The Youthful Wardrobe of Margo Durrell

Margo & Louisa - The Durrells

The Durrells, you can’t help but love this show. It’s fun, it’s full of sunshine, it’s set in the 1930s and the clothes are fabulous! Season 3 is in full swing in the UK and, like I did for season 1 and season 2, I wanted to do a post focusing on my favourite costumes of the different characters. So, for this season, it’s all about the only female child of the family, Margo Durrell, beautifully played by Daisy Waterstone.

Margo is 15 when season 1 starts in 1935 and 17 by season 3. She’s a typical teenage girl who loves nothing more than lying in the sun, wearing the latest fashions and swooning over boys. Her wardrobe is young, fun and easy to wear. She has three brothers she has to keep up with, so it needs to loose and casual, but also up with the latest trends.

Her mismatch two piece above is typical of this sort of outfit and you can just imagine her running around the house, lazing down on the beach or splashing about in the sea. Her daps, plimsoles, trainers, sneakers, whatever you want to call them, are grubby but she doesn’t care.

Can we just take a minute to appreciate Louisa’s trousers once again? I talked about them a lot in the season 2 post because I desperately want to make my own own pair. I’m so glad I now finally have a really decent image of them to work from and I can see exactly how the front closure works.

Margo Durrell in The Durrells

Margo Durrell in The Durrells

Anyway, back to Margo! As I mentioned above, she’s a big sun-worshipper and therefore has an amazing array of swimsuits and bikinis. They are, of course, knitted pieces to remain era authentic. The two above are just amazing and I love the pattern detail on the bikini top. I do wonder if these are original pieces or ones that have been knitted from their original patterns. Either way, I want both of them!

Margo Durrell in The Durrells

Margo Durrell in The Durrells

This multi-coloured playsuit is probably my most favourite of all Daisy’s pieces. It’s sooooo 1930s! The colours, the different directions of the stripe, the puff sleeves, the Peter Pan collar, shirtwaist design and the cute front pockets are all classic of the time. I’m not sure I’ll be making my own version of this though, I think it’s much more suited to someone not in their 40s. However, I have just bought some wonderful striped fabric that I plan to use for my 1930s beach pyjamas and I want to use some of the detailing in this playsuit when I make them.

Margo Durrell in The Durrells

Margo Durrell in The Durrells

Margo also loves her separates – a girl after my own heart – and has a great collection of cute blouses and stylish jumpers. I love that they dress her in knitwear so much, especially in the season 3. Knitwear was such a big thing during the 1930s and a girl of her age probably would’ve loved the freedom of wearing a simple jumper and trousers or skirt. The stripy one pictured above looks like an original to me. She also has a peach one that looks original and an ice blue one with a front tie that looks more like it’s a newly made piece.

Margo Durrell in The Durrells

Margo & Louisa - The Durrells

But don’t think Margo can’t do elegant and demure because, when she feels like toying with a man’s heart, she knows how to glam it up. The dress above is just beautiful with its autumnal colours and subtle flounce. This is definitely an original, reproducing a dress in such an authentic fabric would be hard. Goodness knows where you’d find such a lightweight fabric like this from the 30s that hadn’t been used or, worse still, disintegrated. Besides, I know that costume designer, Charlotte Holdich, tries to be as authentic as possible, so obviously uses as many original pieces as possible.

Margo Durrell in The Durrells

Margo Durrell in The Durrells

My favourite of Margo’s dresses, though, has to be the beautiful bubble print dress above and below. The fabric design is outstanding and I had to get a close up shot of it, so you could see it in its full glory. I love mix of duck egg blue, chocolate brown and white. Again, it’s so 1930s and the dress mirrors the style of the playsuit with puff sleeves, Peter Pan collar and shirtwaist design. This clearly is becoming Margo’s go to look, so it’ll be interesting to see if any other pieces appear with this style.

Margo Durrell in The Durrells

Although I love just about every garment Margo wears, some of it is definitely too young for me and I end up steering towards Louisa’s wardrobe again. But I think the contrast between their styles is an important aspect to feature on the show. It shows the difference in fashion of the time for the young woman compared to the older one. It also shows that you can wear 1930s clothing no matter what age you are, even in your mid-40s!

Season 3 of The Durrells can be seen on ITV, 8pm on Sundays. To catch up on the episodes you may have missed visit the ITV Hub.

Cate

Just a vintage gal suffering from the Golden Age syndrome. A lover of all things old, especially the 1930s, seamstress, crocheter, maker of hats and enjoys rummaging at flea markets.

24 Comments

  1. Thanks again for all the great pictures of the fashion featured in The Durrells! I love the straw hat Margo is wearing in one of the pictures. I have a small vintage buckle that is too small for a dress, but I was thinking it would look great on a hat and that style might just be the ticket! I live in a warm, dry climate similar to Corfu (except I sadly don’t have the sea out my back door—but you can hear the cicadas in the summer) so it’s nice to see warm weather 1930s attire for inspiration.

    • You’re welcome! Yes, the hat she’s wearing with the blue dress is probably my favourite of hers. The detailing would be so easy to replicate and would look great with an original buckle. I look forward to seeing it! xx

  2. I love all the Durrell books but the clothes worn by the family were not the priority in them! It is fantastic therefore, to actually see the fashions of the time on living people. You must be in your element watching them!

