For a complete Gatsby female outfit corresponding to the 20’s clothing style, don’t forget the shoes! You’ve got your Roaring Twenties dress, your hairstyle, your jewelry: all that’s left is to find the shoes that will finish your look.
During the roaring twenties, women gained in freedom: you can see it in their outfit, since skirts & dresses are shortened. The shoes, until then hidden, are revealed! The silhouettes, thin and fragile, are sublimated by remarkable outfits, accessorized by shoes sometimes quite extravagant.
The shoe trends that defined 1920s fashion
The fashion of the 20’s in terms of women’s shoes is to have thick heels, straight or spike (which become thinner, but remain wide), of the same color as the rest of the shoe. “Strap-pump” : The trend of the time was for straps and T-straps on the top of the foot, the toe is closed and round, but can also be open on some models.
As for colors, the traditional black, beige, brown and white can do the trick, although at the time, shoes could be more colorful! Pastel blue, dark, pastel or dark pink, emerald green, gold, satin… The colors of the shoes were not necessarily matched with the dresses. The women wore with these shoes stockings in cotton, silk or wool, with ribs or patterns.
In short, these shoe styles can still be found today, albeit in a “retro” style. With vintage coming back into fashion, you should be able to find a pair of 20’s style shoes for your Gatsby themed party or wedding costume without worry!
20’s shoes for a perfect woman Charleston outfit
T-strap heels : sally pumps
It’s one of the trendy and iconic models of the Roaring Twenties shoes : the “t-straps” (Salomé in French, or Sally pumps, T-strap or T-bar in the UK) are heels with a strap forming a T on top of the foot. Perfect for dancing nights, they reveal as much skin as possible.
These shoes, very popular in the early twenties and then in the 1930’s, were made of different colors, with rather small heels, straight or spike heels, and round toes (except in the early 20s when it was pointed!). In short, the common point is the strap. Some shoes were sometimes covered with gems, metallic sequins or had geometric patterns.
Mary Jane shoes
Very similar to the sally pumps, Mary Jane is a Charleston shoe with only one strap on top of the foot. These shoes, with the T-straps, were the most used for dancing at the time. Comfort and summer shoes: the foot was well supported by the straps during the wild Charleston dances! Even today, similar models are sold, so it is easy to find some for your 20’s woman costume.
Some shoes also had more than one strap.
Another type of iconic roaring twenties shoes : Oxford shoes, closed shoes, were the everyday shoes for home or walking. Made of plain smooth leather, with laces, the 20’s Oxford could be of one color, or in a more sportive version with two colors (black & white generally) and the leather replaced by fabric. The more the years went by, the more these two-tone shoes evolved towards grey or other colors. The color was not only on one place of the shoe, but on the tip, or on the laces and on thin strips.
To look dressier, Oxford had higher heels, a ribbon lace and could be worn with a beautiful afternoon dress.
If, by curiosity, you want to discover other models of retro shoes for women in order to concoct a really original costume, look for the saddle shoes or the colonial pumps!
A complete woman’s outfit from the 20’s
Now that you have the shoes, don’t forget to choose your dress, your jewels, but also your hairstyle for a successful costume!