June 7, 2011

Women's casual footwear styles from the summer of 1959


Day 158 of Vintage 365


There is much to be said in favour of a stunning pair of heels, chicer than the day is long, exquisitely tailored and, as is so often the case with gorgeous footwear, lip-bitingly painful to wear after about thirty seconds.

Like many a vintage fashionista, I've paid my dues when it comes to logging scores of days in such shoes, however there's no rule (despite what shows like Sex in the City might have you believe) that says footwear needs to be painful to lovely or functional.

While it's jolly fun to imagine yesteryear women sashaying around town in Dior heels all the live long day, reality is that most women (perhaps even more so in the 40s and 50s then now) had a shoe wardrobe that included a good mix of practical styles, as well as shoe-stopping pairs.

In the former category, back during the summer of 1959, one could easily have found numerous pairs to love - and adorn their feet with - amongst the styles up for offer in this cheerful page from that season's Montgomery Ward catalog.


These styles - each of which could easily have been plucked from a modern day shoe store - are a testament to the fact that summertime footwear can definitely be both easy on the soles and wonderfully fashionable at the same time.

From a darling floral print kitten heel (if you don't already own a pair, I highly suggest investing in some kitten heels, they're often very easy to wear and walk in for hours on end) to chambray blue t-strap flats, fiery lipstick red slip-on deck style shoes to zigzag print wedges, all of the styles on this page would have been highly versatile choices for the fashionable woman of the late 1950s.

And nothing has changed in that regard over the last six decades. Each of these looks is still a smart buy, cheery style, and delightful way to get a lot of mileage out of your summertime shoes.

Turn to images like this great old school catalog page (which hails from Flickr user CapricornOneVintage) the next time you head out to do some vintage shoe shopping and you're bound to come home with the kind of winning styles that will look every bit as lovely today as they did in 1959.


  1. Except for a pair of wedge espadrilles I wear a lot in the summer, I've probably only worn non-flats once or twice a year for the last seven years or so (since I first realized I couldn't get around a college campus in heels). I love the "slim t-strap." I wish shoes were still $2.87!

  2. Good idea about turning to catalogs for ideas. Unfortunately for me, I have to look for retro styles in new shoes since I couldn't get half a foot into a vintage one.

  3. Thx Jessica! My blog is back to normal now. I'm lucky that it was just the one prob which was easily fixed. Sorry to hear you had all that drama to deal with. Good to hear it's all fixed.