Well, I’ve been on eBay entirely too much…again…acquiring vintage and antique footwear for our quickly growing collection. All the shoes I nabbed aren’t even here yet, but I wanted to share with you a few of what’s come in…
This pair is interesting, because it sortof “breaks the rules” of dating shoes. They don’t make it easy! I suspect that these date from the early 1890s, because of the shape of the toe, and the knock on heel.
Nancy Rexford, in her book Women’s Shoes in America, 1795-1930, notes that the knock-on opera heel, with a ridged neck and a shield-shaped heel tip, was common in the 1890s. The squared-off toes and side-seam placement look back to the 1880s, though, so perhaps this shoe is transitional.
Made of ivory kid leather, with thin leather soles, this lovely pair of wedding slippers also has some interesting ribbon ties that appear to have been attached later, with rough stitches and raw edges right on the galloon binding.
Inside the right shoe is the label “Bullock Bro’s; Walter Proby & Co.; Successors; Chicago.” I didn’t find much on this company, except that they were in business from at least the 1860s to 1891, when a large ad appeared regularly in the Chicago papers. The Wisconsin Historical Society makes note that the Bullock Brothers disappear from Chicago business listings by 1913, so it’s safe to assume this shoe is no younger than that. An interesting pair, to be sure!
This pair of slippers, in ivory satin, is another curious design, primarily because of the heel, and the use of elastic just under the bow on the vamp.
We know that elastic was being used well back into the 19th century, and we also know that this toe shape is common between the 1890s and 1920s. It is the heel that confuses me – it’s a Cuban knock-on, which could place this pair anywhere between about 1906 and the end of the 1920s. (Rexford, 219). Another interesting detail on these slippers is the quilted lining. This is usually found with boudoir slippers – could this be the case? Fascinating!
These black beauties are a gorgeous example of 1920s dress shoes. They’re made of black satin, with a large grosgrain bow laced through two eyelets. This style, with the little tongue and tie, was part of a colonial revival that came about in the 1890s and lasted to about 1930. The tall, straight-sided heel and the slightly pointed toe, along with the colonial bow, firmly plant this shoe in the late 1920s.
These silky lovelies were made by Penn Traffic Company, founded in 1854 as a food service provider for stagecoaches. They gradually grew into a department store, and as it appears, offered all kinds of items, including snazzy shoes.
The last pair I have to share with you today are these very typical 1930s oxfords. I do love a good vintage oxford!
Lace-up leather shoes like these were super common in the ’30s. These have a high Cuban, lacquered heel, decorative stitching, and perforations on the upper. The label inside reads “Lady Fair; A Peters Shoe.” Though this isn’t particularly unique, it’s a good one to have in the collection, representing women’s everyday footwear of the 1930s.
LaurenJanuary 11, 2013 at 12:50 AM
Those second to last ones are fab! They even could pass for early 1930's, imo. Love that they're kind of an 18th century throwback.
*edit* my little code included "1931". That's too funny.
Lauren StowellJanuary 11, 2013 at 2:28 AM
I agree, they are a very classic style and could easily span that time frame. Rexford puts the end of the colonial revival styles at 1930, but of course women continued to wear outmoded fashions, just as we do today 🙂
AnonymousJanuary 11, 2013 at 2:24 AM
I'm curious how do you store them? Do you display them, such as on a bookcase full of awesome? Or do you put them in boxes to protect them from light?
Lauren StowellJanuary 11, 2013 at 2:28 AM
They are currently in cabinet out of the light, but I need to acquire some archival boxes and start storing them, because I'm getting too many!
AnonymousJanuary 11, 2013 at 3:24 AM
I can see stacks of slender boxes and labels. You can be the Ollivander's of shoes!
JessicaJanuary 11, 2013 at 8:12 PM
I really like those bows and bead work!
IvyJanuary 12, 2013 at 2:00 AM
All of them are so cute!
KittyKattJanuary 12, 2013 at 6:25 AM
The Boudoir Slippers, as you are calling them, remind me of the 1970s with the boxy low heel. I realize that they are far older than that, but the hinting at later style is fun.
Emilia RosaMarch 4, 2022 at 6:27 AM
Beautiful shoes! I am using my old Flamenco shoes to compose the 1920s look for my next book signings–after having the “noise makers” on the sole and heels removed, bien sure, lol! Believe me or not, they have the same shape of these shoes, slim and long.