Today, you probably wouldn’t even blink an eye if you saw a woman wearing masculine brogue shoes and a classic fit suit with a tie below her neck. However, years ago, you certainly wouldn’t have been able to go out in public with a style like this. In fact, such a style was still considered shocking at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th as clothing etiquette rules for women were extremely strict. At that time, women were still wearing long dresses, heavy and uncomfortable underskirts, and extremely tight corsets. The footwear was extremely narrow and wrapped around the foot, the sole was slim and elegant and the heel was an absolute must for women’s footwear. Who would have ever believed that one day, women would put their small feet in militaristic shoes with a rugged sole and thick leather?
The male fashion invasion of the woman's closet was a long process, which was greatly influenced by the political and economic situation in the world. The public movement for the equal rights of women, new inventions, and wars changed the way of life and the image of a woman in the family and society.
The first signs of change in a women's wardrobe occurred in 1850, when Amelia Bloomer, a prominent women's rights activist, spoke out against uncomfortable and restricting clothes. Encouraging women to quit narrow corsets and extremely heavy underskirts, she began the fashion of extra wide shorts. The shorts, which were lower than knee-length, looked like a skirt but did not cover the feet. This undoubtedly influenced footwear fashion but the process was much slower. Inspired by traditional Turkish dresses, Amelia shorts were named Bloomer shorts and have become a symbol of the movement for women's rights. The then-first feminists Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were the first women to be brave enough to wear such clothing.
Bloomer shorts for women
The biggest breakthrough in the female closet was during World War 1 when men left for war and women not only took over all household work but started working outside the house as well. Puffy and heavy maxi dresses were replaced by straight cut skirts. Fashion became simpler and acquired some traits of male fashion. Women began to view their closets more seriously because their clothes now had to be simpler and had to allow free movements in order to ensure a comfortable and safe working experience. The heel of footwear became smaller and smaller, laces became common, the nose became rounder, and the shape of the shoes became rougher.
Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel was one of the most influential female style icons who completely transformed the history of women’s fashion. She was the designer who simplified the feminine style and reduced the gap between the wardrobes of men and women. After rebelliously rejecting women’s fashion of that time, she began creating genderless unisex fashion. Strict shapes and a masculine silhouette, elegant suits, tweed blazers and pants that were only worn at factories or while performing other complicated work during the interwar period. However, Chanel was the one to turn pants into fashionable clothing and not long after, all fashion divas and icons, such as Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn and Katharine Hepburn, began wearing pants.
Designer Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel began creating genderless unisex fashion
In 1939, in the fashion magazine Vogue, a famous illustration was published of a woman showing off her long, loose pants. The illustration featured the editor's commentary on this new feminine fashion: pants that were undoubtedly inspired by men’s fashion but fitted for women according to their needs and desired colors and materials. However, it’s worth mentioning that the etiquette of when pants may be worn and how they should look was mentioned in the article. In one rule, it was mentioned that the style of the pants should not be masculine but rather as feminine as possible. So, women were able to wear what they wanted as long as it fit the style of Stepford wives and satisfied their husbands. Stepford wives were post-war housewives with a bright wardrobe highlighting their figures. These women couldn’t possibly wear masculine-style shoes, they prioritized high heels. However, a group of women in London who called themselves the Teddy Girls rejected this feminine fashion and chose masculine-style clothes and flat shoes instead. The era of Stepford wives didn’t last long. With the increasing number of working women, in the 60s and 70s, new laws were adopted which equalized labor rights and remuneration. So the gap between men and women was reduced and masculine suits in a woman’s closet were no longer considered a rebellious political statement. This was the time of a free and independent woman and the end of strict and binding etiquette standards.
Women's pants fashion
Halmanera model and Vogue magazine
This season, rough ankle boots, militaristic combat boots, and oxfords are dominant. The massiveness of the shape is considered one of the most important aspects, proportions and textures are being played with. This provides the visually rough and masculine style some elegance and femininity. This type of footwear predominates in: ,,Fru.it”, ,,Laura Bellariva”, ,,Moma”, ,,O.X.S”, ,,Vic Matie”, ,,Halmanera”, ,,Premiata”, ,,Fiori Francesi” models.
In the Vic Matie collection, a massive and thick sole, different textures and details are dominant. This is a great addition to masculine-style pants or a thick wool jacket. The more elegant models feature a pointed nose and pony fur.
Vic Matie models
Vic Matie models
Vic Matie models
The selection of Pomme D'Or and Fru.it shoe textures this season is almost endless. Lacquered leather, velour, split leather, and extra-soft calfskin which is even used in the production of gloves. The rubber sole creates massive shapes, while the dark shades will have you hooked- this is the footwear of a strong and independent woman.
Pomme D’Or models
Whether it’s oxford-style shoes or lace-up shoes, the texture of the leather and the details provide the sense of femininity. No matter the occasion or situation, such footwear will create a positive image of you.
Laura Bellariva models
Clothing and footwear that constrained women for many centuries have finally been replaced by comfortable fashion. Fashion that does not restrain you but rather frees you and highlights your personality. Free and independent. The trend of feminine masculinity. Not only is it comfortable but it also doesn’t leave the must-have and trend lists, providing women with the sense of elegance, drive, and freedom. Such footwear is ideal for various occasions, is easily matched with different outfits and undoubtedly highlights your style.
All mentioned designers and their brands can be found here: DOLITASHOES.COM