The costumes for the show make me wish that we weren’t so freakin’ slovenly with our dress nowadays. In Edwardian England – at least in this TV version – it looked as if everyone from the greatest earl right down to the lowest servant had nice, tailored clothes to wear for walking around the village. I suppose that’s to be expected when everything is made by hand for the individual rather than mass-produced and bought ready-made at a store, but my goodness! All the characters look so beautifully polished in every scene, whether dressed for a fancy dinner party at the abbey or walking around the village during a day off. It made my fingers itch to dust off my sewing machine and tackle some new patterns, which would be great if I had a space to do just that!!
But of course, it’s the story that really makes the show so great. The class system that is so deeply entrenched in the lives of those at Downton is quite foreign to an American viewer; yes, we have our class differences but nothing like what we see here. I mean, I wouldn’t know the difference between a lady’s maid and a kitchen maid – they’re both maids, right? But to them, that’d be like saying a Walmart register worker and a Tiffany & Co. saleswoman are the same. Not so much!
I just really like the characters, though. I like how evil O’Brien and Thomas are, but I’m also comforted that they don’t triumph over good ol’ Mr. Bates and William. The relationships that start and sputter are worthy of a soap opera, but they’re also so much fun. I find myself eagerly wondering which of the sisters is going to get married off first, and for what reason – true love? Convenience? For money? For fun?