other layer as black beading in a swirling pattern all over the gown.

The silhouette is very tube-like with no hint at a waistline and it’s sleeveless.

Like her green gown, Mary favors black accessories with the gown in the opener of the season. In episode eight she pairs it with cream gloves and a long white beaded necklace which is layered with a similar necklace that has black beads.


Number #9

Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith Crawley, Downton Abbey, Season 5

Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith Crawley, Downton Abbey, Season 5

Lady Edith’s Champagne Floral Evening Gown

Edith’s emotional life is fraught this season to say the least. At least at the start of the season, Edith seems to think things will work out for her as she has a tenant of her family’s estate caring for her illegitimate daughter under the guise that the girl, Marigold, is an orphan. Of course this plan doesn’t work, in fact it implodes. As a result of the secret and being apart from her child, Edith is very unhappy this season and her clothing is reflective of this situation.

Her colors return to her more broken and muted autumnal tones. There however are more femimine flourishes paired with lovely uses of textures and some alternative-edge to juxtapose Mary’s cutting-edge yet classic look.

For this evening gown, it fits Edith's more femimine sensibilities with its approach to style. The color is a muted champagne color with some gold beaded line details down the front of the bodice and floral embellishment at the sides.

Though the gown is sleeveless there is a sheer cape detail at the back to create an air of delicate refinement and movement. Details like this are seen in a lot of some of Cora’s costumes. With regards to Edith it more communicates her fragility at the situation. Though she is seen wearing this gown in episode eight after her issue works out in her best interest, for the moment. The chiffon cape detail was very popular in 1924.

The gown has matching sheer overlay which contributes fullness to the handkerchief hemline which hits at the mid-calf.


Number #8

Elizabeth McGovern as The Countess of Grantham Lady Cora Crawley, Downton Abbey, Season 5

Elizabeth McGovern as The Countess of Grantham Lady Cora Crawley, Downton Abbey, Season 5

Lady Cora’s Teal Dress with the Orange Coat

One could do a ranking just on the coats the ladies wear throughout Downton Abbey, there are just so many lovely examples in this show. In fact Mary’s fur trim coat she wears in the third episode of season five is one of the standout coats of the seasons, however it’s more than just the coat itself, it’s the look and the vibe of the whole costume.

This look of Cora is one of her all time standouts of the show’s run. This look consists of teal dress with white frog trim details with an orange coat. Cora wears it when she goes to the National Gallery to look at paintings with Art Historian Simon Bricker. She also tells a bit of backstory of her first season in London presumably when she meets Robert, which would make for a great prequel.

The use of the complementary color pairing speaks to Cora’s fashion being more exotic and less English than her family. That was an intentional decision of costume designer Ann Robbins, with regard to Cora’s look in season five.


Number #7

Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley, Downton Abbey, Season 5

Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley, Downton Abbey, Season 5

Lady Mary’s Silver and black Evening Gown

In episode four, Mary and Rosamund attend a dress show. There Charles Blake introduces her to Mabel Lane-Fox, the woman who Tony Gillingham left for Mary. Also at this dress show Mary spots a gown which she declares as “yummy.”

Mary is seen wearing this warmish silver and black evening gown in the following episode during a cocktail party and in the finale when she plots for Lord Sinderby’s butler to get a black mark as he is being rude to Tom.

This gown is primarily metallic silver with black beading that forms a floral pattern. While it’s floral it’s not soft looking as other floral embellishments seen in the costumes. It’s decidedly more art deco, more angular, more current Mary.

The more metallic looks were inspired by Egyptomania which surged after the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922. As a result sequins became more prevalent in fashion as well as metallics and metallic threads. It would have been seen as luxury to have metal spangles on one’s garment. Taffeta and silk flowers were more economical. Mary has a gown like this which is seen wearing in less formal events while in London.

The hemline is angled and is closer to the knees. This is one of Lady Mary’s shorter evening gowns thus far. The hemlines were getting shorter thanks to Coco Chanel who in 1924 cut the length so that gowns could be more “danceable.”


Number #6

 Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley, Downton Abbey, Season 5

Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley, Downton Abbey, Season 5

Lady Mary's Dark Red Evening Gown

All the way back in season 2, Mary mused about getting a boy’s haircut like the women in Paris, and nearly six years later she got the cut. Mary unveils her new modern look to her family in episode six right before dinner. On this occasion she is meeting Rose’s love interest, Atticus, for the first time and Edith is mourning Michael Gregson confirmed death.

This new haircut of Mary’s compliments her newer sleeker more angular fashion look than her softer chigons. The gown Mary wears while she is showing off is a deep dark red. The neckline is sheer while the bodice creates points highlighted by metallic white trim. The sheer neckline goes to the back which is low. The white trim creates a diamond in the back. Also in the back is a flounce train that looks like it has some texture like lace.

The front of the gown is unadorn aside from the neckline and the silhouette is fashionably straight with no waist definition, The hemline mid-calf and it higher in the front and lower in the back. Though there could be some asymmetry to it as well, it’s hard to tell.

It’s a very bold and sleek gown which is perfect for Mary’s strong new look.

Lady Mary is also seen wearing this gown in the premiere of season six.


