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1914-18 • Ladies Shoes- Wide Ribbon Laces

You may see these slightly flamboyant shoelaces, in photographs taken during the Great War
Ladies shoelaces

It is usually the younger men and women who because of financial restraints choose minor additions or adaptions to their clothing.The reason for this was the same as it is today, simply they wish to comply with the conventions of their friends and associates. Today we would call this "Street Style".

People still travelled mostly on foot and so outdoor footwear was still sturdy. Laced ankle boots were still worn by some women and most children. The majority of outdoor footwear was still welted. This is where the shoe upper is attached to the thick leather inner sole by stitching through a strip of leather called a welt.The outer sole can then be nailed to the inner sole producing a strong if heavy shoe. Shoes with sturdy soles were needed. Footwear was expensive and had to be strong ,watertight and long lasting.
During the Great War, for reasons which are simple to deduce, skirts began to clear the ground.
Thus shoe uppers were on permanent display. In photographs you will see four,six or eight hole laced shoes with two or three inch heels. The uppers have little variantion although often part of the vamp may be canvas. Personally I do not think this was a wartime economy, as it often is.
Look closely and you will often see unnecessarily wide ribbon laces tied in an exaggerated pretty bow, especially on younger women.These I imagine were added to any pair of shoes by the wearer.
A typical inexpensive piece of "Street Style" from the Great War ; worth noting.

In the next decade bar-strap and T-bar ladies shoes replaced these heavy welted lace-ups.

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Wide flat Laces were worn on ladies shoes from Edwardian times so should not on their own be used for dating a photograph.