Accessories Of Dress - Shoes And Hose
( Originally Published 1924 )
In shoes, above all other details of costume, it is wise to be conservative, Shoes and hosiery may spoil the gown. Shoes should never give the foot a vulgar or abnormal line, but should be of that last which best suits the foot's own particular structure; they should never make the foot conspicuous, either by an extreme design or by a spotted or pie-bald coloring. Nothing is quite so absurd as over-ornamented shoes, and the wrong shoes may show greater incongruity than will a grotesque hat.
A shoe of tailored design is quite as essential to a suit or cloth coat-dress as an elaborate slipper to a delicate evening gown. An Oxford tie, with necessary width at toe and ball and snugness at the heel and arch, with straight inner-line, and with low heel, is impeccably correct and is a comfortable walking shoe. It is flattering as well to the well-shaped foot. Common sense, one sees, is necessary to acquire that harmony which should be the fundamental idea of any correct costume. Imagine a girl walking over a country estate in high-heeled satin slippers ! She is missing utterly an opportunity of appearing attractive, and instead, is looking plain ridiculous ! Tailored shoes with tailored clothes give a correctness that has economic value. No woman should go for a walk in bad weather without shoes which are designed for protection. Woolen hose, or heavy lisle, are correct to wear with walking shoes. This sensible yet attractive type of foot-wear expresses the onward movement of fashion toward appropriateness rather than capriciousness in foot-dress.
Sports shoes have the same rather picturesque freedom and jauntiness which characterize all sport clothes. First they must be comfortable; after that they must suit the occasion, whether it be tennis, golf, hiking, skiing, or yachting. They should harmonize not only in tone but in fabric. The same rule only partly applies to hosiery; they must be serviceable when shoes are sturdy, but when shoes are conservative in color, they may be quite daring and fantastic.
The French-heeled shoes, slippers, or sandals which a woman wears for afternoon and evening must have the right note in order to give that grace with which shoes should enrich the costume. If the costume has apparently attained distinction through an interesting design, the shoes should be inconspicuous. This is necessary for harmony. If the gown is characterized by extreme simplicity, the shoes may arouse interest, attained rather by design than by color. For color plays a major part in the lure of hosiery, and stockings may aid greatly in acquiring a piquant individuality. The evening slippers may be as elaborate as the mode sanctions. Beauty is after all their raison d'etre; so, as a rule, evening slippers may be as rich and as varied as woman's fancy. Only the finest and daintiest of hosiery is in keeping with this sort of foot-wear.
Can you vision Marya? She wears a gown whose bouffant skirt is of gold-and-red metal lamé over satin; her shoulder straps are slender strips of sable fur, vying with the luster and tone of her hair. This lovely slim Burne-Jones maiden would name as her choice of foot-wear gold brocaded slippers with "star dust" hose! The young matron chooses for her costume rose crêpe de Chine embroidered in pearls, gray satin slippers, and matching hosiery.
Old rose Georgette, with blue brocaded ribbons to hold the long flowing draperies. She whose years are three decades uses her knowledge, de-rived from experience, to help her select for this costume white satin slippers and white stockings.
Black satin, silver lace shot with gold, a black feather lyre-shaped fan. The woman of forty who wears this costume is balanced and mellowed and harmonious ; she has a queen-like dignity; her choice would be black velvet slippers with "moonlight" stockings!
Slippers for evening wear often determine one's costume intelligence. The woman of fifty wears a black satin gown with its shoulder cape and black drape of gold metal cloth. Would she choose gold slippers? No, she is too canny to emphasize a brilliant note too often. Black satin slippers, opera type, because she desires the effect of a Cinderella-like foot, are her choice, and with them she wears black hose of the gossamer quality. What a disastrous choice gold-colored hose would have been!
However, the woman with a limited dress allowance should avoid the caprices of a season and stay within the safety-zone of standard styles and conventional color in shoes.
If it's romance in dress we're looking for, foot-wear offers alluring opportunities.