Shoes for Girls

Posted by NUTS 15/09/2014 0 Comment(s) Shopping,Fashion,

Shoes for Girls – Via Uppers

Shoes can make or break an outfit, but original 60’s shoes are hard to find. When women’s 60’s shoes are available in second hand shops, they are rarely in sizes above a 6, and wearing someone else’s old shoes isn’t really healthy. Helen Barrell gives you a guide to High Street mod shoe shopping for girls.

Most of the shoes I have at the moment are from Rackhams in Birmingham. This is because they have a tremendous selection of designer shoes, from Italian, French and Spanish labels such as Carvela, Roland Cartier andRoberto Vianni. But when I was marooned for 3 years on the Isle of Wight, I had only the shoes in Next and Curtess to choose from. So instead I got my shoes (as well as my false eyelashes – see make-up article in Dansette #7) from a stage shop. I have enormous feet (so people say), an 8 (though in Ancient Greece big feet on women were considered very elegant, and oddly enough, Audrey Hepburn’s feet were an 8 as well!), and though 8’s were, a few years ago, non-existent, one of the few places you could buy size 8’s from were stage shops. Don’t ask why. So I used to wear tap shoes. The first pair I got were white Oxford taps. They are fantastic – white, pointy-toed with a Cuban heel, laced up. Only thing is, someone sincerely asked me why mods wore ‘American nurses shoes’. Still, I rather like them!

The next pair were the more traditional type of tap shoe, and unlike the Oxfords, these ones came with an enormous chunk of metal – the tap – which I had to prise off with a screwdriver! And it wasn’t easy! These are pointy-toed, though not severely so – perhaps more of a pointy-almond, if such a thing exists. Well, it does now. These are black leather and have a Cuban heel. As you can see from the photo, they are very close in style to shoes that were available in the 60’s. I suggest you take the tap shoes to the cobbler and have them re-soled and re-heeled, as you’ll probably find that the soles are too thin to walk about the streets in.

Taps are great as they are such a wonderful shape, and it may make you look like an extra in Billy Elliot, and dance all around and about the streets (which reminds me – ballet slippers…). They are perfect for dancing in – being dancing shoes, but if your feet are wide, the pointy-toe makes the fitting rather snug – perversely, you will find blisters developing from a gentle stroll, but a feeling like dancing on air if you wear them to an allniter where you can’t stop dancing!

Dear Audrey Hepburn – she really is a ‘shoe icon’ of mine – there is a movement who want her to be canonised and I think she should be made the Patron Saint of Large-Footed Ladies! She wore ballet slippers – the iconic photos of Audrey dressed in black roll neck and slinky black trousers with decorated ballet slippers really are the epitome of style. When everyone else was wearing 5″ spiky stilettos and destroying their toes and backs permanently, Audrey wore flatties. For your own pair of ballet pumps, tryFrench Sole, Ellis Street, London, SW1 or Munster Road, SW6. I think they do mail order as well. Phone ’em on: 020 7471 4867. Otherwise, get back to the stage shop and again, see if you can get proper ‘street’ soles put on. Ballet-style leather pumps are quite easy to come by in those shoe boutiques for ‘mature’ ladies.

I was lucky to get some leather ballet-style pumps from Bella Ricco (now disappeared). Entirely flat heel, I really can’t tell you how much I love to wear these shoes! The sole is leather, which makes me swirl about the house when I’m wearing them, with a very low (well under a centimetre) rubber heel. This makes them ideal for dancing in as you can spin on the leather of your toe, and use the rubber heel as an effective brake! My pumps are also mock-croc burgundy leather and look lovely with early-60’s style outfits.

My other ballet pumps are more ballet-esque, as they have a tiny leather bow at the front. They’re by Principal Studio, and I found them in one of those shops where old ladies who wear lots of gold jewellery shop! Of course – after all, these shoes are silver!!! Very comfortable (I really am of the opinion that shoes shouldn’t be an implement of self-inflicted torture…) and they look lovely in the Audrey-style outfit of black trousers and roll neck. Intellectual Beatnik-style chin-stroking not necessary (though fun accompanied by a copy of Sartre’s Nausea, a packet of Gitanes and a cappuccino outside a Soho café, or somewhere on the Left Bank in Paris…or maybe even your local Costa Coffee).

Continuing on an Audrey note, there is the kitten heel. It has been said that the kitten heel was expressly designed for Audrey for her performance in Sabrina. Kitten heels around now have a modern twist, though to be quite honest, I much prefer the 50’s/60’s style heel. But then, I’m just difficult to please. Schuh do a nice selection at the moment (that is, Autumn/Winter ’00), and I bought a pair of what I thought to be my ultimate shoes – pointy-toed, kitten heeled slingbacks! I can just hear Eartha Kitt purring in delight from her post on the grand piano! They don’t pinch the toe as much as you might think, as the toe is extremely long (now, with size 8’s, you can imagine how long these shoes make my feet look!). But sadly these shoes are unwearable! And why? Because the slingback won’t stay on my heel; it keeps bloody sliding down! What should I do? Use surgical tape? Or how about a bolt in my ankle, like Andy Warhol had on his skull to keep his wigs on?!

