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Downton Abbey: 6 Ways I’m A Superior Edwardian Aristocrat

There are 6 ways I’m a superior Edwardian aristocrat. I discovered this when I watched a show about the making of Downton Abbey, after which I started a GoFundMe  so that I can further my lowly ambition to be a dead, rich Edwardian. Two hundred thousand acres in England are not cheap. Please give generously.

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1. The Appearance of Gravel is Most Important

The PBS documentary talked about the importance of raking the gravel in the front of the manor house. I was excited to see this, because I do this, too.

Granted, the gravel is in the backyard, and I do it to rake up the dog poop, but it makes the backyard look positively manor-ish.  Minus just about everything a manor house has.  Like a big manor and a bunch of Edwardians.

2. Changing Clothes Was Necessary for a Good Life

The ladies of Downton Abbey change clothes. A lot. So do I.

The ladies change out of their drop-drawer PJs to have breakfast. This is good. The servants don’t need to be seeing THAT.

Then the ladies change into their ‘morning clothes’ to call on someone they hope won’t be home. They will later go out to ride and they will have to change into Edwardian riding gear, which involves special skirts that won’t fly up over their heads in a strong wind.

After their ride, they change into luncheon clothing. After lunch, they change into something that will carry them until dinner, and then they change into dinner clothes.

I change clothes just about as often. Maybe not for the same reasons, but I can prove I’m high class. I wear certain clothes for workouts. (These are generally the same clothes I wore to sleep in, unless I’m going to the pool.) Afterward, I have to change into clothing that’s clean and sweat free.  I probably shouldn’t sweat if I’m a proper Edwardian lady.

6 Ways I'm a Superior Edwardian Aristocrat on Chezgigi.com
Are you SURE this is the correct hat for 11am, Percy?

On to the rest of my day’s clothing: If it’s winter in the desert, it’s going to be cold in the morning, so I need to wear sweatpants and a sweatshirt.

By ten or so, it’s already too warm for the sweatpants, so I have to change into my bleach splattered tee shirt again, which may, or may not, be the one I worked out in. It’s probably the shirt I slept in. Hopefully, the wash is done by then.

It’s going to get cold again in about three hours, so I have to change back into my sweatshirt and sweatpants. I, however, don’t need a maid to help me.

And they said Americans were spoiled. Not.

Sometimes, like the aristocrats in the show, I do need help changing. Not because my clothes have 150 buttons the size of atoms up the back, but because I’m exhausted at this point.

As for the male Edwardian aristocrats, you could tell who they were by the number and kind of hats they wore. If you saw them in a top hat, strolling the grounds of the manor, that’s a dead giveaway.

American aristocrats wear baseball hats backwards.

3. The Downton Abbey Edwardians Had Lots of “Help” and Didn’t Like to Fire Them

In one episode, the master of the manor was giving his son a lecture about why he shouldn’t  fire some of the servants as he was thinking of doing. The son was New School and wanted to conserve finances. (That’s aristocrat talk for saving money.)

His dad, the lord of the manor, told him not to do it.  If you don’t fire the servants, this proves you take your responsibilities as a benefactor to the community very seriously. “What will they do?” he asks his son. “We’re the only ones who provide employment.”

This touched my heart so much, that I immediately fired all 100 of my servants in order not to have to worry about their futures.

4. Dining and Dancing at Downton Abbey Was a Must

The chief duty of an Edwardian girl was to put up her hair when she “became a woman,” lengthen her skirt, go out dining and dancing, and announce to the world she was ready to marry. This happened whether she was ready or not.

Long hair was a sign of virginity, so when she put it up, it was symbolic of her readiness to get married, after which she could let it all hang down with the gardener in the potting shed.

6 Ways I'm a Superior Edwardian Aristocrat on Chezgigi.com
“I like to keep people guessing, so sometimes my hair will be up, sometimes down. And then I cut it short to really keep them guessing.”

That’s what I do, too. I don’t have a potting shed yet, or a gardener, but those are small obstacles and can be fixed with a quick visit to Craigslist, which is where dead, rich Edwardians found their potting sheds, too.

As for my hair, most of the time I put it up to get it out of my face, take it down at night, and then cut it short when I’m sick and tired of putting it up and down. And then I regret the haircut and grow it out again. It’s all very Edwardian and symbolic.

5. Edwardians Ate A Lot of Good Food

Caviar, truffles, snipe, partridge, oysters, quail, ptarmigan (white grouse), pressed beef, ham, tongue, chicken, galantines, lobster, melons, peaches, nectarines and specially imported jams and biscuits were the kinds of things our aristocratic ancestors liked to eat. Well, so do I.

Granted, I’ve never had truffles, snipe, or ptarmigan, and I have no clue what galantines are, unless they’re a sort of frigate (which doesn’t seem likely, as eating a boat was not an Edwardian thing), but I eat lots of chicken, which is closely related to things with a silent ‘p’ in the spelling.

And if I could have raw oysters every day, I would.

6. “You’re Dead to Me!” at Downton Abbey

If you were an aristocratic Edwardian and did something wrong – like, oh maybe, you refused to eat your ptarmigan the night before at dinner and had cottage cheese with canned peaches instead- your friends and acquaintances ‘cut’ you.

This doesn’t mean they did that psychological thing of sitting in their rooms cutting themselves, or you, with knives. Instead, they just wouldn’t invite you places.

Since going to dinners, sitting ramrod straight while having inane conversations about how many grouse were bagged that day with people whose voices sounded as if they were strained through a food processor, was what women had to do all the time, I’d probably go out of my way to be cut.

Otherwise, I cut people all the time. If I don’t like you, I will not invite you to my next dinner party of snipe wrapped in melon.  Or vice versa.

Of course, I’ve fired all the servants, so you’d have been expected to help clean up, anyway.






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7 thoughts on “Downton Abbey: 6 Ways I’m A Superior Edwardian Aristocrat

  • June 13, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    Now you’re talking. Welcome to my world. I didn’t want to say anything before but I am actually a neighbour of Downtown Abbey. Firing and rehiring every day.

    • June 14, 2016 at 6:45 am

      Oh, Downtown Abbey! She stars in a sitcom, doesn’t she?

      • June 14, 2016 at 8:07 am

        No she IS the sitcom!!!!

  • June 14, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    you’re either a really bad misogynist or a very sarcastic feminist :/

    anyways, wrote a song for you 😀
    i wrote the lyrics and used the music ‘O Fortuna’ listen to the music before you rea the lyrics

  • June 14, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    Since I live alone and have few callers, I wear the same comfortable clothes all day, everyday. Does that put me back in Neolithic times? Or might it put me in the “real artists” present timeline category? Check out Odd Nerdrum’s nightgown that he started wearing in the 70’s and continues to. He is Norway’s most famous contemporary painter. (I think we both wash our outfits now and then – probably unlike cavemen).

    Downton Abbey keeps me from missing my all time favorite: Upstairs Downstairs.

    • June 14, 2016 at 6:39 pm

      You know, I have been trying and trying to let go of a bunch of clothes I just never wear, anymore. It’s really hard, but who dresses up to lounge at home?

      Odd is his real name? Odd is odd. I’ll check out his stuff.

      We never watched Upstairs Downstairs, either! I’d forgotten about that.

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