By 1914, skirts might have very narrow hems of 44 or 45 inches — (Lay that out in a circle with a tape measure and imagine walking with that restriction on your ankles.) Some skirts had slits or a curved hem to permit a natural stride.
Feet — and stockings — could be a focal point. It’s no surprise that stockings and shoes got more attention.
Delineator magazine, which had offices in Paris and London as well as New York City, reported on couture designs every month and aimed at an upper-middle-class reader. But it’s hard to imagine those snake stockings on the wife of a small-town American businessman or politician!
This was also an era of fabulous shoe buckles. (They clipped on to evening pumps and were purely decorative.) I inherited this pair of shoe clips from my aunt (and sold them!)
This photo of the backs shows the sliding fastener that clipped the buckle to the shoe.
As shown in these photos from Delineator, shoe clips could take many forms, even an owl, or a butterfly.
[An embroidered shoe and an embroidered stocking: overkill?]
The embroidered shoe at the right, with straps that extend up the ankle, is a “cothurne” or “tango slipper.” The straps keep it from flying off if you kick up your heels during the dance.
A lace-up shoe called the cothurnus was worn by the ancient Greeks and especially by actors performing while wearing masks. The built-up sole of the performers’ cothurni added to the stature of actors, making them appear larger than ordinary humans.
The dance called the tango was just becoming popular, along with the afternoon dance, called the “thé dansant” in French. (I just read an article about them in Delineator, May 1914 — written by Irene Castle.)