The Downton Effect


This Sunday, is a very sad day. No longer will we hear the swish of skirts, the clattering of the kitchens or the baritone scoldings of Carson on the silverware not being at 45 degree angle… I am of course talking Downton Abbey, the national obsession that dramatically left or screens last Sunday. And it is only now, coming closer to my usual weekend Downton fix that I begin to come to terms with its departure. Twitter is still talking about, almost a full week after the final.

I would say the most noticeable effect has been upon my wardrobe, and it seems I am not the only one afflicted by what has been dubbed ‘The Downton effect’ (i.e. looking in ones wardrobe and simply not knowing what on earth one is supposed to do with these horrendous modern garments)

Across the country, sales of early faux 19th century garb and accessories, cloche hats, elbow length gloves and capes have been flying off the shelves, thousands are flocking to stately homes and heritage sites and fashion bloggers are embracing the new old look and mood with gusto.

Not since the 80’s and Brideshead Revisited have we as a country been so obsessed with the way things were; The King’s Speech, Mad Men (advertising always was ahead of the curve), The Hour and more recently Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy have had us all in a nostalgic tail spin.

But it made me think. Could one program really alter public consciences this radically, even to draw us away from a national diet of X-factor, Strictly and TOWIE? For though longing for times gone, we are using very modern technology to do so. Drama programs are now the most consistently tweeted genre of television. Ironically, we seem to identify with fictional characters and ‘true to life’ plots over ultra dramatized reality television.

It may be the cold weather making us long for the warm fire, the continuing economic downturn having us pining for a simpler, less credit heavy time. Or it could just be a realization that reality TV has already seen its glory days.

Or as one kindly tweeter put it:

Where are the phone numbers to vote for who stays in Downton Abbey? #Downton

Maybe not then.

It’s a long month until the Christmas special comes around. Until then, Lady Mary, I shall be wearing my cloche hat and full skirts, even when the wind and the tube does make me lose both.

Photo via @brixsmithstart