Resources / Centuries and Decades / 1840-1870


Fashion trends in the second half of the nineteenth century.

The machine-made production was a remarkable achievement of the American industry in the second half of the nineteenth century, resulting in availability of huge quantity of relatively good footwear. Nevertheless, English footwear made to order with a fine dressed leather, remained the best. Just as English wool in clothes, these made to order shoes, became the standard of quality.

Introduction of front lacing half boots with the closed instep, which were named balmoral, was an important event in footwear fashion of the second half of the 19th century. This type of footwear was called after the name of the castle Balmoral, built by the spouse of Queen Victoria Prince Albert (1819-1861) approximately in 1853. The name of the castle - a royal residence in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, from now on became equivalent to anything new and elegant.

From the middle of century any boots with front lacing on the instep, started to be called Oxfords. Black or yellowy-brown leather boots were worn in winter, and oxfords - in summer. Later oxfords started to be worn in winter accompanied with leggings or gaiters. Black patent pump remained to the choice for the elegant evening dress.

At home men wore mules made of color Morocco leather, while ladies preferred mules of fabric or the softest leather. Throughout nearly the whole nineteenth century one last served to manufacture footwear on the right and left legs. Such soles were called straight.