Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Vintage style: clever clogs

Today's post is going to be about the humble clog.  Surprisingly comfortable considering the sole is completely inflexible, variations are popping up in more and more shops since last summer. In this case, I'm using the term to mean a wooden-soled shoe, rather than just the more traditional clog shape.

I looked into the history of the wooden sole and it was easy to find out that they've been around for centuries, but what was harder to pin down was their popularity in the 20th century - by which I mean pre-70s when clogs made a comeback more generally.  But then it hit me, I'd seen this in my book about 40s fashion!  War shortages meant that wood was a cheap and plentiful alternative to leather and rubber, hence wooden soled shoes were introduced based on the traditional clog, quoting from The 1940's Look by Mike Brown, a Board of Trade announcement:

'You'll soon be seeing more and more wooden-soled shoes about the place. They save rubber and leather - both badly needed for direct war purposes - and are snug, well-fitting and waterproof.'

Various images I came across confirmed the incorporation of wooden-soled sandals into everyday wear - platform heel varieties being particularly popular with pin-ups.  These styles certainly aren't the functional 'waterproof' styles mentioned above, I'm sure, but show the flirty forties having a bit of fun in rationed times.

Some of them, in fact, look just like the modern incarnations offered today by Swedish Hasbeens.

Swedish Hasbeens are pricey, but I can vouch for the good quality!  Here's my pair in pastel pink
Sky high braided Swedish Hasbeens

50s pin up sandals

A pair of high-waisted shorts, sweetheart neck vest, a hair do and red lips and you've suddenly got a nice little 50s pin-up outfit for if the sun ever makes it out long enough in England that you won't freeze a leg off walking around like this (as I write, the sun is out right now, so run!)

Technically, Swedish Hasbeens are 70s clogs - that's when the company started, that's when the styles are from, but it's all in the styling.

And if £165 is too much to spend on shoes (I cheated, I got mine for £61 in the Office sale in winter) some cheaper alternatives are out there if you look hard enough!  They really are both stylish and comfortable.


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