V164: Vintage Shoe Ads of 1939-1941

Oh how I love shoes, particularly vintage 20th century shoes.  They make me swoon!  Some of you already know I’m working on a couple 1920s and 30s designs for next year’s American Duchess historical footwear lineup (don’t worry, there will be “oldiers” in there too), and I wanted to share with you some of the reference images that are inspiring me lately…

These are from Sears Catalog and Chicago Mail Order Catalog, 1939, ’40, and ’41, the entireties of which were given to me by a friend and local vintage enthusiast. Enjoy!

(lots of images under the cut…)

I’ll take any on this page, please. Or all.  I’ll take all.

It is surprising how these late 30s shoes make use of quite a lot of elastic, to get them to fit perfectly

Square toes seemed to be a popular, but short-lived fashion for the end of the 1930s.  We don’t see many of these in extant collections these days, though.

So what do you say, one of each? in every color?  Real vintage shoes are so, so well-balanced and beautifully crafted.  It is my ambition to re-create these aspects, but for our modern comfort!


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