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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

Class Report: 1940

Class Report: 1940

Art class circa 1940. "Montgomery High School students, Maryland." Our third or fourth photo from Montgomery High. Anyone have an old yearbook from there? National Photo Company Collection safety negative. View full size.

 

Saddles are back

I think saddlebacks are coming back into fashion. I just bought a pair of all white Church's & I'm in foot heaven. They are just the most fab shoes ever & they go with everything. By no means am I a preppy dressier- think cocoon shapes, Marni style & you've an accurate picture of my look. Yet these new saddlebacks ground me, if you know what I mean, stopping me from going overboard in fashion looks. Whatever will become of my feet after Labor Day??

Saddle Shoes: A Memoir

When I was growing up in the late forties in Southern Calif. the only color combination was brown and white, both girls and boys. The next popular shoe color for girls was all-white saddles, while the boys went to a cap-toe cordovan oxford and high-top tennis shoes (like Converse). Then came the overwhelmingly popular white buck saddle. The brown-and-white combination gave way to blue-and-white saddles in the early fifties, both for boys and girls, but many of the girls stayed with the white bucks as well. I believe black and white saddle became the "default" color scheme in the early sixties, but by then they were only worn by cheer squads (boys and girls) and parochial schoolgirls; the "mod" look (e.g., go-go boots and "dressy flats worn with stockings) was in by then. Of course, there were notable exceptions, Black-and-white "slingback saddles" were worn by a few girls throughout the entire period, and "Keds" sneakers, in white and various colors, worn with rolled down socks in white or matching colors in the 50's, but by the 60's sneakers with socks were only to be seen in gym class! In the early-to-mid seventies, saddle shoes were mostly brown over tan suede, and were mostly worn by girls (again with some exceptions). I recall a brief resurgence in popularity of saddle shoes in the late seventies and early eighties, in the "preppy" and "valley girl" era, in black-and-white, as well as several other color schemes. My daughter, who was a high school cheerleader in her junior year year wore a pair of black-and-white ones, but only with her uniform.
I'm sure there are many others who recall all this entirely differently, but that's what my feeble memory conjures up after all these years. (And thanks for the sweet memories!)

I feel a musical coming on...

...the shoes, the postures, the ready positions. Any second now they're gonna jump up onto the table and start doing backflips off. Swing baby, swing. Think "Singing In The Rain" mixed up with "The Music Man." Or something.

Saddled

I'm glad to see I wasn't the only kid pleading for black-and-white saddle shoes in the '80s (also to eventually get them and outgrow them all too soon). My mom, however, hated them, saying how ugly they were and that she had been forced to wear them as a child when she desperately wanted pretty girly things and couldn't understand why I wouldn't just wear a nice "modern" pair of tennis shoes.

Shoo-Shoo Baby

Oh, how I begged for saddle shoes as a kid in the '80's! I did eventually get them, but outgrew them after only a few months. They were the only "good" shoes I had as a kid, for that very reason. I think I must have hit a soft spot with Mom, because she had wanted them so badly as a girl in the '50's, but had to make do with her brother's hand-me-downs.

I imagine that there weren't as many choices out there for these middle-class kids during the war years. Unless you lived in a big city, there wouldn't have been as many shoe stores in town, and they would have had limited stock.

Saddle Shoe Smorgy

Another handsome color combination that was popular on the West Coast was "oxblood" (a deep reddish brown) and cream, which the snottier kids in my high school called "Liver and Lard."

Love them saddles!

I wore saddle shoes in high school in the late '70s. They were tan with dark blue saddles, and I loved them. I don't know if they were fashionable, but they were comfortable and versatile - they worked with skirts or pants. I bet none of these gals ever twisted an ankle in their sensible saddle shoes.

Second from Left

The girl second from the left in the back row is lovely, in spite of her having been caught with a funny expression. I want to go back in time now.

Re: Saddle Colors

From what I've seen in trying to find my "perfect" pair, brown was one of the most popular colours. The ones in this photo look to be brown and cream. Blue and cream was most popular for men in the 40s and 50s. It seems that the black on white became the standard in the late 50s with the other colours falling by the wayside. Of course, these combos weren't the only ones available. I've found a lovely pair of tan suede with brown saddle and recently saw that a shoemaker has black with hot pink saddles available!

Saddle colors

Does anyone know about the color of the saddle part of the saddle shoe and whether what was "in" varied from place to place or over time? I recall in the '50s, at least where I was in 6th grade in New Jersey, it had to be brown, though the shoes also came with black and even blue saddles, both of which were very uncool. Polishing the things was a chore -- that white liquid polish always seemed to slurp over onto the colored part.

Heart of Dorkness

Saddle shoes were still somewhat popular but well on their way out when I was in high school in the mid-1960s in San Diego. Locally nicknamed "squad cars," they were too much the fashion choice of our older sisters and mothers to hold much appeal for the more progressive girls in my school. Girls who wore squad cars and boys who wore dark socks with shorts and tennis shoes were looked upon as hopelessly dorky by Those in the Know. Are today's kids as merciless? Probably, about other such stuff.

Twins

The twins are dressed alike! I wonder if they did that for the photo or if they actually dressed alike every day?

2 plus 2

Maybe there are two sets of twins.

Saddle Shoes n Bobby Sox

Pretty much the standard bobby-soxer footwear all through the 1940s and into the 50s. ("Frankie!!") All they need are the sox.

Yes, what IS up with saddle shoes?

Saddle shoes maintained some popularity throughout, at least, my childhood in the early 80's. I remember begging my mom for a pair from Stride Rite every time we went to the mall - but their being a high quality shoe made from leather, we could never afford it.

I finally bought my saddle shoes around 1998. The "swing revival" made everything old new again. They were Arizona brand from (I think) Sears. At $65, they were the most expensive pair of shoes I had at the time and I had to save up for them.

By now I've bought so many shoes that my mother now jokes and calls me "Miss Marcos" - but no pair means as much to me as those saddle shoes. What was fashion then now serves me well as a WW2 Living Historian. They have become a trademark of sorts and everyone asks, "Where did you get those great shoes?!"

Saddle Shoes and Twins

One can see clearly that "still waters run deep" just by looking into the faces of these proufoundly serious kids. The identical twins in the corner look a lot like the girl in the dark dress on the left of them, I'd bet it is a sister. Wonder if any of these obedient teens ever became famous artists. Thank you for this photo from someone who wanted to be an artist but did not have the required talent.

What's up with saddle shoes?

Not to obsess....well maybe just a bit...but whatever happened with saddle shoes? More than half of the girls are wearing them in this picture. Sure must have made dressing easy 'hmmm what shoes with this? Oh! I know how about my saddle shoes?'

When did they become so popular? When did they lose their cachet? Is it time for a revival?

 
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