Fashion Defined: A Matter of Shoes Part 1

  Oh, shoes! We girls seem to have no problem collecting footwear. There's a pair for every occasion in our lives, whether it's in our closet, our imagination, or on our pinboard. With all these shoes, there's plenty of room for confusing terms and styles; it's enough to make a gal's head spin! If you get online looking for a certain kind of heel, it might take you a while to find just what you're looking for. Knowing your shoe definitions will help you narrow down your search a lot faster, plus it's actually fun to learn (at least for me it is...;)!

  Let's get started by making sure we know the basic parts of a shoe. This will help us to know the variations between different shoe styles.The upper is the top part of the shoe, while the sole is the bottom. The upper can be divided into several sections. The toe box covers the toes. The vamp is the part of the upper that goes from the toe box to front of the leg. The quarters refer to the back part of upper, where the vamp ends. The throat is the front part of the shoe opening.
Loafer Source

                                        Derby Source                                                  Oxford Source                                                                                          
   Let's start by talking about shoes that most of us would consider dressy, those for special occasions or office work. First, there are the shoes that are worn by both men and women. Loafers are slip on shoes with an upper usually made of two pieces of material. Loafers and moccasins are similar, but differ in that the loafer has an additional outer sole. Brogues, simply put, are shoes with uppers made of several overlaid parts and have decorative edges. Derbies and oxfords are lace-up brogues that we women often see in high heeled versions. The difference between a derby and an oxford can be found in its eyelet tab, which is the section of the shoe with the laces. If the tab stitched under the vamp, it's an oxford and if the tab is stitched over the vamp, it's a derby.
      Pump Source                                                                 D'Orsay Source
Mary Jane Source                              Sling-Back Source
T-Strap Source

   The kind of heel we're most familiar with is the classic pump, which is a slip-on heel that traditionally covers the back of the foot. Pumps are available in many forms The D'orsay has its quarters and vamp curved down to create an open area in the upper. Mary Janes have a single strap going over the top of the shoe, while sling-backs have a strap above the heel. T-straps have a strap that goes over the top of the foot and connects with one going around the ankle.

Sandal Source

   Sandals are shoes that are held to the feet by straps, and leave the upper part of the foot exposed. Sandals can be both formal and casual.
Wedge Source

    A wedge is a shoe that has a heel shaped like, well, a wedge! It can be seen in various styles.

  I hope that this peek into the wonderful world of shoes has been informative! I learned a lot by researching all the terminology regarding footwear. Next time, I hope to cover casual shoes. :)

What is your favorite kind of shoe that I talked about today? Are there any footwear mysteries you'd like to see cleared up? Do you have any other ideas for this series? 

"How beautiful upon the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who proclaims peace,
Who brings glad tidings of good things,
Who proclaims salvation,
Who says to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”"
~Isaiah 52:7 


  1. Enjoyed this interesting and informational post! Lately I've probably been wearing boots most often (rubber ones for work and leather for shopping, concerts, etc) , but loafers can be pretty nice and comfortable!

    1. I'm glad you liked this Bethany! :) I really like leather boots; for the past three years they've been what I lived in during the winter.

  2. I usually wear some sort of flats at work. But I love to wear my super comfortable suede loafers for running errands. I really like your Fashion Defined series and can't wait to see what you post next! :)

    1. Sounds like you like nice, comfy shoes! :) I'm so happy to hear that you're enjoying this series!

  3. I may be weird but all I want are simple flats:brown, black, white, then a pair of tennis shoes and some boots. I've never been a shoe collector!

    1. That's probably a good thing. Some of us collect way too many. Haha! :)

  4. This was a fun post! I really like the look of the t-strap, it has a kind of 1920's look to it. My favorite shoes I own are a pair of grey oxfords (now I know the correct term!) with a bit of a heel on them.

    Here's a footwear question: do different heights of heels have different terms? Like, I've heard of kitten heels and stilettos, but those are two extremes.

  5. Oh my goodness...this was such an awesome read! I definitely learned a lot! Thanks for taking the time to do this, Paige!

  6. Wow! I learned a lot about shoes! I guess I didn't know nearly as much as I thought I did! Haha! Flats are my favorite for sure, but I also like wedges and sandals. Interesting read Paige!

  7. This was cool! I learned some things I don't know about shoes! Out of the shoes you talked about I supposed to pick one? ;) I'll pick a couple ;) I like Mary janes, sandals, and wedges best, I think! :) can't wait to see your casual shoe post :)

  8. Okay, blogger won't let me reply, so I guess I'll just do it here. :\
    @Bethany~So glad you're like it! Yes, the t-strap does have a vintage look! I did some more research and it sounds like stiletto and kitten heels actually are just styles (though part of that is height). Heels around 1" are called "low", those around 2" are called "mid" and those around 3" and taller are called "high". You learn something new every day, eh? :)
    @Ashley~You are so welcome!
    @Laura~I know, there is so much to learn! Glad you liked this post.
    @Moriah~ Yay, I'm happy you learned something. Great choices. ;)

    1. Thanks for looking that up! That's really interesting!


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