Category Archives: Shoes

B.F. Goodrich Velvet Shoe Twins – Updated

On a recent vintage outing  I found the brown shoes in the photo above.  Actually, it was the shoe box that caught my eye, and the brown shoes were the prize inside the box.  I immediately thought of the orange shoes which I bought about ten years ago, which I was pretty sure were the same style.  With the exception of the laces and the color, the shoes are identical.

I love that the colors of the box are the orange and brown of the shoes.

I’ve tried to find an ad for the B.F. Goodrich Velvetie, but so far I’ve not found one.  My guess is that these shoes date from the mid 1950s to the early 60s.  (See update below)

Many times I see vintage items advertised as “unique” or “one of a kind.”  But unless a garment is couture, or is made by a seamstress or a tailor, then chances are the item was made in great quantities, and chances are that more than one example of any given garment has survived to the present time.

A good example of this is the novelty border prints that were so popular in the 1950s and early 1960s.  These prints were commonly made into gathered or pleated skirts, and it is pretty easy to locate multiple examples of the same print made into similar skirts.

Another example is the 1940s figural sweater.  These have become quite popular in recent years, with people looking for specific sweaters that they know exist.  Many of these are well documented in ads by makers such as Jantzen and Catalina, and collectors even find vintage photos of the sweaters being worn.  There is a wonderful thread on the VFG forums where these sweaters and ads are shared.

When I first started buying on eBay in 1997, I’d be really distressed to lose out on an item to a higher bidder.  But as time went on, I realized that if an item surfaced once, chances are there were lots more of them out there.  In my early ebay days, I was the runner-up bidder on a Dalton Scottie doggie intarsia sweater.  I would have bid higher, but the sweater was green, a color I rarely wear.  Ten years later, the very same sweater finally resurfaced, this time in black.   I bought it and wore it a few times, but now it sits safely in the Vintage Traveler collection.

UPDATE:  My favorite vintage researcher, Lynne, has emailed an ad for these shoes dated 1968, though she also found them mentioned in 1967.  I think it was the box that threw me, along with the soles of the shoes, which are that ridged crepe one sees so often on late 50s and early 60s casual shoes.  The shoes also came in black.  Many thanks to Lynne!

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Filed under Collecting, Shoes

Bowl to Stay Slim, 1958

Growing up in the 1960s, I can remember bowling being a very big deal.  The leagues that met weekly to compete were an important social function for many people in my community.  My parents didn’t bowl, but the parents of a friend were in a league so I often went with them to the lanes.  I learned to bowl (badly) and was never any good at it, but as I said, the social part of it was really the point.

In 1958 Brunswick, a maker of bowling supplies, published this booklet that was aimed to encourage women to take up the sport.

Bowling is a graceful, rhythmical sport.  A fun sport that’s not strenuous yet so good for the figure.

Marion Ladewig really was a professional bowler.  Here she is on What’s My Line? where she actually stumped the panelists.

The booklet is full of photos of attractive – and slim – women bowling, intermingled with dieting tips and how to score the game.

Here we have Mrs. Ladewig helping a young woman pick out a ball.  One thing I did not realize is that “Shoes are made for both right and left-handed bowlers…”  I’m left-handed, and I can’t ever remember being offered left-handed shoes.  Not surprising since I always considered myself lucky if they actually had the right size for me.

Of course the booklet would not be complete without an ad for Brunswick equipment.  I was especially interested in the shoes, mainly because bowling shoes can be a bit of a problem to accurately date.  I’d sure like a pair of the Princess Brunswick, in red, please.

The back cover has one last reminder, that bowling is a fun activity for the entire family.

In my bowling file I found another booklet, which is less soft-sell, more sports-minded.  I only picked it up because it is labeled “Compliments of Misty Harbor.”  I thought that was an odd sponsor considering Misty Harbor was a maker of rain coats and jackets, not something one would wear while bowling.

And once again, here is the bowling team from 1956.  I find it interesting that all the advertising booklet women are wearing skirts and dresses, but the real bowlers are outfitted in slacks.

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Filed under Proper Clothing, Shoes, Winter Sports

Enna Jetticks Shoes for Women

I got this nifty little item in the mail a few days ago, a gift from Denise in Travelers Rest.  She was getting ready to move, and need to downsize a bit.  She had this fan which had belonged to her mother.  Denise found me after googling “Enna Jettick.”  Thank goodness an old blog post of mine came up in the search because she offered the fan to me.

I guess the advertising premise that if you give someone something with your business name on it, chances are they will keep it.  We just can’t resist free stuff, I suppose.  Anyway, it is amazing how many people did save these old ad gifts.  I’m sure glad they did!

I need no longer be told that I have an expensive foot for I’m an Enna Jettick Girl.

Many thanks to Denise!

