On Sunday, everyone's favourite upper/lower-class soap opera returns. Well, at least in the UK, but North American types like me will stream it online or risk reading spoilers on tumblr.
If you haven't figured out what I'm talking about yet, it's Downton Abbey. If you don't watch it, I'd recommend you do if you love beautiful sets, gorgeous costumes from the 1910s and 20s, and hush-hush gossipy romances that take place inside of a gigantic house... thing. It's an "abbey," and I'm not totally clear on what that is.
If I'm not convincing you, perhaps this will.
The show is quite a phenomenon over here even though it is so very, very British. In fact I was on the subway in NYC a few months ago and got to talking to my friend Charlotte about the season 3 finale when a woman stopped us and said, "Don't, I haven't seen it yet!" Americans love their fancy British people, I guess.
I have a love-hate relationship with the show because of how slow it can be at times and because of what did occur in the season 3 finale (UGH, no spoilers though), but I am excited because THE PRETTY. The dresses, the gorgeous hairstyles, the elaborate dinners that everyone puts on their fanciest clothes for just to eat. With their family. Every night! Why don't people do that anymore? I'm totally wearing a gigantic hat to my next candlelit family dinner.
So, to celebrate everything Downton represents and its return (sort of), I've decided to create a quick and easy Lady Mary inspired look. Because everyone loves Mary, because she's pretty and has great eyebrows and is kind of a megabitch, and isn't that all anyone aspires to be? She's played by the beautiful Michelle Dockery who is also pretty with great eyebrows (surprise!) but she, in reality, does not at all seem like a megabitch, and in fact I want to be her BFF.
But enough about that; let's get to the look!
First up I did my hair. Since the girls on the show all wear hairpieces to give them long, voluminous and period-appropriate hair, I was already at a disadvantage seeing how I'm growing out a lob, but I made do.
I started by parting by hair on the side. I then gathered my hair on each side starting at the part and twisted it inwards all the way to just above my ear, and then inserted a few bobby pins to hold.
I gathered all the remaining hair in the back and twisted it under, perpendicular to the line of my neck in a sort of horizontal sausage, and then shoved multiple long hair pins (like these) in to get it to hold. I prefer long hair pins to bobby pins because even though my hair is short, it's still quite thick, and a long pin has much more hold than a regular bobby pin so it requires less pins overall.
Once everything was in place I ran a comb over any loose strands and hairsprayed everything in to place, and then adorned my head with some vintage clip-on earrings for fancy Edwardian sparkle.
For my makeup, I kept it as simple as possible. I remember reading an article in Vogue about the makeup on the show, and it was pretty bare bones. No mascara, no lipstick. Foundation is used to give everyone even, pale English rose complexions.
I went with that minimalism and washed my face, and then applied Kevyn Aucoin's Sensual Skin Enhancer in SX01 (the lightest shade available) all over my face with light dabs of my fingertips, and then blended it in with a sponge. To set, I dusted my face all over with LUSH Emotional Brilliance Translucent Face Powder.
Lady Mary has beautiful high cheekbones that always have the most subtle flush, so I sculpted mine out with an angled blush brush and a bit of Kevyn Aucoin's The Sculpting Powder. To give myself a rosy tinge, I applied the tiniest bit of Benefit Benetint to the apples of my cheeks, and scrubbed my lips with a washcloth to get them to be a bit more pink than usual.
Finally, I filled in and darkened my eyebrows with my Clarins Pro-Palette Eyebrow Kit, because Lady Mary would be nothing without her brows. Seriously, she'd just be a weird, eyebrow-less olden-times person.
All right, so who will be feverishly downloading the new episode on Sunday? Or maybe don't confess to that because maybe it's illegal, I don't know.