Wearing long silky dresses, drinking endless cups of tea and wandering around enormous houses might look easy -- but life for 1920's ladies was far from an elegant picnic.
Jen Newby, author of Women's Lives: Researching Women's Social History 1800-1939, has helped Huffpost UK Lifestyle come up with a list of 20 Do's and Don'ts for Downton ladies to prevent social pitfalls.
Avoid the 'Smart Set'
Wealthy and well-known, the Crawleys could be sucked into the scandalous 'Smart Set'. There as one gossip columnist warned, 'to arouse envy, to out-rival a rival, to steal the lover of the woman she calls dearest,' was considered as exciting 'as a nip of champagne, a liqueur of cognac, or an injection of morphia'.
Keep poorer neighbours in their place
On country estates, the Victorian lady of the manor was supposed to call on her tenants to employ them in 'some little work and...see how best you can be serviceable'. Class divisions had changed little by the early 1900s and while growing up the Crawley daughters would have been expected to call on the local poor, to as one conduct book advised, 'make enquiries into what your poor neighbours have for dinner... get the daughters taught the best way of cooking food suitable to their rank in life.'
Be mercenary in matters of the heart
It was still perfectly acceptable to refuse a proposal on monetary grounds in the 20s. In the late 19th century canny, but cash-strapped, débutante Alice Miles wrote in her diary that she would not seriously consider a suitor with less than £4,000 a year, unless he was good-looking. She explained 'a flirtation devoid of either of these indispensable elements does not at all enter into my plan of action.'
Try a 'practise run' engagement, like Lady Mary
Etiquette guru Lady Beatrice Violet Greville advised: 'The most unsophisticated girl learns something after an engagement of three months,' and she'll enjoy 'the hundred and one attentions and trifles that prove the ardour of a man.'
Always pay your way
'When visiting a fancy shop with a gentleman, refrain from excessively admiring any handsome or expensive article you may chance to see there...lest he should construe these extreme tokens of admiration into hints that you wish him to buy it for you. To allow him to do so would on your part, by very mean and indelicate, and on his very foolish.'
Look forward to marriage
For upper class women, their wedding was seen as ''the centre-point of life.' But as the Crawley daughters have shown, things were changing.
Enjoy a spot of needlework
A lady's hobbies should only be things that she can 'without any impropriety indulge' – rather than women's suffrage and being seduced by the chauffeur, Lady Sybil!
Make-up covers a multitude of sins
'Cosmetics and rouge make amends for faded charms. False locks an, false teeth, everything may deceive' – but not for too long, 'an old flirt is an abomination.'
Become a 'professional flirt'
Women who have 'reduced flirtation to a study, who...play with a man as a cat with a mouse,' are 'female Machiavellians, for whom no man is a match,' revealed Lady Greville.
Remember your position
Never do anything if your lady's maid could do it for you, although you might want to treat her well as she knows all your secrets, like Countess of Grantham, Cora's poisonous maid O'Brien.
Worry about your looks
Take heart Lady Edith, according to conduct books, 'Unless there be any actual deformity, any great infirmity,' then even plain girls have a shot at marriage, especially when defects were cancelled out by a hefty family fortune.
Expect your suitors to behave rationally
If a man is 'really touched' with love, then 'he will make an abject fool of himself, will do silly things in sober earnest, will wait hours for a glimpse of his beloved, will stoop to the most humiliating attitude, will fawn, and pose and cringe, and generally make himself ridiculous.' Has Matthew Crawley behaved foolishly enough, Lady Mary?
Ever, ever swear
'It is always better to speak politely, that is with extreme propriety and delicacy, than coarsely, sulkily, or impertinently.' A rule passionate Lady Mary often breaks!
Take flirtation too seriously
'The essence of flirting is froth,' sniffed Lady Greville, 'and those who look to find genuine sustenance in it will come away disappointed'.
Cover yourself in scent
'Perfume should never be used so profusely as to excite observation, as it is... liable to create suspicions that you have some peculiar reason for its use'.
Delay too long over marriage (Lady Mary!)
Conduct books advise a courtship of 12 to 18 months. 'As a general rule, it is not desirable that the courtship should be of a very long duration' or couples risk 'Cupid in his wanderings' failing 'to lead the pair to the altar of Hymen'.
Talk nonsense to gentlemen
'Try not to fall into the too common practise of talking to them nothing but nonsense,' many ladies 'as soon as they get into conversation with a gentleman, give way at once to something they call excitement – now the fashionable word for every feeling that is wrong'.
Take flattery too seriously
Compliments are just 'agreeable attentions which ever gentleman is expected to pay, and every lady to receive.'
Allow yourself to fall in love
'If one person is becoming uppermost in your thoughts... it is time to be on your guard, time to deny yourself the dangerous pleasure of his company, and indeed time to turn your thoughts resolutely to something else.' Although this approach hasn't worked very well for Lady Edith.
And finally, never use the word 'stomach'
It 'should never be uttered at any table... It is a disagreeable word (and so are all its associations)'.