The Shoe Clip

the shoe clip

Wowzers! – from Pinterest

While the times always feel like they are changing – seriously, technology keeps us on our toes! – one thing that will never change is the need to save a little bit of money. If you’re anything like me, staying on budget is an epic quest that brings you great joy. Plus it’s just one of the many benefits of embracing a vintage fashion lifestyle: look fantastic, live sustainably, and save yourself some cold hard cash. In that spirit of “make do and mend,” let’s spend a little time with a vintage accessory that allowed women to stretch their wardrobe: the shoe clip.

You may be asking yourself – what exactly is a shoe clip? Think of it like a clip-on earring made for your shoe or the dress clip’s sassy cousin. They debuted around the 18th century, helping ladies make the most of their limited shoe collection. With each new clip you could change up the entire look of your shoe and customize it to match your ensemble. Bows, pleated fabric, and tassels were the flavor of the moment. When you consider what’s been gracing the runways as of late, you have to ask yourself if shoe taste has really changed that dramatically in the last few centuries…

Check out some awesome historical shoe clips and learn how to make your own here.

The shoe clip

A cute duo – from Pinterest

One company in particular revitalized the movement in the 1950s.  MUSI shoe clips were sold at department stores across the nation thanks to fun designs. A stroll through Ruby Lane will show you the diversity of their design efforts. While shoe clips are still being made today by other companies, MUSI clips remain highly coveted and if you want to start collecting you will find that most are signed/stamped. (See a sample of the marking here.)

Given how clever the concept is (and how ingrained it was in the minds of women everywhere) as dress fashion changed, shoe construction altered, and consumers became more affluent the clip fell out of fashion. By the 1960s one would be a bit hard-pressed to find these little gems for sale. But when you add up the years that’s still a very respectable amount of time being on top!

So what led to the shoe clips’ fall from fashion grace? Is it the fact that consumer culture by the 1960s had taken hold of us, pushing us to want more and more? Is it because accessories (like shoes) became a status symbol for women and the more unique shoes in the closet, the better? Or is it just simply because we have become predisposed to newness? Interested to hear your comments below and if you would rock some shoe clips (or already do)!


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