How NOT to Alter Vintage Shoes.



Today I woke up with a yen for some sparkly 1950s pumps. I wanted a pair after I paid a visit to a local vintage shop and found the perfect pumps only to have them be a size 8 when I wear a size 7.

I didn’t find the pumps, but I did find this monstrosity. If this is your listing, I’m not going to apologize for calling your shoe what it is. Using the word monstrosity for your “customized” shoes is doing you and your vomit worthy shoes a favor.

I guess I just can’t wrap my head around this. This person takes a beautiful pair  of 1920s shoes which seem to be in good condition and in a rare and beautiful color and then destroy them with a horrible paint job. I posted this picture on Facebook and people who love vintage are up in arms using all kinds of four letter words which is how I actually feel about these. 

Does this seller actually believe someone who is interested in 1920s shoes would prefer their shoes with hand painted skulls? I have yet to meet a vintage lover that said. “Those are great 1920s shoes, but they really need a poorly painted skull with a jester hat to make them better.”

Seriously if you want to customize your 1920s shoes, get some shoe clips! And if you want to pay $200 for a pair of shoes Ebay, get yourself a pair of Alexander Mcqueen flats, now there is a shoe that looks OK with a skull!

A better question is, why in the world would anyone in their right mind associate what looks like a horrible 1980s biker tattoo with the 1920s? Apparently this seller does, they also destroyed a pair of shoes from the 1940s and half a dozen shoes from the 1970s.



So, this brings up something with tends to be a slippery slope. Altering vintage. The above example is obviously a clear example of what not to do. What is ok? I say, if you’ve got a perfect garment on your hands, especially from pre-1970s, probably as little as possible, which means don’t paint it with skulls! If you must take up the hem (which I have to do often since I am 5’4) don’t cut the fabric, just fold it under just in case you decide to sell it and someone taller wants to buy it.

The pieces that can be altered (in my opinion) are severely damaged pieces that are not wearable or usable in their present condition. For example, I got a beautiful 1930s gown that the bottom half of it was badly stained. I shortened it to give it a new life. Another example is, if you have a piece that is faded and/or stained, there is no problem with dying it. I have just such a bathing suit from the 1930s which is waiting to come back to life.

But please, if you want to make major alterations to something, please buy or make something that is vintage inspired, there is absolutely nothing wrong with altering something that is modern, there are plenty of companies like Remix who make modern shoes, but please, if you have any kind of sanity what so ever, you won’t even destroy a pair of new shoes with a paint job such as this!


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