1880s Footwear Style

In our various discussions of period clothing, footwear has been somewhat neglected topic. With dresses coming down to the lower ankle (if not further), it’s easy to overlook footwear- after all,  they’re covered- out of sight, out of mind. 😉 However, when one does take a look at period women’s footwear, one can’t help be taken in by some of the amazing styles. During the 1880s, boots were an especially popular form of footwear and could take some very elaborate forms:

Woman's Embroidered Boots c. 1885

François Pinet, Women’s Embroidered Boots, c. 1885; Los Angeles County Museum of Art ( M.58.4a-b)

Embroidered silk was one common style…

Footwear Boots c. 1890s

Women’s Boots; Bata Shoe Museum

Contrasting materials and colors was another popular style; in this case it’s gold-colored leather combined with an embroidered silk velvet.

Footwear Boots c. 1889

Women’s Boots, c. 1889; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (37.42.1a-b)

And here we see silk damask…

The above selection is only a small selection of the footwear styles that were out there during the 1880s (and the late 19th Century in general)- the variety is simply amazing. What’s even more amazing is that given the nature of women’s clothing styles, most of the details on these boots would never be viewable to the casual observer. Clearly a very private form of aesthetics was at play here.

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