Dress Downton to match show's Great War theme

Role models...Downton Abbey cast show off the styles of 1914

Role models...Downton Abbey cast show off the styles of 1914

First published in Romsey

Enter into the spirit of this year’s Romsey Show by dressing in First World War style.

That’s the invitation from show organisers who, for the first time in its 172-year history, have given the event a theme – World War One and Hampshire Life 1914 to 1918.

The show, on September 13, will feature a range of Great War displays and visitors can play their part by coming to the show in period attire – although it’s not compulsory and you won’t have to wear gas mask!

There will be on-the-spot prizes for the best outfits. In addition, a wartime fashion guide has been produced to explain how easy it is to achieve the look without going to huge expense.

You don’t need an original costume – your own wardrobe or a charity shop will have lots of things that can be adapted, say the show organisers.

Think early Downton Abbey, Mr Selfridge or even Titanic: this is the era of Edwardian elegance, of country house gatherings filled with shooting parties and afternoon tea on the lawn.

Alternatively, there’s the more working class feel of The Village as well as the military and nursing uniforms of The Crimson Field.

The war years saw great changes in styles, especially for women.

In 1914 the corset and ‘S’ silhouette were still in vogue, with empire line skirts, white leg of mutton sleeve blouses, lots of lace and big hats.

By 1918 skirts had risen to ankle length and were much straighter while military uniforms had influenced such things as the trench coat.

For men, country tweed and corduroy were teamed with a trilby, long woollen socks and plus fours.

A dark suit could be accompanied by a bowler (still a favourite with Romsey Show officials!) or how about a stripy blazer and boater?

The working man look included dark trousers, collarless shirt, waistcoat, braces, flat cap and hobnail boots.

Boys wore smaller versions of their father’s outfit or sailor suits while girls favoured pinafores and full, calf-length dresses tied at the waist with a wide ribbon.

The Romsey Show guide to First World War fashion contains all sorts of ideas and useful website links for further information.

For a copy, call the show office on 01794 517521.

Comments (2)

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7:23am Tue 26 Aug 14

Romsey Constituent says...

There are enough charity shops in Romsey to satisfy anyone's needs!
There are enough charity shops in Romsey to satisfy anyone's needs! Romsey Constituent
  • Score: 0

7:49am Fri 29 Aug 14

pinkqueen says...

There are enough charity shops in Romsey to satisfy anyone's needs! pinkqueen.com
There are enough charity shops in Romsey to satisfy anyone's needs! pinkqueen.com pinkqueen
  • Score: 0

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