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Filed under Collecting, Shoes

Ad Campaign – Kedettes, 1950

This Kedettes ad from 1950s is interesting because of what it does not say.  There is virtually no ad copy, only the styles, the prices, and a note that the shoes are washable.  But read the illustration, which says that Kedettes are just right for a casual date at the soda shop.

You might have noticed that colored rubber soles are pretty hot right now.  You see them quite a bit on athletic shoes, of course, but makers of street shoes, like Cole Haan have added them to oxfords  and loafers.  It rather nice seeing the same trend from 64 years ago.  There really isn’t much new under the fashion sun.

 

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Filed under Ad Campaign, Shoes

Vintage Bathing Shoes: 1930s? 1940s? 1950s?

A lot of the fun of collecting anything is finding out about the things one has selected as worthy of their collection.  Sometimes this quest for knowledge is easy, thanks to Mr. Google.  But there are other times that I finally give up and consult an expert.

Above is a pair of rubber bathing shoes made by the United States Rubber Company, the company that also manufactured Keds sneakers.  Before the mid 1920s, bathing shoes were generally made from canvas, but by 1930 the old style had been replaced with the new rubber models.  They were, as one can imagine, much more practical, being waterproof.  Rubber bathing shoes remained popular throughout the 1930s, but by the 40s, more people were going barefoot in the water, and wearing sandals on the beach and at poolside.

At first glance, these shoes seem to be 1930s bathing shoes.  The style and the shape of the toe indicate a mid 30s to 1940 manufacture.  The box graphics and fonts also look 1930s.  So why am I questioning the dating?

The problem lies within the sole.  This wavy sole, made from what looks to be rubberized cork, is commonly found on shoes from the 1950s.  But were bathing shoes even still being made in 1950?  For help I turned to shoe expert, Jonathan Walford.

I felt a lot better after Jonathan emailed back that he found them to be confusing as well, saying that he did not associate the wavy soles with pre-WWII shoes.   And he did confirm that rubber bathing shoes were made into the 1950s.  His mother had a pair that she wore in the early 50s at the family beach cottage because of sharp shells and slimy seaweed.

It was Jonathan’s feeling that these shoes are most likely 1935-1940.  I agree with him, but I’m still looking for a source that clearly shows this type sole on a 1930s shoe.  The problem is that in ads, catalogs, and fashion spreads, the sole of a shoe is usually not shown.  I’ve seen a few maybes in late 30s catalogs, but nothing definite.  And as always, your thoughts are welcome.

I got these great shoes from Carol at Dandelion Vintage.  She runs what has to be one of the oldest online vintage stores on the Web.  She has nice things and excellent prices.  Thanks, Carol!

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Filed under Shoes, Sportswear, Summer Sports, Vintage Clothing

Ad Campaign – Wellco at the Bootery, Late 1950s

No need to cry “My feet are killing me!’  when you can buy Wellco Foamtreads for “The Walk That Relaxes.”

After the post last week about Wellco slippers and shoes, Jan Schochet sent this ad to me.  Someone had posted it on facebook, so she did not have the particulars about the ad.  However, there are plenty of clues in the ad that help us date it.

According to Jan, her parents relocated the Bootery from 9 Patton Avenue in Asheville to 16 Patton Avenue in 1963.  Note that the ad says that the “bubble sole” is patented.  This patent was granted in 1947.  So the ad has to be between 1947 and 1963.  The clip art graphics are in the style of the mid 1950s, but as you can see from the shoe style, this was not exactly a “fashion” oriented concern and the clip art could have been older.  Still, all signs point to a late 1950s date.

The ad has been also removed from its physical context, as the name of the newspaper is absent.  But the Bootery’s location in Asheville, and the reference to “right here in Western North Carolina” strongly suggest that the ad was in either the Asheville Citizen, or the Asheville Times.  Today the paper is the Asheville Citizen-Times.

There is so much information on the internet, that I can’t imagine trying to find out about these long out of business companies.  But this ad also illustrates an alarming trend, one that is brought about by Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook and other “gathering” sites.  So often photos are divorced from the context of their origins, and it forces people to guess at the image’s origin.  I’ve stopped looking at Tumblr and Facebook for that reason.  It’s just too frustrating.

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Filed under Ad Campaign, Shoes

Saturday Evening Post, March 31, 1956

I love the way the old Saturday Evening Post covers told a story in one frame.  The mother’s look of sadness at her little girl all but grown.  The girl herself, awkwardly admiring her own reflection.  The salesman counting his commission.  The discarded penny loafers.

This was a rite of passage that passed me by.  I went straight from loafers and patent leather maryjanes to practical and comfortable knock-offs of Roger Viver’s Pilgrim pump.  Even when heels went back up in the 1970s, I tended to wear lower styles.  And today I’m strictly a Converse and oxfords type of woman.  I don’t think I’ve ever even owned a pair of proper stilettos.

But for that young miss in 1956, the heeled sandals were a necessary part of her dance ensemble.  I just hope she didn’t trip.

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Filed under Shoes, Viewpoint