Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Flats were sexy once

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Loretta reports:

Susan will be back in a moment. In the meantime, after meditating at length on Louboutin shoes, I’ve been trying to remember if there was any time in my whole life when high heels weren’t cool and sexy. Don’t think so.

It’s interesting that during the late 18th and early 19th century, flat shoes became high fashion. The ballet dancer look was hot.

High or flat, though, milady's shoes did not come in right or left. One assumes this means the shoes can’t be comfortable. Not so. The Colonial Williamsburg shoemaker pointed out that good quality leather, being very soft and supple, shapes to one’s foot in a matter of hours. The leather here is much softer than it looks--like butter, yes. Too, labor being cheap once upon a time, my aristocratic hero or heroine would have had his or her shoes made, exquisitely, to order. Scroll down here for a couple of early 19th C shoe shop interiors. Nordstrom’s it’s not.

3 comments:

Vanessa Kelly said...

I love Regency era shoes. Being addicted to flats myself (too uncoordinated to wear heels), I just sigh over all those beautiful, delicate flats. It's like the Audrey Hepburn fantasy land for shoes.

I've taken a number of costume courses over the years, but they generally didn't focus on shoes. Just the basics - dancing slippers, riding boots, etc...so I didn't know that shoes didn't come in left or right. As you point out, that wasn't a problem if good quality leather was used, but what did the working classes wear? Were they clomping around in stiff, poorly made shoes that made their poor feet constantly ache?

Loretta Chase said...

Vanessa,I was recently informed that during the Civil War (and probably before and after), soldiers were issued boots in one size, 8.5 I believe. I think there were a lot of people going around in poorly-fitting and/or poorly made shoes (they're doing it today, too). Some people would be wearing castoffs, and making the best of it. (Again, still the case.) But as I understood it, affordable ready-made shoes from the CW shoemaker (never "cobbler")would come in some basic sizes, and the leather would adapt to the foot.

Victoria Janssen said...

I've heard Tsonga shoes are very comfy and also handmade: http://www.tsongausa.com/Scripts/story.asp

I am pretty sure you get left and right shoes, though.

There was an error in this gadget
 
Two Nerdy History Girls. Design by Pocket