    • Oh yes, I study every outfit and take loads of inspiration from this show. It also helps that it’s such fun to watch too! xx

  3. Even if I’m not wearing 1930s fashions, it’s a decade I’m absolutely fascinated with, and I love looking at the fabulous fashions of that time. That playsuit is divine, I would definitely wear that if I were younger. And oh, that swimsuit! And I can see both the lavender blue dress and the bubble print dress on you! xxx

    • The playsuit is wonderful, isn’t it? The colours are just gorgeous. I’d definitely love to have both the lavender blue and bubble print dress. Yes please! xx

  4. Some lovely inspiration, I love the casual and pretty outfits.

    A hint for those who want to knit Margo’s blue bathing suit. Susan Crawford actually features a bathing suit very similar to Margos dark blue/egg shell blue one in her marvellous a Stitch in Time vol 1. I believe it’s the same pattern but worn the other way around here than how it is featured in the Stitch in Time. The pattern states that you can wear the swimsuit either backwards or forwards.

    The pattern can be found at ravelry (https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sea-waves-and-sunny-days-ahead) or the susancrawfordvintage website (https://susancrawfordvintage.com/products/astitchintime-vol1).

    I would love to knit a bathing suit, I just can’t figure out what yarn to use. Cotton would become incredibly heavy and take forever to dry and I’m afraid a wool one would also become heavy and sag a lot when wet. However, a wool one for sunbathing would be really nice for those cold summer days that Sweden so amply provides…

    • Thank you for sharing that, I know a lot of knitters who are big fans of Susan Crawford. The original 1930s swimsuits were knitted in wool, more often than not in a 2 ply (UK terms, no idea what that would be in Sweden!). xx

  5. Hi, I was a BA (extra) on Series 3 and can tell you that the Corfu travelling wardrobe department was phenomenal. They had everything, all original, and the girls running it most certainly knew their stuff.

    • Oh wow!!!! I would love to be part of their wardrobe team, it must be such an incredible job. But being an extra on it must’ve been absolutely amazing. Did you get to dress in gorgeous 1930s clothing the whole time? xx

  6. I loved that series. The writing was fabulous, and the acting was too. But the clothes… they were divine. Thanks for reminding me!

    • Oh yes, the costumes are incredible aren’t they? Have you had season 3 where you are yet? xx

  7. I’m always impressed when past eras come alive in movies. We tend to forget how colourful the past was!

    • Oh, I know! We’re so used to looking at black and white photos or watching black and white films of the earlier eras, but the 1930s was all about colour. Black was actually quite rare in clothing during the decade. xx

  8. Ooh la la thank you for sharing! I haven’t started watching the show, but it is on my to-watch list. I have been swooning over the 1930’s style and am currently working on the Deco Dream Dress by Helene from Fabel Vintage.

    Those knitted bathing suits are so cute! A lot of vintage patterns call for wool for these bathing suits. What do you reckon would be a good modern substitute for making knitted bathing suits?

    • Oh, I love that dress, I have the one she actually knitted in my Etsy wish list. I’m not sure I’ll ever justify buying it though! I look forward to seeing your version. What colours are you using?

      Yes, the majority of 1930s bathing suits were knitted, or indeed crocheted, using wool, usually a 2 ply / lace weight. It was fine for sun bathing in, as wool is actually cooling in the hot weather, but not great for swimming in. The pattern I have says it should fit snuggly when worn, which would reduce sagging when its wet. There’s not really any alternative you could use as crochet cotton would make the suit too stiff. You can get elastic yarn, which is usually a mix of acrylic and lycra but I’ve never used it, so couldn’t tell you what it’s like. Apparently it was designed for things like swimsuits but I’d suggest doing a bit of research and testing before using it. xx

  9. Hi Vintage Gal,
    Love your blog and the Durrells too. Just wanted to let you know that the day after reading this blog I was watching the 1982 version of Evil Under the Sun and one of the characters was wearing a multi-coloured play suit almost identical to the one that Margo is wearing in your blog.

    • I love that version of Evil Under the Sun and now I’m going to have to watch it again, just so I can see the playsuit! It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if it was the same one because I think it was supplied to The Durrells by the world famous Angels Costumes, who have been in business for decades. Thank you for letting me know! xx

  10. I know what you mean about some styles being too young, though I reckon you could get away with a playsuit for festivals/beachwear.

    That autumnal chiffon is just gorgeous, isn’t it? 1930s prints are so beautiful and distinctive.

    A fine silk or rayon thread might work for bathing suits – I’ve seen references to knitted silk ones from the 1910s/20s, though those were at the very high end of the market. Wool doesn’t get cold when wet, it retains its warming properties, which is good, but it absorbs a lot of water. Silk wouldn’t sag so much when wet, but it does have more drape when knitted – the stitches fall longer than wool ones, which tend to stay quite round.

    • It’s weird when you get to a certain age, that there are items of clothing you still love but you know you can never get away with wearing. I feel like I’d look like I was trying too hard to look young in a playsuit like Margo’s.

      I have some original 1930s rayon thread and it may be a bit too stiff for a bathing costume, though I could see how silk would be an amazing alternative. Rather expensive, though! I’ve bought a gorgeous modern swimsuit from Figleaves that has a real vintage feel about it for my holiday. I think if I had no plans to go swimming then I would’ve attempted to crochet one though, as I have a gorgeous original 1930s pattern that crocheted. xx

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