WCW: Rose Leslie


In some ways, British actress Rose Leslie was “our’s” first, as we loved her as the spunky servant Gwen on Downton Abbey. She may have gone on to major fame through her role in Game of Thrones, but she’s continued to play period roles as her career develops. She’s still young, so we can hope she continues to keep one foot in frock flicks!


Downton Abbey (2010, 2015)

Gwen! She was one of the core servants in the first season, but she wanted MORE, so she secretly trained to be a secretary and left the Abbey (yes, to be a Wildling on Game of Thrones). She turns back up in season 6 with her husband (a gentleman!) while doing charity work in support of a women’s college.

Gwen Dawson

Okay, so it’s not the best hairstyle for her face, but it’s period!

2010 Downton Abbey

Rocking the ruffles.

2010 Downton Abbey

Great autumn colors on her!

2010 Downton Abbey

She got very involved in Lady Sybil’s life.

2010 Downton Abbey

They shared a similar spunk.

2010 Downton Abbey

She wants MOOOOORE (cue Little Mermaid music)

2015 Downton Abbey

She’s made good!


Look at how cute that dress is!


Blandings (2014)

2014 Blandings

It’s set in the 1920s, so I’m not sure what’s up with that hair.


But the plaid looks good!


The Great Fire (2014)

A not-great TV look at the Great Fire of London in 1666. I’m pretty sure Leslie plays a lower class townswoman.

2014 The Great Fire

Fire. No fun.

2014 The Great Fire

Am I sensing a lost child here?


Death on the Nile (2022)

She plays a socialite’s secretary and is vastly underused.

2022 Death on the Nile

All she’s really there to do is to covet this necklace.

2022 Death on the Nile

And look good in cardigans!


What’s your favorite Rose Leslie period role?


About the author



Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

6 Responses

  1. Bel

    I think she’s good in most everything I’ve seen her in, but I’m wondering if she sets up contracts so that she won’t have to cut or alter her hair at all, even in period movies? Understandable, her hair is lovely, but it is one of the most distracting details to get wrong, especially for the 20s and 30s! It reminds me of Lily Collins, who keeps her trademark eyebrows untouched even in the (mediocre) Last Tycoon, where she’s playing a 1930s glamor girl whose brows would surely have been a quarter of the size.

  2. M.E. Lawrence

    Why doesn’t “Game of Thrones” count as a frock flick? It’s set somewhere in a distant British past.

    • Kendra

      Except it’s not literally supposed to be historical Britain, but is set in a fantasy world. It’s totally a fantasy frock flick! Just not a historical one.