Miss Shoes – Shoes you almost Missed

Shoes for the Discerning Indian Woman

Ballet Shoes/ Slippers April 19, 2012

Yesterday I promised a picture for each of my latest crushes for ballet shoes.

To start with, I had bought a pair of bright red ballet slippers back in 2010. This was after I went crazy in Rocia in Singapore. They had this special offer and the shoes were irresistible! However, when I left the country, I forgot them with my friend. She was so kind as to keep it with her, and when she visited me recently, she got me the pair back, in its original packing as well! How awesome is that?! So of course, I need to start wearing them asap before they become old news. They are still hot and I can imagine wearing them with skinny jeans or a nice skirt on weekends.

My Red Ballets

So this pair is a straighforward flat with a scoop out front peep-toe. And its truly flat. And its comfortable.  And its so simple it matches most things. The colour red is enough to make it interesting.

(If you have not heard of Rocia, it is pretty popular in South-East AsiaIndia and Singapore, Malaysia belt.)

The other par of ballet flats is one I bought recently, last week. It is a fun thing, and I had to choose the white colour. It of course doesnt match everything, but it is an amazing addition to my closet. I have worn it with my jeans throughout the weekend already. I love how the leather is cut into assymetric shapes which makes it a very interesting slip-on.

White cut-out ballet slippers


90s Shoe Fashion is Back! I want to Buy these Shoes April 18, 2012

These are Shoes Im lusting after. Right Now.

1. My red ballet flats that I had forgotten about since 2010. I had forgotten them with my freind. She only just reminded me of them rececntly by bringing them to me. They are soon to be out of fashion, but I still love them. I need to wear them asap!

I will upload their picture the moment I take them.

2. These so in-fashion cork-heeled platforms that I can picture myself wearing. I just need to find the

Platform heels of Corck that scream style

right shop and price. And hope that by then its not trending on the street too often. And buying them

from Aldo or Nine West or Charles&Keith in India are not in the question. At least, not

right now. I can almost see myself mentally hum “Baji Baji

Bumbo Chiki Chiki Chiki Chikita”! in them (Remember that song?) while I walk through the elite stores of Palladium, Lower Parel looking all chic and hep.

Sunshine yellow platform Trainers

Sunshine yellow platform Trainers

Trainers with Sparkles

Platform Trainers with Bike-chic look

3. I wanted them when I was in school. I want them now. I had forgotten about them till date, but now that they are back in fashion, I dont want to miss the bus. Like last time. I still remember trying out so many of them when I was but 16, but none of them were ‘right’ for me. This time round, I want to get that pair. I know they are waiting for me somewhere!

4. This pair of white cut-out ballet shoes that I just bought. I would have purchased another in bright yellow as well if I could! that would have looked to cool with a pink dress!

Again, a picture is due, and I will upload ’em soon enough!

My Indian Kolhapuri slippers and the Ethnic toe-ring

5. A pair of ‘slippers’ that I can just casually slip into when running errands. Something like

my old Kolhapuri slippers. Something I can wear with jeans, skirts, dresses alike. Maybe Ill just go get myself some nice Kolhapuris again. I lost the left foot of my trusty pair. I mean, ONE foot! And then the next one (pictured) finally gave up. And isnt that a really cool, really traditional toe ring Im wearing? I love to wear it and act all ‘married Indian good-girl’ type. In my mind.

Brown Brogues for Women

Lovely red Brogues!

6. And as a luxury item, a good pair of brogues. Preferably brown, with a cap toe. With hints of copper or steel on it. Tasteful, of course. You see I have it visualised perfectly in my mind. Now to find something like that in real life. In a “store nearby”, which has my size, (and) in my budget. Sadly, winter came and went. And brogues never caught on in Mumbai. Or even India as far as I saw. I wonder why. They are so useful for office and casual-chic. Ive always had a brogue-alike in my closet. Something I can pull on for the days I dont want to wear heels and still want to look smart for office. For days when I want to protect my heels from the elements while going out on weekends. And now, I need them. Slowly, I think they have moved up from the luxury item I classified them under, and are turning into a necessity.

Ah! Brogues for Women!!

So there you have it. a list of shoes I would LOVE to own, right now! And wear them. Let me see how soon I can fulfill this list!


Shoes in 18th Century Europe (1700’s) October 26, 2009

I had once picked up a beautiful coffee table book from Landmark in Calcutta (it is now called Starmark), which traced shoes since as far in History as known, in Europe to date.

What was remarkable while browsing through the book was that shoes have barely changed since their inception. Sure, today there are computer-generated ergonomic and machine made shoes with material unavailable in the 15th, 16th of even 19th Centuries. But, the shoe in-principle, has remained the same.

To talk of not too far a past, I thought I will mention a little about the shoes worn in the 18th Century, or 1700’s. This was the era when Europe was still united and society was divided into the rich and poor. The rich aristocracy wore every possible type of grandeur, dresses were grand and stiff and the shoes matched the flavour of the day!

Women’s Shoes

18th Century Shoe Painting

In the 18th Century, shoes with heels were very much de-rigeur. Typically, the shoes were covered with cloth, and these were embroidered intricately with flowers, and usually women wore them to match with their outfit (as today!). The cloth was backed by a stiff material giving the shoe its characteristic shape.

The rich also wore shoes embedded with precious stones and wearing a gold shoe with red rubies along with a dress of golden lace and rubies was but natural.

