Friday, February 19, 2010

A Slipper for Every Gal

Slippers for Sale! Mongomery Ward Catalog Fall 1956

...They were given names like Nymph, Tulip and Tea for Two. They were made from lovely materials... peau de soie, quilted brocades, wool felt and kidskin leather. Some had decorative details like beadwork,tassels, ruffles and even feathers. Others were simple, in a cozy comforting way. In an era where the flip flop reigns, it's hard for us to imagine a time when the indoor footwear market offered as many style choices as regular shoes.

House shoes or slippers have been around for a long time. I pulled
this quote from the website Graceful Step

..."the earliest record of the word slipper was recorded in English in 1478, deriving from the verb to slip, describing a type of footwear one slips into. The traditional British slipper of the Victorian era is the Albert slipper, named after Price Albert, of course, and is a velvet slipper with plain leather sole and quilted silk lining. It was worn about the house, particularly with black tie at the time but in modern or fashionable use is worn sometimes outside in informal settings." and...slippers had been part of Far and Near Eastern cultures for far longer than that.

For a good part of the 20th century the slipper business was a thriving industry. One of the most long lived companies (still going today) is Daniel Green. On the history page of their website they talk about how in the early 1800s a young shoe sales man, Daniel Green, was impressed by the felt shoes worn by factory workers to keep their feet warm. When he learned they were made from bits of piano felt he contracted with the felt manufacturer to produce a line of slippers for him. He had such faith in his new venture that he asked the owner to promise him "sole agency" to the product. In 1882 Daniel and his brother William sold 600 pair of these felt slippers and by 1884 they had sold 24,000 pair! New styles were added and popularity grew. Daniel Green died in 1891 but his company went on to design some of the most beautifully styled slippers you have ever seen. Beautiful enough to be worn as dress shoes.

Vintage Magazine ads for slippers

Daniel Green is probably the most recognizable name in vintage slippers but there were countless other manufacturers over the decades. In my Montgomery Ward catalog from Fall 1956 there is an entire page devoted to dozens of different slipper styles (pictured at top of blog). My MOST favorite vintage slippers is a 1953 pair of Oomphies called Turkish Toes shown in the collage below. At the time of this writing they are being offered for sale on my website.

Vintage slippers that are or have been on my website

Vintage house slippers are practical and fun. Often times they are so well made you can easily wear them in lieu of regular shoes. There is a style for every taste from sexy peep toe mules to toasty fleece lined moccasins. Check out your favorite vintage websites or shops and see what they have. You may need to be wait a while for the right ones to come along but it will be worth it, I guarantee!

'Til next time, Peace to you all


1 comment:

  1. I certainly agree that some of these would pass as very elegant shoes, especially that black satin pair in your collage!

    Its such a reflection on changing times that women would wear such glamorous footwear for informal, indoor use. And now I feel like a complete slob in my shabby sheepskin bootees!