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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Becoming Laura~ 1860’s/70’s Shoes, Stockings and Gloves

I bought a pair of red button up boots as part of my “Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder” ensemble. 

What?! Is that even historically accurate?

Putting on a pair of Gandees Rubbers protective boots with the aid of a button…:

Because there are only black and white photos depicting the 1860’s/70’s most individuals think of our ancestors as wearing only neutral colored shoes.

I'd wear those today. vintage victorian shoes:

Of course a good many people did wear plain shoes but bright color options also existed.Victorian High Button Boots, Rare Red Color, 1860S Size 5 | eBay:

Adults as well as children wore colored shoes and boots.

Shoe-Icons / Shoes / Red and Black Baby Button Shoes with Tassel. 1860-80:

It was primarily individuals of the middle and upper classes who chose colored shoes and boots.

~c. 1860-1880 boots~:

There are several sites that offer good reproduction footwear for this era. Many offer custom options. Since I was creating a costume on a budget I settled for these red and black “pleather” button boots I found on Ebay for $30.

Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder 323

Of course you can also see the stockings I opted to wear. 

Stockings worn in this era also make us tend to think in simple terms of plain black and white.

But stockings came in a wide variety of colors and patterns. They could be worn just under the knee, over the knee and mid thigh. They were held in place with garters.

Stockings could be made from polished cotton (known as lisle), linen, wool and silk, if you were wealthy .

There was even a “Blue Stocking Society”. The Blue Stocking Society was an informal social and educational movement for women that began in England in the mid-18th century

The term was later used to describe educated women.

Victorian Ladies Bright Blue Silk Seam Thigh High Garter Stockings Socks.:

My favorite stockings tend to be the happy striped stockings.

It is a bit difficult to find photographs of adults wearing stockings because it simply wasn’t socially acceptable to show ones ankles/legs. Indeed this photo is of a… ahem… lady of the evening. Scandalous!


It is easier to find children wearing such stockings.

The loving protection and embrace of a big sister...:

Antique Victorian Photo, Pretty Little Girl in Checkered Dress and Striped Stockings:

Striped stockings:

I opted to wear white open lacework stockings as this is what Laura Ingalls Wilder described Aunt Docia as wearing in Little House in the Big Woods. “Then they pulled on their beautiful white stockings, that they had knit of fine cotton thread in lacy, openwork patterns, and they buttoned up their best shoes.”

My stockings were purchased in Germany over 15 years ago.

Now onto gloves. Up until the 1950’s women would wear gloves while in public.

Indeed one of my favorite authors, Louis May Alcott, wrote a delightful exchange between Meg and Jo in Little Women.

“You must have gloves, or I won't go, cried Meg decidedly. Gloves are more important than anything else. You can't dance without them, and if you don't I should be so mortified.”

Miss Alcott is shown below with her gloves ala Jo.

Louisa May Alcott. Not only an inspiration due to her writing, but for her stance as an abolitionist and feminist.:

Leather gloves were available in a variety of colors. Kidskin was preferred for its softness and flexibility.

Dennis A. Waters Fine Daguerreotypes:

Crochet and knit gloves or mitts (fingerless gloves) were also popular. They also came in several colors but women tended to favor darker colors as they didn’t soil as quickly.

Dennis A. Waters Fine Daguerreotypes:

They were worn by girls and women of all ages.

mother and daughters:

You can find numerous patterns for crocheted gloves online. Gloves can also be found at thrift stores, ebay and etsy. I found several pairs at various estate sales. These gloves were originally a cream color. They were easily dyed with liquid Rit dye in navy.

(Because some of you may ask, the purse is a Victorian hand beaded bag that belonged to my mother Karen. )

Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder 070

Next week I will share petticoats and men's fashions.



Manu said...

Thanks for this interesting post!
Have a nice day

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Oh so pretty and so interesting too. You really do always go into such amazing detail.

Rita C. said...

I am so taken by these old photographs you've found in your research, Laura! As a collector of antique purses (how sweet that you have your mother's beaded reticule!), the photo of the two women in gloves with cloth reticule is rare! It appears to date from the mid 1800s, and not only is it rare because there is a purse pictured, but did you notice the seated woman's hand appears to be a prosthetic?! Correct me if my observation is wrong, as I couldn't enlarge for detail. That's amazing. Your costume will also be amazing, given all this detail!

Katie Mansfield said...

I love this. I think the glove wearing is great idea. My hands would have stayed younger looking. said...

So many interesting details. Love all the old photos.

GSGreatEscaper said...

The glove wearing custom lasted longer than the 1950s. I was not allowed (by my mother) to give up wearing gloves to go to town (downtown Boston) until 1967! That was also the year the first 'head shop' appeared on Temple Place, I think it was. That's the street where Bronson Alcott had his school which caused such controversy in the 1830s!

Bloggymom said...

Still wish we wore gloves. I have found some really elegant ones at antique stores. I was born in the wrong era. :)

Linda said...

This is all so very interesting and cool!! So much research went into this piece - you're always amazing, Laura. :)


Lynn Bean said...

Great information! I learned something about the color of the boots. Very interesting!

Jeanie said...

This is terrific! I love your boots -- you'll get mileage out of those in a number of ways. The socks and gloves are fabulous. I'm so excited to see how this all turns out together.

And I was looking back at the last post, too, and noticed on the book cover that Garth Williams did the illustrations. He was one of my favorite children's book illustrators of all time and seeing that made me smile!

Stacey said...

This is so interesting, Laura. Believe it or not, my grandmother was born in 1896 and I remember her having shoes like that in her closet. Never saw her wear them but she had them..hers were black. If I were in the time period, I'd definitely choose red shoes. :)

Christine said...

These are some of my very favorite posts... history and your well, thought out outfits.
Anxiously waiting and looking forward to the rest of this series.

lynn cockrell said...

Amazing! These are great finds. You're going to look terrific, Laura!

Daniela said...

My Wonderful Lady,
I'm so grateful to you for another post about the topics I so love, they charme me since ever ... and more and more !!!

Sending blessings of joy across the many miles,
with utmost gratitude

Xx Dany