It’s time to get
dressed in the morning, and in a completely
unexpected twist, you have no choice but to wear snow boots
feels like the 100th consecutive day. But, as we grow
increasingly bitter over February’s frostbite, let's not forget that plenty of other fascinating footwear options exist. Here to help us fantasize about
chaussures past is Rebecca Shawcross
the shoe resources officer at Northampton Museum’s The Shoe Collection
world’s largest heritage shoe collection.
Released this January, her book, SHOES:
An Illustrated History
, provides a stunning visual timeline
to contemporary styles — some so bizarre you'll rethink your whole idea of what's "ugly
always served a practical and fantastical
purpose, and Shawcross’ text
demonstrates how shifting notions of taste have affected fabrics and shapes over time.
In just a few years, shoe trends could go from an exaggerated pointed-toe heel, to a simple leather slip-on, to sandals with a million straps. And, while the weather is
arguably the most powerful dictator of our footwear decisions at the moment, Shawcross
reminds us that socio-economic status was once a key determinant. Much like hemlines and haircuts, shoes have
always been signifiers of cultural change, and this book digs into that a bit deeper.
can be purchased on Amazon
, but keep reading for a sampling of the footwear featured. While
we admit that most of these styles wouldn’t stand a chance against Manhattan’s
sludgy sidewalks, their unique flair and rich history are enough to at least momentarily rid our minds of the winter chills.