An Excuse For Colored Shoes In The Regency

Volare Digital Capture
Evening Dress. 1812. UK.

Isn’t this a cute fashion plate??? My favorite thing about it is her bright red shoes! My second favorite thing is that her bright red shoes match her red bodice! So cute!

First, this makes me want to wear colored shoes to a Regency ball. Often you see black or white in fashion plates, and our dance troupe tends to wear white to perform and also to balls out of habit, so without even thinking about it I usually pull out the neutral colored shoes… BUT! Extant shoes come in all sorts of colors, although maybe not quite as bright as these red ones. You can see some of them on my pinterest page here: Shoes: 1790-1829.

Second, that red bodice reminds me of this one that Natalie Garbett made for the HSF. Is it possible that this red one, like Natalie’s, is a separate piece from the dress? That would allow for more wardrobe options, certainly. I’m going to go on the assumption that it is, and congratulate this young lady in the fashion plate for being so coordinated and versatile in her wardrobe.

Separate bodice by Natalie Garbett. Lots of research information about this style on her blog: here.

So… I’ve got a new dress to wear to an upcoming Regency ball that doesn’t really need a separate bodice to jazz it up. Do we think I can wear I can wear fun colored shoes without a separate bodice? I think probably yes, given that there are lots of extant colored shoes and I know of other images that show colored shoes. And now I have an excuse to wear colored shoes with a white dress! Fun! Maybe I need to make a separate bodice, too?

8 thoughts on “An Excuse For Colored Shoes In The Regency

  1. Beautiful find! And yes, the slippers often have been quite colourful back then. I very much love a pink striped pair on a fashion plate in “Napoleon & the Empire of Fashion”. But as period reproduction slippers often aren’t available for a bargain, it’s easier to get a white or black pair to match almost all dresses…and modern ballerina flats (as alternative) often lack a wide range of colours, too…:(
    I think the dress above has no seperate bodice, because there are so many things matching the skirt (the golden decoartion on the hems)?! However if you’re going to wear red slippers you could also have a red ribbon in the hair or a turban…or a red reticule…or coral neck lace…or a bow attached to the bodice…btw, can’t wait to see your red shoes! Photos, please 🙂


    1. Ooo, Sabine, good catch. I posted this in a hurry, so I didn’t look at all the details very closely, but I think you’re right, and that this particular bodice is actually part of the dress.

      Those are all great color coordinating ideas as well. You’ve got me thinking, now, about what to do with my hair for the ball!

      You can see pictures of my red velvet flats in this older post: They have a rounded toe, so I’m not sure they would look quite right for Regency, and they might look odd with my red dress (it’s a different shade of red), so we’ll see what I’ll wear for the ball. But I also have a blue pair that, now that I’m thinking about it, I think I’ll wear for a ball in February with a soon-to-be finished blue underdress and white overdress. More to come on that soon! You’ve inspired me!

  2. Oh, that bodice you shared pictures of is gorgeous! I love the fashion plate, and I certainly think that colored Regency shoes area good idea. Shoes really make or break the outfit, and one can hardly ever have too many slippers to choose from…

    Happy sewing!

  3. I love the look of brightly colored shoes with a white gown, with matching accesories. My favorite outfit so far has been my white gown with a pair of bright red shoes I purchased from Zappos that frankly, give a very good Regency impression. My fancy-dress and dance shoes are a crackly silver that also give a very good period impression (also bought at Zappos), although the color itself isn’t so dramatic.
    And I made a silk dupioni sleeveless spencer awhile ago in ivory that just looks too bland, so I’m going to overdye it to a pretty shade of raspberry or a similar color. It’ll be a great addition to vary the look of my white gown as well as my flowered ones.
    The little white dress is such a great background for pretty and fun accessories!

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