So, please welcome Esther of the lovely blog, Dolly Creates!
Hello there, I’m Esther from over at Dolly Creates. I am so happy to be participating in Emily's Sunday Shoe Spectacle series!
Today I would like to talk about the ins and outs, the benefits, and (of course) the beauty of vintage shoes! I wear a size 11, so that makes finding vintage shoes pretty tricky, but I have managed to snag a couple of pairs! I’ll start off with details and pictures of my little shoe collection, and then move on to the wordy bit afterwards.
First off is this gorgeous pair of 1940s oxfords; I purchased them from Two Old Beans on Etsy earlier this year. [As a side note: if you haven’t checked out their shop, you need to! Jessica and Ellen have an amazing stock of vintage clothing and accessories, and they add new stock daily. Tell them I sent you!] But back to the shoes - they were brand new, made of leather, and an amazingly perfect width that fit my wide feet! These have become my most favorite pair of shoes that I own, vintage or otherwise. I wore them aboard the battleship USS Alabama when my family and I were on vacation down South, and ended up getting very sore feet, actually! But that seemed to be the breaking-in that they needed, and ever since they have been as comfortable as bedroom slippers! :)
The second pair I own are these stunning red, white and blue 1940s pumps. These beauties do not fit, unfortunately, but being they were such a good price and an irresistible style, I bought them anyway. I purchased them from Blackbird Antiques NC on Etsy last year. They are made of faux leather, and feature blue and white striped accents on the toe.
My third pair of vintage shoes are these 1940s slingbacks. They are not my size, but rather a more common size 9 narrow. Made of leather, and in almost brand new condition, they are rare beauties! I only wish they fit me! They are currently for sale in my Etsy shop.
• The ins and outs of vintage shoe shopping
I find that the most important thing in your “shoe wardrobe,” if I may call it that, is to have a pair or two of comfortable, yet clearly vintage-style shoes. They can be quite a trick to find, especially if you have larger or smaller-sized feet than average! My go-to pair is the Quarter Oxford from Shoe Embassy. They are definitely the most comfortable pair of shoes I own, and look downright cute, whether paired with a fancier dress, or a casual dress and bobby socks.
Of course, every girl needs (and wants!) some heels as well, but it is vital to have some comfy shoes to fall back on. There’s nothing like suffering for 10+ hours at an event with uncomfortable shoes! Granted, sometimes the beauty of a certain pair of shoes outweighs the discomfort and we wear them on said occasions anyway, but…. ;)
There are quite a few reproduction shoe companies out there that offer loads of gorgeous vintage styles! I can’t really say one way or the other which I prefer; vintage or vintage reproduction shoes. Either one is a great option!
• Things to look for when shoe-shopping
Some of this can depend very much on one’s personal preferences, but I tend to have certain things that I look for. The first thing that comes to mind is what the shoe is made of; my favorite material is leather, most definitely. Faux leather looks lovely, as does canvas and other synthetic materials, but all of those materials wear out markedly faster than leather. With leather, when you scuff your shoe, a little polish practically “heals” it without any trace afterwards. Faux leather, on the other hand? You’ve got yourself a permanent cut. Canvas and other similar materials are great, but can get dirtied irreparably. That being said, I still would definitely buy a faux leather shoe, if the style and the quality was good. Just keep an eye out for cheaper shoes, and try to avoid them since they wear out much too fast! I previously owned a pair of oxford pumps from Modcloth, and after 9 months or so of average wearing, they were not only scuffed beyond looking nice, but also had a crack all the way across one of the soles. The moral of the story is that if you buy the best shoe you can reasonably afford, you won’t be disappointed!
Secondly, if you are fairly new to vintage shoe-acquiring, I would recommend sticking with colors that match many of your vintage garments. As much as I would have loved to have purchased pink shoes, green shoes, etc. in the past, I opted for the basic colors to start with. Black, brown, cream, and perhaps a basic color that you tend to have a lot of in your wardrobe. That color for me happens to be red! :) I seem to have no shortage of red dresses, so one of my early shoe purchases was in fact, bright red shoes! Of course, once you have established a good basic shoe wardrobe, then it’s time to branch out into the fun stuff. ;)
Thirdly, and this is a bit of a personal taste subject as well, I highly recommend sticking with 3 ½” or lower heels. Since I am 6’ tall, I stay under 3” to avoid looking like the basketball player that everyone thinks I should be, but obviously for shorter gals, that doesn’t present a problem at all! The main reason to avoid the stiletto-style heels though is the problem of strain on your feet; there is nothing like high heels to really cause problems! For long-term reasons, as well as the simple ease and comfort of wearing, I would definitely recommend sticking with low to mid-height heels.
Fourth and lastly, although this only pertains to actual vintage shoes, pay close attention to the measurements! Vintage shoes can tend to be on the narrow side, so be sure to examine the measurements of any shoes you might want very carefully. Be sure to go by the actual shoe size rather than the size a seller might say that they fit.
• What would be my dream pair of vintage shoes?
Definitely a pair of WAVES oxfords. I am about to start making a World War II WAVES seersucker uniform, (including the hat!) so to find a pair of those shoes would be absolutely incredible. But then, let’s face it; to find a pair of vintage shoes that fits well is always going to be thrilling! :)
I hope this post provided some helpful information and inspiration! I deeply enjoyed writing it, and I would like to thank Emily for having me on her blog!
Have a lovely week, and happy shoe-hunting! :)
Thank you Esther for this lovely post! Would you like to write a guest post about vintage shoes for this blog series? Would you like to collaborate in another way? If so, please feel free to contact me! You can email me at vintagevisions27(at)gmail(dot)com