The toes of the shoes were extremely pointed, and the heels were wooden, curving inwards. The heels too were embedded with jewels and sometimes embroidered. These shoes were usually known as Clogs.

!8th Century Italian Shoes

Most times the shoes were covered on all fronts, thereby helping the wearer brave the cold weathers in Europe (it was afterall the Little Ice Age, and the weather was much colder than today). The shoe top was then embellished by buckles which were made as pretty as possible using the materials allowed by the social status of the wearer. A rich person would wear precious stones, diamonds and so on, while a peasant’s would probably be un-embellished.

Since the shoes were meant to accompany the dresses, and made with specially dye-ed cloth, their colours were spectacular and varied. It is a pleasure to look at these shoes. The dresses were made of the height of the person, so when wearing a stiff brocade gown, the hem would be till the ankle of the wearer and the shoe would be clearly visible to another person, making it important to wear matching (and pretty) shoes for important social functions.

Yellow silk shoes with buckles, French, c.1760s

Yellow silk shoes with buckles, French, c.1760s

I do not think they are as comfortable as shoes available in the market today, but one must give credit to the pretty specimens that are available in museums and antique shops.

Mid-1700s Silk Shoe

Towards the end of the century however, with the Napoleonic war and French Revolution as well as the advent of Muslins, and reduction of the number of jewelery and colours worn, as well as the movement of womens dresses from the stiff brocaded and hooped versions to soft, flowing lines, shoes also underwent a change. Heels and stiff shoes seem to have lost their popularity. The trend seen in early 19th Century made its appearance, with flat ballet-like shoes, tied with ribbons around the ankle. These were made of soft silk and muslin and though very pretty, they were delicate and needed replacements pretty soon. The advantage of these shoes however was the fact that they could be repaired at home – much cheaper!

Political Evolution

Satin Slippers

Satin Slippers lined with Linen

Heels seemed to signify social status, as people in the higher social strata did do any manual labour and did not to walk too much and hence wore very high heels to signify the same. The lower strata poorer people did not wear very high heels as most of their work had to be done themselves, and the could not afford carriages for short distances. Considering that most streets were cobbled at the time, wearing even 5-inch of such inwardly curved heels and walking in the elaborate clothes fashionable at the time was definitely a feat! With the French Revolution, heels reduced in size and as they tended towards vanishing, they signified how everyone was of the same social status.

In fact, in the 18th Century, the first Ballet slippers were made, and they had  high heels! The toes were padded so one could dance on the toes. It was only later that flat ballet shoes evolved.

While the shoes with heels made walking difficult because of the high and difficultly balanced heels, the flat shoes (called slippers) that came up after them also made walking difficult on the often muddy and slippery roads, especially in the country and in England. Also, since their soles were thin, the wearer was often subjected to cold and it was definitely not a healthy fashion trend!

Shoes over the Century

Shoes over the 18th Century

Mens Shoes

18th Century Man with Red Heels

Men in the 18th Century were as, if not more flamboyant than the women in their clothing. To go with this, their shoes too were flamboyant. Though men usually wore black shoes with white buckles, it did not stop them from embellishing them with precious stones to match with the rest of their attire. Rubied heels for red-lined coats, emeralds for green lined coats and diamonds if the wearer was decked out in silver lace! The elaborateness of the dress as well as the number of jewels worn showed the social stature of the person and hence was an important indicator.

While the poorer people wore plain shoes, the aristocrats wore extremely high heels making them walk ‘mincingly’ so as not to lose their balance. The

Working class shoes

high heels apart from showing the social stature by making it impossible for the wearer to do physical labour, also balanced the outline of the person. With dresses that balooned around the waist with stiff materials and multiple ‘skirts’, and head covered by towering wigs, it was essential that the human outline be maintained and that was achieved by the high heeled shoes.

However, men indulged in many more activities than women and these primarily comprised of hunting/ riding and the Army. While the heeled shoes were alright for wearing to parties, it was a practical necessity to have shoes which could be worn for riding horses and walking and running. These were the Hessians or Boots, as we know them.

French Military Boots

18th C French Military Boots

The hessians were knee high riding boots made of leather, without heels, and definitely useful while riding a horse as they would help when the leg chafes against the horse. However, in this century of extreme fashion, they were confined only to wearing in the Country, which meant not in society. They were worn when men went for out-door activities, but were a definite no-no in polite circles or when meeting guests at home.

The shine of the hessians were a matter of pride to the wearer, and they were frequently adorned with gold or silver tassles or lined with fur.

Political Evolution

1786 Mens Fashion

With the war, the heels of men’s shoes also went down. However, more drastic to note was the advent of Hessians into every-day acceptable wear. By the early 19th Century Hessians were worn by men in Town (i.e. London or Paris or equivalent cities) though not worn for evening events.

In the late 1700’s, the dressing had reduced in grandeur to signify democracy and the shoes too had sobered down. Boots were still making an entry into society, but calf length boots allowable in town-wear. The shine on the shoes determined the wearer’s status and the style of the top of the shoe  -tassles, fur or embroidery- determined his style quotient!

For this post I have sourced information and pictures from: Wikipedia, Encarta, Doubledeckerbus, Lousiana State Museum, Shoe Blog, Bata Shoe Museum, Canada, Tongue in Cheek, The Costumers Manifesto, Colonial Williamsberg, Humanities etc. Thanks! 🙂