She Leads, You Follow: Downton Abbey BAFTA Edition

There’s no denying the tremendous success of Downton Abbey, so it would come as no surprise that the show was honored with a special award at the BAFTA Tribute that took place on August 11. And while this tribute was held to celebrate the show’s worldwide success, the celebration had a pretty exciting side effect — it showed off just how fashionable their cast is!

Keeping it classic in black and white was Michelle Dockery, who turned heads on the red carpet in what InStyle reports was a Valentino gown. Dockery styled her minimalist gown with a slick of red lipstick and a metallic clutch, while letting her hair fall around her shoulders in loose curls.

Lily James followed suit in an equally exquisite ensemble, wearing a white jacquard midi dress by Ulyana Sergeenko. James completed her head-to-toe white look with white pom-pom embellished pumps, the product of what InStyle says is a collaboration of Christian Louboutin for Ulyana Sergeenko.

While Dockery and James are dressed for the red carpet, there are some things we can take away from their formal looks and apply to our everyday style:

  1. Panels are perfection – Michelle Dockery’s colorblocked dress shows us just how useful panels can be not only on a dress, but on any garment. The white panels on her dress are positioned in such a way that they fall straight down from her waist to the floor, just barely skimming her hips. This straight line from her waist to the floor creates the illusion of straighter hips while also allowing us to focus on the black center column of the dress, which overall makes her appear even slimmer than she is. The lines created by the colorblocked panels also lengthen her frame, making her appear taller. Panels like this on a dress, skirt, pants or top are a great way to create illusions of a longer, leaner silhouette — having the panels positioned on the outsides of the body help to create this shape, so look for pieces with a similar construction to recreate the look.
  2. Simple doesn’t mean boring – Lily James’ red carpet look may be done in one color, but it’s far from boring. That’s because her outfit is filled with subtle details that come together to create a cohesive, visually stimulating look. Her dress is done in jacquard, which means that the material of the dress has a print woven into it. Oftentimes, this print can be done in a metallic thread or a thread of a slightly different hue, which makes the print multidimensional. James’ dress has a tone-on-tone jacquard, meaning the print is done is the same hue as the dress, adding the slightest bit of texture to the monochromatic look. James then introduces satin and fuzzy pom-poms with her shoes, adding yet another dimension to her outfit. Her look shows us that an outfit isn’t boring just because it’s comprised of only one color — as long as it has pattern, texture and some shine, any outfit that pays attention to details can be an exciting outfit.
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