Shoe Clips – Endless Possibilities for Historical Shoes

Shoe clips are the best things ever.

I’ll just come right out and say it.  Shoe clips allow you to drastically change the look of a single pair of shoes, just by clipping on a feather, a flower, a bow, a gem.

I went looking for various historical-looking shoe clippery to add to the American Duchess store, but in the end I realized that making your own would be easier, cheaper, and look loads better.  For instance … see those little pleaty bits on the vamps of all those Regency shoes? Or the rosettes or tassels or pom poms?  You can make those as shoe clips, then easily change them out to match your costume.

So instead of stocking annoyingly expensive and stylistically limited clips, we got the shoe clip hardware instead, those vital metal bits with the prongs that keep your clip fastened securely to your shoe.  For some bizarre reason nobody seems to sell these.

Well we do now.  See?

And check out some of things you can do with them, on Pemberley Regency Shoes

Clip them to the toes, or the heels, or the side of the shoe.  Anywhere, really.

Here are some historical shoe clip ideas:

Lillian Williams 18th c. French Shoe Collection
My favorite pair of shoes ever, 1780s-90s
Thread poms, from the Met, 1805-10
1790s Regency, florettes and pleats
From Manchester City Galleries, 1790-1800
Tassels, from The Met, 1790-1810
Met, 1867, decorate buckles with velvet ribbons
Met, 1870s, pleats and bows
Met, 1885 – clip a bow on, change the whole look of the shoe
Met 1885-90, more bows.
Vintage Textile, 1880, golden bow
Met, 1890, round decorative buckle and tongue – yes, this look could be achieved with shoe clips.

I hope you are inspired to try out all the various looks one can achieve by simply clipping on a bow or a cockade or anything really.  For the hardware necessary to make shoe clips, go here, and have fun!


  • Olympe de la Tour D'Auvergne

    December 1, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    Great ideas! The latter photos seem to say "1890" etc, when I think you must mean "1790". Unless I'm mistaken and there was a resurgence in the 18th-century style of shoe, in which case I apologize for questioning your captions.

  • Lauren R

    December 1, 2011 at 10:03 PM

    There was indeed a resurgence of 18th century style in the 1890s, in footwear. I have quite a few examples and should do a "Fashion Face Off" post about them. 🙂 Those gold shoes are indeed 1890s, but hard to tell huh!

  • KittyKatt

    December 2, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    Shoe clip crafting was a popular pastime until just recently. I guess folks are finally getting tired of purchasing a whole new pair of shoes just for a different look. Thank you for re-supplying this very useful notion!

  • Lauren R

    December 2, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    KittyKatt, I was reading about shoe clip popularity in the 1950s, and bought some vintage clips off Etsy. They changed the look of my basic mary jane dance shoes so incredibly that I was hooked from that moment. Oh the possibilities! I was surprised when I couldn't find the hardware to make them, too, hence getting it for the shop I agree, it's time to bring them back into fashion 🙂

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