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Is Lady Mary Shopping at the Flea?

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Flea vendor Marion Hart of Camel Girl Vintage masquerades as a blogger on our website once a month, where she traces the roots of the latest fashion trends back to what are often their vintage roots, pairing Flea vendors' items with designers' runway looks. This month Marion sees early 20th century looks everywhere, presumably inspired by Lady Mary and her Downton Abbey cohorts. Read all her posts here.

Break out your drop-waist dresses and Edwardian walking skirts, ladies -- and gents too if so inclined! Downton Abbey is back, in its long-awaited second season on Masterpiece (Sundays, 9 p.m.). And, despite the sobering footage of dreamy Downton heir Matthew (Dan Stevens) doing time in the French trenches of WWI, Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) & Co. are still dressing beautifully for dinner.

Though we had to wait 11 months for the second installment, interest in the show hasn't waned among viewers or, by the way, the many fashion designers -- Marc Jacobs, Tory Birch, Ralph Lauren, Rachel Zoe -- who, inspired by the decade that dawns by this season's end, worked '20s silhouettes into their Spring 2012 collections. (Perhaps that explains why Catherine Malandrino was shopping at the Flea last weekend?)

Sunday night's episode is set in 1916, but traces of the Women's Rights Movement and the Great War's upending of gender roles will make their mark on the Crawley sisters' wardrobes, bringing them eagerly into the 20th Century. Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown-Findlay) kicked things off last season when she graced the family drawing room in harem pants. Not to be outdone, Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) jumped behind the wheel of a tractor in trousers on Sunday night, when a hunky local (married) farmer who doesn't drive asks for her help. By the time this season ends, it'll be 1919 and I'm betting the Downton debs will be all too ready for the flapper dresses to come!

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. If you want to get your Downton on for this coming Sunday's episode, Flea vintage vendors are stocking lovely items that evoke both the elegance and craftsmanship of that bygone era, which is no small feat given their rarity.

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