Number #5

Lily James as Lady Rose MacClare, Downton Abbey Season 5

Lily James as Lady Rose MacClare, Downton Abbey Season 5

Lady Rose's Pink Proposal Evening Gown

The young ladies of Downton have very different color palettes from each other. Mary has the bold jewel tones, Edith has more autumn tones and Rose has powerdry blues and pinks. Or Mary is the Winter, Edith the autumns sometimes spring and Rose is the pastels summer and spring. All these colors suit their complexions, personalities and stages of life.

Towards the end of episode seven Atticus proposes to Rose after a short yet serious courtship. For the occasion Rose wears a soft pink gown with white beading.

The hemline is just about at the knees and has skirt-like flounce which were very on trend in 1924. It also adds to the sense of romance of the scene.

Rose pairs it with crystal beading with hints of pink tones and silk rose in her hair. She looks youthful, romantic and a touchy dreamy in this heavenly gown.


Number #4

Lily James as Lady Rose MacClare, Downton Abbey Season 5

Lily James as Lady Rose MacClare, Downton Abbey Season 5

Lady Rose MacClare Geometric Floral Evening Gown

Rose wears this beaded evening quite a few times during season five. It’s a very cheerful gown that is champagne in color with angled geometric line designs in a darker beige tone. At the waist there is a zig-zag band with rose details. It is very in keeping with Rose’s fashion sense and her ability to pull off overly embellished garments.

The hemline hits at the midcalf with a maroon underlayer poking out at the hemline which adds a touch of softness that plays nicely with the angular lines of the gown. This maroon layer created the more fashionable skirt-like aspect that was popular in 1924.


Number #3

Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith Crawley, Downton Abbey, Season 5

Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith Crawley, Downton Abbey, Season 5

Lady Edith’s Dark Orange Velvet Evening Gown

Back in season four, Edith wore a few gowns that featured exposed shoulders. These gowns were to express Edith’s budding sensuality as she pursues a relationship with Michael Gregson. In season five, Edith has a gown that sports the same exposed shoulder look but instead of beading it’s made from a velvet which is more in line with her textural approach to fashion this season.

Edith wears this gown after it has been established that her daughter will be brought to the Downton nursery as a ward. Only Cora, Rosamund and Violet know the truth but Robert and Tom figure it out later in the season.

This gown is made from a lovely burnt orange velvet. The halter neck piece is beaded. There is a keyhole-like detail at the point where the velvet meets the collar. There is a belt at the waist that matches the collar.

This dress has an under layer that also acts as an insert down the front of the bodice. The hemline is floor length which adds to the sense of drama of the velvet fabric. There is also an inverted draped bustle like element of the back which also adds a ton of visual interest.

This gown speaks to Edith’s edgy style that costume designer Anna Robbins was going for her costumes this season and it’s just wonderful.


Number #2

Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley, Downton Abbey, Season 5

Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley, Downton Abbey, Season 5

Lady Mary's Blue Frock

Lady

Mary has many beautiful evening gowns but many of her casual looks are just as iconic. This blue dress with the red hat she wears to the fashion show in episode four is one such iconic look for Lady Mary.

This look perfectly encapsulated Mary’s fashion evolution that culminates in season five. It’s the perfect balance of classic lines with a bold aesthetic.

The dress is a striking dark blue with pops of white on the cuffs and a pleated ascot under the blue collar. The fabric of ascot has a square pattern on it which adds just a touch of texture. The pleating on the ascot adds angularity.

The dress has little embellishments but it does have fabric covered buttons on the front and the back. There is also a belt with a silver square buckle at the dropped waist line.

She pairs it with a dark red wool hat. The pop of red against the dark blue adds a dynamic and cutting edge look. It’s the perfect look for the chic Lady Mary.


Number #1

Lily James as Lady Rose MacClare, Downton Abbey Season 5

Lily James as Lady Rose MacClare, Downton Abbey Season 5

Lady Rose's Wedding Gown

Lady Rose MacClare doesn’t have the typical society wedding as her groom is a member of the Jewish faith. Her wedding consists of the Caxton Hall Registry Office and a blessing at the Savoy Chapel.

For her registry hall part of her wedding, Rose wears a powerdry blue suit with a vintage lace collar however it’s her wedding gown she wears to the blessing and the reception that is a showstopper.

The gown itself is a 100 years original silk tulle beaded piece unworn till Lily James wore it as Rose. It was a rare find. The original garment fit her perfectly so it was completely meant to be. Robbins created the ivory under layer to complete the overall look of the gown.

As it’s not an official wedding ceremony, Rose forgos a veil but she does wear a charming headpiece. The headpiece was created using real roses with gilded ferns, which compliments the beading of the gown, and pearls. It’s the perfect accompaniment for her stunning wedding gown.

Of all the wedding gowns in Downton Abbey, Rose’s is the most ornately embellished and freshest of the bunch.


A Model Downton Abbey Season Five

A Model Downton Abbey Season Five

During the fashion show we are treated to an Egyptomania look. It's a very cool and memorable look but not quite in keeping with the style we are used to seeing from the ladies of Downton.


Catherine Steadman as Mabel Lane-Fox, Downton Abbey Season Five

Catherine Steadman as Mabel Lane-Fox, Downton Abbey Season Five

The other honorable mention is the light green gown that Mabel wears when she stays at Downton. It’s embellished with silver beading. It’s a different color from the other characters which makes it fresh and interesting.

Lily James as Lady Rose MacClare & Matt Barber as Atticus Aldridge, Downton Abbey Season 5

Lily James as Lady Rose MacClare & Matt Barber as Atticus Aldridge, Downton Abbey Season 5

Poll#2

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