Women's Shoes

At the beginning of this period most women were wearing boots and cloth topped shoes. By 1885, however, shoes predominated again, though boots were still worn by many, especially for driving.
Shoes could be very high cut throughout the 1890’s. The oxford or Richelieu was laced or fastened with three buttons, coming up to the ankle.

Men's Shoes

The toes of men’s footwear were one of the few things that changed throughout this period. In 1885, there was a change to a pointed toe, but only seven years later, broad toes came back into fashion. Finally, by 1906, men were offered a variety of styles. Pointed, rounded or oval toes were all available for sale to the fashionable man.

Manufacture and Materials

It is during this period in which the fashion influence of the world began to shift from Europe. The nouveaux riches in the United States began setting trends in dress and footwear that were exported to England and the European continent.

Sombre colours remained popular for both men’s and women’s footwear at the beginning of this period.

Dress

This period began as rigid and restrictive in both dress and nature. Though this appeared to continue on in this manner until the beginning of the First World War, one can see a marked lightening in line and texture at the beginning of the new century.

Men’s fashions changed only slightly throughout the entire period, primarily in the area of casual and sport clothing.

1870-1914

With the industrial revolution in full swing, the shift from an agrarian to an urban industrial economy was nearly complete by the beginning of this period. The lower levels of society were faced with poverty, crowding and the insecurity of urban living. This led the way to the first attempts to establish labour unions as a means for regulating pay and hours in factories.

Boots

Boots were exceedingly popular for both men and women throughout this period. For men, the Hessian disappeared to be replaced by the

Women's Shoes

It is during this period that women’s shoe styles finally came to vary more than the men’s. Women had a greater choice of style, colour, heel, and toe shape for every occasion.

Men's Shoes

At the beginning of this period, the oval toe was still popular, but was being rivalled by the square toe, which became dominant after 1825. This toe is shallow until the 1850’s when they became deeper, offering greater comfort and practicality. The toe spring was also made extraordinarily high, and lasted until the late 1850’s, when it was retained only on labourers’ boots.

Manufacture and Materials

The footwear of this period varied more than can be seen in any preceding years. Boots and shoes were fashionable for both men and women and the shapes of toes and heels varied not only from year to year, but many basic styles were fashionable concurrently.

Dress

For the first half of this period, the fashion of the period borrowed heavily from the past and the Orient. This was more easily done with women’s dress, but even in men’s costume one saw padded shoulders and chests, pinched waistlines, and padded hips that gave the fashionable gentleman the same hourglass figure so admired in the female.