Monday, 27 June 2016

These boots are made for walkin' and that's just what they'll do

Amassing my collection of vintage and vintage inspired shoes has always been a priority to me, not only as I believe an attractive pair of shoes is so important to completing an outfit but also because of the vast array of wonderful styles that were on offer during the '60s and '70s. One of my favourite aspects of fashion from this time period is the footwear and I admit to wasting far too many hours browsing eBay and Etsy for the most beautiful styles and colours imaginable, often having to close the window with a sigh as they come with the price tag to match. But occasionally you'll stumble across a wonderful bargain or find something perfect in a local store and I've quite a fair collection by now and felt inspired to share it with you.

I was a little slow to collecting actual vintage footwear, mostly because I had never found any in the flesh and was concerned about fit. I'm lucky in that my feet are rather small at a UK 4, but they're also wide which is where my problems with fit come in. The first few I ordered online turned out to be too small, but I managed to sell them on without making any losses and it proved to be a positive learning curve as now I know what to look for to ensure they fit (I recommend measuring the inside length and width of a pair of shoes that fit you well and asking the seller for the measurements of the shoes their selling. Then you can compare if they're similar enough to be comfortable as vintage shoe sizing isn't always reliable to today's equivalents) Good quality vintage shoes in the kinds of mod and groovy styles I like aren't usually cheap, but the most expensive pair I own was £50 and that was for a pair of suede boots so it can be done inexpensively! I feel keeping a price limit stops me from owning a ridiculous amount too, which I could easily do as I love shoes so much.

This 1970s pair are one of my most favourites although I confess I don't wear them often as I usually twist my ankle! They're surprisingly comfortable despite being so high as they're platformed at the front. I found them at a local vintage shop and flipped when I saw they were my size as they were so perfect. I was even more excited when I tried them on and they fit like they were made just for me! These cost £15 and although the condition looked fab when I bought them, I wore them for a night out and the entire sole fell off of one of them (resulting in me having to pull a Sandie Shaw and spend the rest of the evening barefoot) Luckily it was nothing the cobbler couldn't fix!

These aren't vintage, they were £6 from George at Asda, but Mary Jane style shoes were the staple of any '60s mod girl and have been my primary shoe of choice since I was 16 (partly due to my love for Alice in Wonderland as well as the '60s). I've owned many pairs over the years until they've fallen apart, and if I have heavy walking to do these are my go to as they're comfortable as well as cute and suit just about any outfit. You really can't go wrong with a pair of these in your wardrobe! Although these are just from Asda they've lasted me 3 years so far and show no signs of giving up yet.

It occurred to me when browsing my wardrobe one day that to me, purple is a basic that I can throw on with any outfit like others probably think of black as being. These shoes were an Etsy find, and although they fit me like a dream I'm unable to wear them often as the back of them cuts into my heel within minutes drawing blood. Even band aids are no match for these! If anyone knows of any fixes for this issue, I'm all ears, as these would be my staple otherwise.

These are another Etsy find, sold by a seller I follow for only £25 and still in their original box. I saw them as soon as they were uploaded and put them in my basket before anyone else had a chance! They're actually a size US 9.5 and I'm generally a US 6.5 so they're a full three sizes too big. But that's why they created insoles, right?? They're actually very comfortable as they fit just right width-wise and I'm able to tighten the buckle to secure them. They always draw a ton of compliments and I often get asked where I got them from people hoping to snag a pair of their own.

These are undoubtedly one of my best finds - I was excited enough to find such a gorgeous pair of 1970s boots barely ever worn in my size for only £10. You could of knocked me over when I looked inside them and saw they're made by none other than Terry de Havilland, the "Rock n Roll Cobbler of the 1970s" who designed shoes for the likes of David Bowie and Marianne Faithfull among many others. They're real suede and incredibly comfortable.

These are both modern pairs from Topshop purchased last summer. I've not thought much of the so-called '70s revival as a whole, it seems to largely miss the entire point and focus on the blandest styles that look no different to anything else. I was pleased to find these sandals however as I'd been on the hunt for a pair of lace up gladiator sandals for such a long time, but genuine vintage pairs are usually sold for well over three figures. These are pretty accurate in style for the time too. I've debated with myself many times whether to dye the lighter pair purple.

Pattie Boyd and her gladiator sandals in Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco in 1967 with George Harrison

This pair I thrifted and were originally a tan colour. I'd spent months searching for a pair of green vintage shoes to complete a specific outfit, something I felt had to be common but I kept coming up empty so I decided to get creative. They're originally from Office and I painted them with proper shoe paint so they've stood up well. I think they look accurate to the time period and I'd doubt anyone would know any different if I didn't say!

These are the aforementioned boots that I purchased for £50, but to me they were worth every single penny as I'd been dreaming of owning a pair of boots like these ever since I first got interested in the '60s and they're my exact size and usually sell for far more. They were cheaper because, as I'm sure you can see, one of the top hooks is missing (which I'm sure could be replaced by a cobbler when I make the effort to go in) and some of the lining was coming away inside which I've hand stitched back into place. Structurally they're sound, and I wear them almost every day in autumn and winter.

These shoes were the most recent addition to my collection, too wonderfully mod to pass up. The beautiful tan shoes you see below have been somewhat ruined by constant use which upset me greatly, so I bought these dusky pink ones to take over as a more everyday shoe. Both pairs are original vintage 1960s. The cobbler (whom I've come to know quite personally by now!) thankfully managed to fix my tan shoes up twice, the leather keeps tearing away from the sole at the front so I only save them for very light wear nowadays to try and preserve them for as long as I can.


  1. I have no patience to buy vintage shoes. Especially since I am between shoe sizes US 9/10. That is a large size that most vintage shoes don't come in. They tend to be 7 and below. I guess since shoes were more expensive in the past before cheap Chinese imports, people were much more likely to wear their shoes and repair them. Those purple shoes are amazing and probably my favorite since the color is still so vibrant.

    1. I actually had to googled it and it appears our feet ARE getting bigger! I found a Time article from 2012 saying:

      "At the beginning of the 20th century the average woman wore a size 3.5 or size 4 shoe. This increased to a 5.5 in the forties and remained this way till the 60s. By the 1970s, the average female foot was a 7.5 and now, forty years later, the most common foot size for the American female is somewhere between an 8 ½ and a 9."

      It says the same is happening in Britain too. I never expected that just 100 years ago I would of been size 4!

  2. My favorites are the green ones you painted ( I can't imagine they 're originally from Office ! ), the navy blue patent mary janes with red piping and the studded last ones . I love chunky heels too. I have the same problem for fit : wide feet and most of vintage shoes I love are narrow .
    "the entire sole fell off of one of them" ... I guess this happened to every girl who wear vintage shoes , it happened to me few times at work, I had to surround my shoes and the sole with an elastic !


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