When I first became interested in vintage clothing, I mostly focused on the main components of the outfit – finding the perfect 1940s dress, or the cutest 1950s novelty print skirt. I then realized that to hone and polish off the look, accessories played a key part. Initially, I turned my attention to hats, gloves and jewelry – but of course, the missing piece in this puzzle is vintage style shoes!
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Being a UK size 7 (which I believe is a 9.5 in US sizes); I struggled to find any pair of true vintage shoes that would fit. To add to my woes, back then vintage style was not as popular as it is today, so it was much harder to find vintage style shoes on the high street or online. However, where I may have struggled in my early years of dressing in vintage, today those trails and tussles are over!
As vintage style has grown in popularity, there is a plethora of fabulous vintage inspired shoes available. As well as an amazing array of colors and styles to choose from, you can be sure the size range is much more accommodating. Here I take a look at the latest releases of wonderful vintage style shoes for spring.
Pretty Pin Up Shoes
Bright, cheery colors with feminine detailing makes the perfect pair of shoes suitable for any aspiring pin up. Many brands are pairing cut-out details with pastel stripes for a happy-go-lucky 1950s feel. Shop these vintage style shoes here.
Tonal colors, delicate perforations, and bows add subtle glamour . The bright pastel shades of these shoes make them a great choice to finish a 1950s outfit.
Take style cues from 1950s sweethearts Betty Grable, Doris Day and Grace Kelly. Pair with pretty spring patterns, such as florals, plaids, and stripes to complete the perfect 1950s pin up look.
Vintage Style Shoes in Metallics
Glimmering metallics are perfect for early 20th century styles of the 1920s and 1930s. At the end of the 1920s, new techniques of tanning leather (treating the leather to produce durability) were developed; which meant that bold new colors of leather were made available. Shoes could now be a glittering metallic, drawing the eye attractively.
Also at this time, due to the popularity of the Tango dance craze, shoes began to have supportive design details in order to hold the wearers feet securely. Mary Janes, T-Bars, and the namesake Tango shoe were all popular. An advantage of metallics was that they could be worn with any color. Where black shoes may have looked too heavy paired with a light dress, metallic shoes subtly harmonized.
Add opulence to an evening dress, or pair with a 1920s style dress like this one from House of Foxy. Metallics will also look great with wide legged 1930s style pants, for a relaxed yet polished look.
Swinging Sixties Shoes
The 1960s saw the arrival of the miniskirt, and with it a new found freedom and liberation for women.
This saw shoe designers producing coltish child-like shoes, to match the liberated mood of the young women of the era. Low heels, square toes, and Mary Jane shoes previously worn by carefree flappers of the 1920s were all once again popular.
For those of you that prefer the bold, clean lines of the swinging 1960s, there are some great Mod inspired shoes on offer this spring. Looking back through their archive, Clark’s has released a collection of 1960s inspired shoes, and whilst the styles have been updated to suit a modern clientele, they still squarely emulate a 1960s style. Unique Vintage and Schuh offer platform styles that may sit more in the next decade, but the bold colors and prints lend themselves perfectly to 1960s styles. The low heels and even the higher block heels of this decade enabled women to move freely, not to teeter on the stiletto heels of the previous decade.
Bold 1950s Heels
If sunny, pastel mid century style is not to your taste, the remedy can be found in the polarized bold patterns and prints offered here. In the 1950s heels gradually became slimmer; this was the debut of the stiletto heel.
Designers were experimenting with new materials and techniques, which led to the innovation of using steel to strengthen the heel, thus allowing the heel itself to become much more streamlined.
This spring, Modcloth and Unique Vintage are offering shoes that Rizzo from Grease would be proud to clad her devil-red freshly manicured tootsies in. Pair with 1950s style sarong dresses, pencil skirts, tight Capri pants, or this Rockabilly style romper.
Vintage Style Sandals
Of course, it wouldn’t feel like springtime without slipping on a pair of sandals! Both Zappos and Hotter are offering appealing weather appropriate sandals that give you perfect excuse to get that fresh pedicure you have been lusting after.
The sandals on offer from Hotter feature lovely tonal color detailing, so it will be easier to pick out hues to match your outfit.
With Hotter, you can ensure they will feel comfortable to wear (and I speak from experience), so you will be able to wear them on all kinds of springtime adhoventures. Many of Hotter’s shoes come in wide and extra wide widths too.
The outfit options for sandals are quite endless, but for a relaxed casual vintage inspired style, pair with sweet neutral tones like these fabulous 1940s style high waist sailor pants from Unique Vintage.
Vintage Style Shoes in Pastels
Drawing from men’s fashion of the early 20th century, the Spectator shoe was extremely popular in the 1920s and 1930s. The features of the Spectator were bold two tone colors, drawing the eye straight to the feet. This style of shoe originated from the Oxford shoe, and indeed is similar to both the Oxford and the Brogue. By the 1930s, the Spectator had been firmly adopted by both men and women alike, with women’s styles having more scope for various design details.
Unique Vintage are offering these pastel modern day interpretation of a Spectator, which will definitely get your feet noticed. Clark’s and Hotter are offering these Brogues and Oxfords in refreshing springtime shades, whilst if you prefer a bit of quirkiness at your feet, check out Modcloth and Unique Vintage for vintage style shoes in novelty styles.
Continue the pastel theme in your outfit a pair of sweet high waist sailor shorts.
Whichever style of shoe you prefer, there is sure to be the perfect pair waiting for you this spring!
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