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Female Footwear

First half of the 17th century

During this period men's and women's shoes were the same in style and cut. Therefore, for a more detailed description, please go to Gentlemen's footwear.

Around 1630, ladies' shoes were made of fine kid or brocade, often with embroidered foreparts. Mules, for indoor wear, with curved red heels about 2 inches high had often lace frills around the top line with lace rosettes at the throat. The toes were square or round.

In 1640 both the so-called Louis heel with its curved back, and a taller and slender heel, straight at the back, were worn on brocaded shoes. In the same fashion as the men's shoes, ribbon rosettes covered the fastenings at the throat, often ladies didn't were those huge rosettes because of the length of their skirts.

In 1640-50 ladies' shoes had very shallow square toes, sometimes forked, corresponding to the shape of the men's shoes. Mules were made of silk or brocade, shoes of leather, which was often white. 

 

Second half of the 17th century

In the 1660s women began taking an interest in their footwear, and no longer accepted to have the same shape as men's shoes. A variety of exquisitely embroidered shoes in silk, satin and velvet appeared, trimmed with lace which fell in a deep flounce over the foot. The forepart became slimmer and heels rose. The shoes were high and narrow, just like the Fontange, the hatters was. Thus the base of the figure and its crowning top were the same. 

While men's shoes were usually made of leather, women's were mainly made of brocade, satin or embroidered fabric (mostly silk), in white, yellow, beige, blue, green and violet. Appliquéd braid was widely used, creating a striped pattern. Most shoes were still decorated with rosettes made from ribbon, lace or looped leather, but the sides were already closed. A conspicuous feature of women's shoes was the white kid edge, used in attaching the sole. It was already seen in the 1640s and was to continue until the 1760s. 

Although frequently women still wore square toes up to the 1680s, the toe shape started widely to diverge from the men's. The first points had already appeared in the 1660s and during the following decades the more elegant point was adopted. By the 1690s the point was made quite deep, but is gradually replaced by the needlepoint. The heels were high and usually curved at the back. A detail like the fancy shaped tongue would not have been visible under the long skirts, but some had the cupid's bow regardless, while others had a zigzag top line. 

For informal indoor wear ladies were wearing mules, just like the men. Those were very often embroidered, there is a beautiful example surviving made from dark red velvet and embroidered with metal threads. 

For protection, women adopted clogs and pattens. The clog was a small wooden wedge to fit under the arch of the shoe, covered in strong leather extended under under the ball and toe, with a socket at the under end to take the shoe heel. The whole was underlain by a flat sole which prevented the shoe heel from digging into soft ground. The most practical version had a leather galosh with latchets to tie over the shoe, but most women had just a brocade-covered leather latchet, of the same material to the shoe. 

The pattens were largely the same, with the addition of an iron ring or four-lobed hoop underneath, to raise the wearer even further. Women continued to wear boots for riding, and they also adopted for this purpose a riding habit which copied the male fashion, but of course worn with skirts.

 

Female Costumes
Ladies' Baroque Clothing

Indoor Garments | Footwear | Accessories | Hairstyles | Head-dresses | Development of the Fontange
Hairstyles by Vermeer | Dress Colours by Vermeer | Head-dresses by Vermeer

Costume Focus Headwear & Neckwear
| Costume Focus Working Women
Costume Focus Children's Clothing
Ladies' Costume Quotes

Male Costumes
Gentlemen's Baroque Clothing

Indoor Garments | Footwear | Accessories | Hairstyles | Head-dresses

Costume Colours by Vermeer | Hair- and Head-dresses by Vermeer

Gentlemen's Costume Quotes

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Lace Gallery & Identification
| Glossary


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