Carvela, my favourite shoe makers, are doing a lovely range of kitten heels, very 50’s/60’s styled. Just check out the photo – marvel at the shape of the heel! Gasp at the point of the toe! And these don’t even fall off when I’m wearing them (always a bonus!). They are maroon/red mock croc and are my current favourite shoes. With a heel thicker than a kitten, we have the court shoe. The most 60’s style ones should have a square heel, covered the same as the upper of the shoe. There were a lot in this style around a couple of years ago, and I got mine from Jones. The photo shoes these – black patent, square toed, with the silver buckle over the toe (I also found some similar ones the year before in Faith). As the heel is wider than the kitten, they’re not so ‘wobbly’ to walk in. Marvellous. Ravel had some lovely ones with tortoiseshell tags instead of silver buckles, and every summer some shoe labels include white versions with the tortoiseshell tags.

Carvela, again, did the black patent court thang this year. Chisel toed, with a leather bow at the front. The heel’s lovely, being a cross between the square court heel and kitten. Marvellously sophisticated. Carvela do some lovely colours – I also have these in pale blue.

Now for the ‘dolly’ shoes. As you know, these have been popular on the High Street for well over a year now, and it’s really refreshing to be able to find, in such abundance, so many low heeled, wide-fitting, blunt-toed shoes! We girls have fond memories of our school shoes from Clarks and Startrite… (remember them? And Clarks’ ‘Magic Steps’ with the key in the sole which allegedly had something to do with Peter Pan and princesses? – it was the shoe that every seven-year-old girl wanted!).

I have to come clean – in Dansette #6, I sung the praises of my Carvela dollies. Well, I am now completely obsessed with these shoes, which can only be described as beautiful, and own 5 pairs of them – all plucked from the sales in Rackhams, though! They have a low heel, square toe, with the strap quite near the front of the shoe (see photo). I own two pairs of very pale pearlised grey ones with a small buckle on the strap, and then three with the strap being elasticated. These three are in different colours – black, dark grey and pale blue.

Roland Cartier are doing a similar shoe. The heel is similar, but is better described, perhaps, as a cross between the ballet pump and dolly – see photo. They were my favourite shoes, until I found my Carvela kitten heels! There are loads of dollies about – some with bigger heels are quite nice.

Then Roberto Vianni – the outfitters of Milanese housewives? I have lots of loafers, but my favourite, just for sheer chutzpah, are the YELLOW SUEDE ones from Vianni. Ah, marvellous!

So there you go… even though the stocks of original 60’s ladies shoes are drying up, quicker than the European beer lake does at a scooter rally, there are still shoe designers out there who are making 60’s style shoes which you can buy new, or other shoes which you can just improvise with. This article barely scratches the surface, but I hope that if any of you are stuck for shoes, then you’ll get some ideas from here. Men are more lucky when it comes to finding good shoes on the High Street as men’s styles never seen to go through the drastic changes that women’s styles do, but just keep your ears and eyes to the ground, and 60’s shoe delights shall be yours, my sisters!

© Helen Barrell 2001 – 2012 Uppers [Published 21 March 2001]

Welcome to Journal Blog, a simple and very powerful blog system built directly into Journal offering an advanced feature set with over 200 customization options. You can author unlimited blog posts and display them in both Grid or List views with support for our famous Items per Row feature. The blog comes with 6 modules including an advanced Posts Module that allows you to display articles on any page within your store and in any position. Now with support for Carousel mode even in List view.

This is a blockquoe element  styled from the Journal admin. You can edit font settings, line-height, margin and padding as well as the red border on the left. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam iaculis egestas laoreet. 

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam iaculis egestas laoreet. Etiam faucibus massa sed risus lacinia in vulputate dolor imperdiet. Curabitur pharetra, purus a commodo dignissim, sapien nulla tempus nisi, et varius nulla urna at arcu. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam iaculis egestas laoreet. Etiam faucibus massa sed risus lacinia in vulputate dolor imperdiet. Curabitur pharetra, purus a commodo dignissim, sapien nulla tempus nisi, et varius nulla urna at arcu.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam iaculis egestas laoreet. Etiam faucibus massa sed risus lacinia in vulputate dolor imperdiet. Curabitur pharetra, purus a commodo dignissim, sapien nulla tempus nisi, et varius nulla urna at arcu. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam iaculis egestas laoreet. Etiam faucibus massa sed risus lacinia in vulputate dolor imperdiet. Curabitur pharetra, purus a commodo dignissim, sapien nulla tempus nisi, et varius nulla urna at arcu.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam iaculis egestas laoreet. Etiam faucibus massa sed risus lacinia in vulputate dolor imperdiet. Curabitur pharetra, purus a commodo dignissim, sapien nulla tempus nisi, et varius nulla urna at arcu. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Aliquam iaculis egestas laoreet. Etiam faucibus massa sed risus lacinia in vulputate dolor imperdiet. Curabitur pharetra, purus a commodo dignissim, sapien nulla tempus nisi, et varius nulla urna at arcu.

Leave a Comment