Kedettes Shoe Ad, July 1938

Full page advertisement for Kedettes shoes for women and girls. McCall's Magazine, July 1938.

Full page advertisement for Kedettes shoes for women and girls. McCall’s Magazine, July, 1938.

I paid $2.99 for a battered copy of McCall’s magazine, July, 1938 issue, and definitely got my money’s worth just from this full color Kedettes advertisement on the inside back cover.  “25 styles (6 for children) 22 color combinations. At the better stores — $1.65 to $2.50. Children’s lower.”

prices 500 dpi

I’ll break the ad up into many smaller images with legible text size. In the background, there are black & white sketches of women boating, holding a tennis racquet, and walking a dog.

Top of Page, Kedettes shoe ad, McCall's, July 1938.

Top of Page, Kedettes shoe ad, McCall’s, July, 1938.

Bottom of page, Kedettes shoe ad, McCall's, July 1938.

Bottom of page, Kedettes shoe ad, McCall’s, July, 1938.

The first thing that caught my eye was the floral print open-toed shoe in the center, but then I became fascinated by the colorful striped soles on five of the shoes:  so much more fun than many shoes I see today! Starting at top left of the page:

"Girls' Kedettes moccasin oxfords -- they're just like mother's and the soles are striped like stick candy." 1938 ad.

“Girls’ Kedettes moccasin oxfords — they’re just like mother’s and the soles are striped like stick candy.” 1938 ad.

“Of course little girls adore their Kedettes moccasin oxfords — they’re just like mother’s and the soles are striped like stick candy. Made of whipcord twill and peachskin, they come all white; white with blue; and red, blue, or brown with white. They’re washable.”

The green shoes below are described as “subject to change” — they have removable flaps:

Kedettes Swiss oxfords with removable flaps. Ad, 1938

Kedettes Swiss oxfords with removable flaps. Ad, 1938

“Subject to change are Kedettes peachskin Swiss oxfords [above right].  Minus their removable flaps, they become trimly tailored bluchers and show off their perforated vamps. All white; white with blue, red, or green; and blue or brown with white. Thick, square-edged soles and wedge heels.”

Kedettes ghillies with a choice of heels and candy striped soles. Ad, 1938.

Kedettes ghillies with a choice of college or wedge heels and candy striped soles. Ad, 1938.

This ghillie style was available in a wide range of colors and with a choice of heel heights: wedge (low) or college (this mid-heel). Several of the shoes pictured come in a range of color combinations and also with either low or mid-heels, which accounts for there being just eight illustrations for twenty-five styles. This ghillie was also available in white with blue or green trim; or brown, blue, or red with white trim, like the blue version pictured.

Near the top center of the ad was this simple white shoe:

All white "comfortable, conservative, and charming" blucher oxford  cloth shoe from Kedettes, 1938.

All white, “comfortable, conservative, and charming” blucher oxford whipcord cloth shoe from Kedettes, 1938. Cuban heel only.

In the middle of the page was this eye-catching summer shoe:

Flowered open-toe oxford washable cloth shoe with Cuban heel, from Kedettes ad, 1938.

Flowered, open-toe, oxford style washable cloth shoe with Cuban heel, from Kedettes ad, 1938.

“Flowers on the feet for astonishing color accent, thanks to Kedettes printed open-toe oxfords, designed to dramatize the demure and dainty summer costume. Made of a fine mercerized broadcloth that’s easy to wash, they come with white, blue, or red binding. Cuban heels.” What fun! and you could coordinate the binding to a solid colored red, white, or blue dress.

A dashing shoe available in two different heel heights was this oxford for “spectator sports.”

Perforated oxfords for spectator sports, made in a wide range of colors and with low or mid-heels. Kedettes ad, 1938.

Perforated oxfords for spectator sports, made in a wide range of colors and with low or mid-heels. Kedettes ad, 1938.

