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A timeline history of Shoes and Fashion

tHE 1910's:
Hear them calling, you & me, Every son of liberty....

WHAT’S GOING ON?
Yes, you guessed it. Another war, dammit! But this time it was the "war to end all wars". Hah! That would almost be funny, if it weren't so sad. World War I forced women to take jobs once held by men such as ambulance drivers, streetcar conductors, elevator operators, wireless operators, and factory workers.

plane



<Left: Detail. Sopwith Camel, 1917. Alfred Owles







But besides the *ahem* war to end all wars, there were great changes taking place in America mostly due to social problems of the poor and middleclass. Labor unions formed to fight against unsafe working conditions and child labor laws. The minimum wage law passed. These changes were made because 20% of all children in cities were undernourished, undereducated and over worked. Yes, I said OVERWORKED. Women strove for equality and the right to vote. America became highly industrialized, cars mass produced and pop culture flourished.  The titanic sank and the first moving assembly line began in 1914. Sports became more popular. And dancing the Bunny Hug, the Castle Walk and the Tango. Silent movies!

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WOMEN’S FASHIONS:
Fashion finally began to loosen up and French designers like Paul Poiret designed clothes without a corset!  Finally!  She could breathe!  She could breathe!  Clothes became softer and followed a woman’s body rather than forcing the body to conform to the clothing. 

And with that comfortable clothing revolution, how in the world could one explain why women fell for the hobble skirt? It was so tight at the bottom she couldn’t even walk!
hobble skirt




Right: Postcard featuring woman wearing hobble skirt. 1915>







Despite this setback, fabrics became lighter and colors became brighter and styles became looser. Lower necklines became popular and the tea gown was the “at home” comfy outfit. 

When WWI began, male designers closed up shop and called to military duty giving ample opportunity for new designers. A young female designer, Gabrielle Chanel began producing hats and designing loose-fitting chemise dresses with belts at the hip.  During wartime shortages, Chanel’s practical but expensive jerseys were in instant hit amongst  wealthy clients. Hey, they made them feel rich, young and casual. 
ladies fashion 1915




<Left: Detail. Le Petit Echo de la Mode. 1915.






So there were plenty of new styles for a fashionable 'teen’s women to choose from:  The sack, the sheath, the harem trousers and the Hellenic tunic. And fur! Had to have the fur. And hats! And once the suffragettes were out and about, fashion became even more comfortable. Hobble skirt, be damned! 

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WOMEN’S SHOES
Again with the tiny feet. During this decade ladies began fussing about narrow feet believing that it was a sign of good breeding and gentility. After all, you never see a debutant with big oafish clown feet, now do we? Both men and women took to wearing shoes that were a full size too small and some (obviously insane) women even had their little toes removed for maximum narrow-ability.
1910 shoe



<Left. American steel beaded, embroidered black kid pump with Louis heel. 1918
.






Women wore boots during the day and the court shoe with a small Louis heel in the evenings. These were often embellished with embroidery or metallic thread and glass or jet beading on the toes. 1914 boot





Right: Ladies daytime boot. 1914>







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MEN’S FASHION

The fashionable man in the ‘teens wore a one or three button cutaway frock coat or a double breasted straight lined jacket. The dandy look was in, in, in.  Wide pants, high collars bow ties galore! The bowler hat was all the rage which had to be perfectly coordinated with his outfit, unless it was a less formal daytime affair to which the straw hat or boater was most appropriate.
men's fashion


<Left: Detail. Bank Holiday
1915. William Strang. Men's fashion.








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 MEN’S SHOES:
For evening, patent leather pumps were still seen, but only for the most formal of events. Spats were a fashionable item fomen's 1910 shoesr formal dress.

 

Right: Men's Spat Shoes>






The first sneaker was developed called Keds in 1917.  Do you know why they were called sneakers?  Because the rubber sole didn’t make noise when you walked and you could quite literally “sneak” up on someone.  Ha! 

For more images of 1910's shoes, please visit my Styles Gallery.

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~KBCreations. Copyright 2006

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