Victorian Shoe Rosettes

They say that Cinderella is proof that a new pair of shoes can change your life!

Shoes have played an important role in wardrobes for centuries. I love shoes in general but I also like them because (of course!) you can put rosettes on them!

Shoe rosettes have been popular for many eras but today I'll just focus on shoe rosettes in the middle 1800s. Both men and women wore shoe rosettes in earlier eras, but by the Victorian era rosettes were primarily seen on ladies' footwear.

Women in the Victorian era wore two basic kinds of shoes: boots and slippers. Both of them could have rosettes for adornment.

Bowes Museum. ca 1865
Rosettes On Boots
Boots were for work attire and for formal occasions, depending on design. Work boots would usually be plain serviceable leather or wool, but formal boots would often be something finer like kid or silk.

Most Victorian boots with rosettes were the fine version, since you didn't want to risk your lovely rosettes on work boots!

V&A. 1865.
Generally these rosettes matched or coordinated with the color of the boots. They were mounted near the toe and could be small, dainty pom-poms or large, multi-layer creations. Buckles were occasionally used for the center adornment, but it was also quite popular to have no center design.

Aren't these worth drooling over? The blue pair (swoon!) is 1870s, as evidenced by the higher curvy heel.

Met Museum. 1870s. 
This pair is 1860s and has the most gorgeous rosettes with mother-of-pearl buckles!

1860s. Jeannie Rucker Collection. 

Met Museum. 1850s.
Rosettes On Slippers
Unlike boots, slippers were almost exclusively for indoors. If they were handmade by the lady herself, they were generally flat-soled. However, ladies could order heeled slippers ready-made or could make them and have a shoemaker put a heeled sole on them. 

LACMA. 1862-1865.
Formal evening slippers for balls, dinners or entertaining were generally of silk or fine kid leather. House slippers, on the other hand, were less dressy and might be embroidered with all kinds of fun designs!

Rosettes on both types of slippers could be matching or contrasting colors. The rosettes were generally mounted at the top of the shoe vamp. The rosettes themselves were usually made of silk ribbon, although there are a few examples of the rosette being made of the same kid leather as the shoe. 

Met Museum. 1860-1870.

MFA. 1850s.

Make Your Shoes Life-Changing!
It is said that Marilyn Monroe observed, "Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world." 

I happen to think the same is true for rosettes! So I've created a new category in my shop for Shoe Rosettes! You can check it out by clicking here.

I create my shoe rosettes with a shoe clip on the back. This is sturdy and makes it easy to mount the rosette on your shoe. It also make it easy to move the rosettes from one pair of shoes to another. And nope, it won't scar your shoes. 

If you want to drool over some more original shoe rosettes, check out the many gorgeous examples on my Pinterest board.

And just for fun, I'll leave you with a photo of me at a friend's wedding, showing off my shoe rosettes! 

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