A brief history of 40’s & 50’s shoes

“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world”

 – Marilyn Monroe –

Now i know i don’t stand alone in my love for the copious styles, colours and the multitude of materials these lovelies come in, So here i will take you through the superior styles of the 1940’s and 50’s, together with a peek into my own collections of original and reproduction footwear, all reviewed and put together with my favourite outfits, so all you have to do is get dolled up and get rockin’.

But before we go there, how about a brief history lesson? If we are to wear these vintage styles we should a least know a little of them….

Materials of the time.

It was in the late 30’s that cork, raffia and wedged wooden materials were used to produce the styles we so desperately search for to compliment our hawaiian/tiki vibes,  after that the 1940’s came along and a more military style dominated the footwear fashion.

With leather and rubber being restricted in america it was fabric shoes that then made their way in to the limelight, and so the popularity of the Spanish espadrille began.

Rationed fashion facts.

This is for all the utilitarian lovers, if a sturdy, double stitched, lined and double soled shoe are what you seek, then the 40’s is definatey for you. These features were to insure  CC41 shoes would wear for many years. (they clearly they did, as they still pop up now)

CC41 is recognised as standing for – controlled commodity 1941, these were official utility items and conformed to a set of regulations that ensured quality, and to be hard wearing.

The regs of 1942 stipulate that neither a peep toe nor a heel higher than 2 inches is allowed.

US footwear is not clearly marked as is the british styles but it was also rationed.

In 1943 each person could buy up to three pairs of leather shoes a year, by 1944 this was reduced to two.

Leather was only produced in the following six shades- black, navy blue, three shades of brown and white.

The fashionable fifties

After WWII the styles of shoes yet again grew, with dainty and elegant styles making their way into the wardrobes of women once again, heel shapes changed and became much slimmer and higher.

A new Italian technology enabled a metal core to add stability to the plastic heels of before, aiding the slimming styles to be crafted in to the famous stiletto.

 But we gals have the trend of the Beatniks to thank for the foot saving flats, from ballet pumps to flatties with no heel and a flimsy sole.  Audrey Hepburn, we thank you!!

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