THE NEW EDWARDIANS
Thursday, 26 July 2012

THE NEW EDWARDIANS

The extraordinary images that reveal how women dressed 100 years ago – and how they can inspire your wardrobe today…

Written by Katy Pearson

In the first decade of the 20th century, Beatrix Potter was putting pen to paper and women had yet to get the vote. But as these photographs from the early 1900s prove, Edwardian ladies had the art of elegance down to a tee. Edwardian fashion

The images, taken in London and Paris by the late amateur photographer Edward Linley Sambourne, show long skirts and puff-sleeved blouses to be the sartorial choice de rigueur. A dash of lace, a jaunty hat and a parasol, finished off the look. The Edwardians were the last of the English women to wear a corset in daily life. And while we are not suggesting that you squeeze into a whalebone contraption, there are elements of the era that you should think about adding to your wardrobe this season.

TV drama Downton Abbey returns to our screens in the autumn, and both catwalks and high streets are full of fashion that harks back to a time gone by.

Lady-like, decorous and modest, it’s the finishing touches that take this fashion style from Victorian drab to full-on fabulousness. This ‘Downton chic’ look is all about elegance and sophistication, coupled with bold statement pieces. And in the year the Olympics make the UK the centre of the world, it is very much about great British style.

You can model it at any age, too – whether you’re a young Lady Sybil or a grand Countess of Grantham. With all the long, flowing skirts, however, the only thing you might struggle to do is ride a bike – as I’m sure the Edwardian lady, pictured, soon discovered.

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