Thanks to Johanna for this great post at A Dance In Time.
Accessorizing for the Ball is one of the loveliest parts of the Ball preparation! Finding those little items that make for the perfect finishing touch is simply thrilling. There is no other way to describe. It is ever so enjoyable.
Shall we talk about it?
Let us begin with our footwear… what on earth would be historically accurate but still comfortable for dancing???
To a dance or social, the ladies wore pointed or boxy-toed pumps that had sturdy little heels. They also wore dainty little ballet slippers. The pumps and ballet slippers usually had an embellishment of some kind that matched their ballgown. A bow, a flower, a ruffle, embroidery, etc.
Below you see the pointed toe and the boxy toe. Also notice feminine, curved heel.
Aren’t these so unique and delightful?!!!
As you can probably guess, to find a basic pump with the perfect heel and toe can be quite expensive. The only way of finding the perfect historic pump would be through a reproduction company. Which… yes, can be quite pricey.
So, what are the options? I say, go for the ballet slipper! You can find a simple, comfortable ballet slipper from a shoe store near you. Make sure the shoe fits well and will be comfortable for dancing. If you are afraid it might come off, find one with an elastic strap (or one with ballerina ribbons like this one) or sew one on yourself. Then, you have the thrill of decorating the shoe! Little flowers, a bow, ribbon- oh! there’s just so much you can do! I am very much looking forward to decorating my slippers for this ball.
A few 1860’s shoe embellishments…
However, the boots worn on the streets were different from boots worn to a Ball. Evening boots were usually white or the same color as your dress. They were kid, satin, or silk. If you can find white or cream boots at a shoe store, wonderful! But if not, black or brown work well too and are just as fun to dance in!
One more thing, it’s best if the heel on the boot is not very high. Due to the active dance steps you do all night long, a high heel can be very painful. But then again, if you are used to dancing in a high heel, go for it!
[Let me share a little secret to encourage you… for our very first Ball, we made a trip to Goodwill to see what we could find for shoes. We found some old fashioned looking, brown, boots for two of my sisters! I ended up wearing some ballet flats I had, and Mom found some boots on sale at a shoe store. To this day, we still wear those shoes to the Ball. Hey! They work! Hopefully by next year, we will have decorated slippers for all the girls, and retire the brown boots for 1860’s day-wear. But, they have served their purpose wonderfully! But I wanted to encourage you to feel free to start small and find something that will work, and then work up to being historic.]
So, there you have my long-winded section on historic shoes. Wait… was I supposed to be brief Emma? Dear me. I hope you have enjoyed reading, I hope you have learned much, and are now hopping away to your closet, very inspired to excited to see what you may find!
I was hoping to give you information on all the details of a southern belle’s accessories this year. But, due to our own preparation, my time is very limited. So, I hope to join you again next year and share more!
Looking forward to continuing our lovely conversation….