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Butterfly Princess: 1900

Butterfly Princess: 1900

"Fischer, Mrs. J.F. (child). Between February 1894 and February 1901." 5x7 glass negative from the C.M. Bell portrait studio in Washington, D.C. View full size.


Fashion as chaos

High button shoes were not limited to the younger set; both men and women often wore them in late Victorian times. Without the now-arcane buttonhook, getting dressed would have been truly an ordeal.

Interestingly, in the Edwardian era, when men's high button shoes were made unfashionable by lace-up Oxfords, (both high and low cut), true dandies responded by covering their ankles with spats, themselves fastened with buttons, and that affectation continued in the upper social classes well into the 1930s.

high button shoes

My mother, born in 1926, wore shoes like that when she was a toddler. I don't know if they were still common then or if it was because she had a weak ankle when she was little. We had a pair of the shoes in a box - brown leather and six pearl buttons. Can you imagine trying to put those on a wiggling toddler?

Six buttons

The legs on that sweet thing look like sausages because those shoes are so tight above the ankle. But she seems happy enough.

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