Downton Abbey is a bubble. It's a wonderful, magical world where the sudden entrance of a gigantic fortune comes just as we thought all was lost, where men in wheelchairs suddenly walk again, where turn-of-the-century British aristocrats have a shockingly anachronistic attitude about homosexuality. It's a soap opera in fancy clothes, and that's why we love it.
But once the cameras wrap after a hard day's work of trotting around in lace petticoats and hunting britches, these actors and actresses have to return to the hard, cold reality of the 21st century. They're real people with other jobs, families, and most of all, outfits. Because we know this can be hard to remember, we've put together this handy guide that will help talk you down when your feelings about, say, a certain character's sudden death get way too real. It's okay, buddy. It's just pretend.
Photo: Courtesy of ITV.
Lady Edith, a.k.a. Laura Carmichael
Seen here after performing in Uncle Vanya, Lady E. is clearly most at home in cuffed jeans and ankle boots — not that we don't love her in '20s garb, either. For a girl whose been at once the black sheep and the least-loved on-screen, it's great to see her looking happy (not to mention chic) in real life!
Photos: Can Nguyen/Rex/Rex USA; Courtesy of ITV.
Cora Crawley, a.k.a. Elizabeth McGovern
These Americans! So wild, so uncouth! Look at her, singing in a band in front of God knows how many commoners, and with that low-cut top. Absolutely ghastly.
While that might be the Dowager Countess' reaction, we're just loving it. Ms. McGovern moonlights as the singer for her band, Sadie and the Hotheads, and clearly she knows how to own the stage.
Photo: Brian Rasic/Rex/Rex USA; Courtesy of ITV.
Lady Sybil, a.k.a. Jessica Brown-Findlay
Now, Sybil is quite the rule-breaker in the show, so it's not like we'd be surprised to see her running around in any manner of ridiculous outfits. But those bangs! Maybe it's because she wears her hair up most of the time, or maybe we were generally too focused on her perfect pout to notice, but those are some gorgeous soft curls. Girl, what shampoo do you use?
Photos: Ken McKay/Rex/Rex USA; Courtesy of ITV.
Anna Bates, a.k.a. Joanne Froggart
As a lady's maid, Anna generally keeps it neutral — grays and whites, maybe a touch of dark velvet for a day-off. But this Twiggy-inspired ensemble? Completely modern, and with a major 'do to match! We'd never have guessed she had such style under that prim bonnett!
Gregory Pace/BEI Images.
Daisy and Mrs. Patmore, a.k.a. Sophie McShera and Lesley Nicol
Though they may not get along great in the kitchen, these two lovely ladies are clearly friendly in real life. And honestly, if you'd told us yesterday that Mrs. Patmore could rock a blowout and a leopard-print coat, we would have probably slapped you. Props to Daisy for the trendy, multi-textured coat, too!
Photos: David Thompson/Rex/Rex USA; Courtesy of ITV.