Peachskin must have been a specific cloth used by Kedettes, since it appears often in shoes described as washable. “Perforations, stripes, and pipings join in triple accent on Kedettes peachskin oxfords for spectator sports. And being Kedettes, they wash beautifully. All white; white with blue or red; and blue or brown with white [like the illustration] in college and wedge heel models. White with green, wedge heels only.”

In other words, white with green had “wedge heels only” because it was this shoe, without the removable flap! (With the flap, it reminds me of a golf shoe, without spikes.)

green swiss oxfords alone

These two shoes were shown at the lower left of the ad:

The blue and white shoe is a "moccasin oxford" and the red and white shoe is called a "peasant tongue oxford." Kedettes ad, 1938.

The blue and white shoe (right) is a “moccasin oxford” and the red and white shoe is called a “peasant tongue oxford.” Kedettes ad, 1938.

“Some wear them dark, some wear them light — Kedettes moccasin oxfords [above right] are summer favorites. All white; white with blue, green or red; and blue, brown or red with white in both college and wedge heel models. Green with white; brown with yellow; and red, white and blue — college heels only. Wedge heel models have candy striped soles. [At lower left:] Peachskin flaps, stitched to reflect candy striped soles, supply the big interest in Kedettes peasant tongue oxfords of whipcord twill…. Wedge heels. White with red or blue trim; blue with white trim. Washable.”

Kedettes shoes were made by the United States Rubber Company, as far back as 1916, according to The Vintage Traveler. (Lizzie, this post’s for you — I hope you find some of these for your collection!)

I wrote about a 1917  Keds ad — for a surprisingly modern looking flat with a bow on the toe — here.

You can see more vintage Kedettes ads at the Vintage Inn blog. Click here.

Shoe Prices 1938

Note:  These attractive Kedettes were very reasonably priced, and I suspect that, being cloth shoes, most of them were worn out by their owners. (I.e., they’re they kind of everyday fashions not likely to show up in museums.)  In 1936, several sources agreed that a young woman college graduate could expect to earn about $18 to $20 per week. The same 1938 McCall’s magazine that ran this Kedettes ad ran another, for Royal Baking Soda, that said, “You can’t afford baking failures when you’re raising a family on $25 a week.” (McCall’s, July 1938, page 54. )

Rivals to Kedettes

Summer sports shoes from the Sears catalog were even cheaper, and, in some cases, very similar — except that they were not described as washable, and styles and colors were far more limited:

Summer shoes from Sears catalog, Spring 1938, catalog p. 292.

Summer shoes from Sears catalog, Spring 1938, catalog p. 292.

The Sears descriptions for those shoes — half the price of Kedettes — usually say “crepe-like soles,” but this pair — very like Kedettes and priced comparably — have “crepe rubber soles and heel:”

Sears' Convertible Oxford, very like Kedettes, but these only come in white, brown, and gray.

Sears’ Convertible Oxford, very like Kedettes, but these only come in white, brown, and gray.

 

 

 

 

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8 Comments

Filed under 1930s, 1930s-1940s, Children's Vintage styles, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Shoes, Sportswear

8 responses to “Kedettes Shoe Ad, July 1938

  1. Wow, an education in shoe styles! I love many of those kedettes and would wear them today! I’ve never seen a striped sole before.

  2. Ultrawoman

    These shoes would truly last at least a couple of years if worn every day!!!

  3. I’d happily add any of those Keds (or even the Sears versions) to my collection. Old sports shoes are very difficult to find. I do have a pair of Keds from 1922 that I lucked into.

    Interesting, I’ve never seen this ad, but I have a photo photocopied from a 1938 magazine in which the brown and white peachskin shoes in your ad are shown in the all white version. It’s in my file of things I need from the late 1930s!

  4. nancy N

    Those blucher oxfords I CRAVE! Wow what a fun style! My mom wore t-straps with little ankle sox in 1938 when she was in high school.
    Yes indeed, American Duchess could really go to town with these!
    Nancy N

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