Shoe buckle

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Woman's silk damask shoes with buckles, 1740-1750, England. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, M.81.71.1a-b.

Shoe buckles are fashion accessories worn by men and women from the mid-17th century through the 18th century. Shoe buckles were made of a variety of materials including brass, steel, silver or silver gilt, and buckles for formal wear were set with diamonds, quartz or imitation jewels.[1]


Buckled shoes began to replace tied shoes in the mid-17th century:[2] Samuel Pepys wrote in his Diary for 22 January 1660 "This day I began to put on buckles to my shoes, which I have bought yesterday of Mr. Wotton."[3] The fashion at first remained uncommon enough though that even in 1693 a writer to a newspaper complained of the new fashion of buckles replacing ribbons for fastening shoes and knee bands.[4] Separate buckles remained fashionable until they were abandoned along with high-heeled footwear and other aristocratic fashions in the years after the French Revolution,[5] although they were retained as part of ceremonial and court dress until well into the 20th century.[6] In Britain in 1791 an attempt was made by buckle manufactures to stop change in fashion by appealing to the then Prince of Wales Prince George.[4] While the prince did start to require them for his court this didn't stop the decline of the shoe buckle.[4] It has been suggested that the decline drove the manufactures of steel buckles to diversify into producing a range of cut steel jewellery.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Takeda and Spilker (2010), p. 183
  2. ^ Tortora and Eubank (1995), p. 190
  3. ^ "The Diary of Samuel Pepys". Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d Clifford, Anne (1971). Cut-Steel and Berlin Iron Jewellery. Adams & Dart. pp. 18–19. ISBN 9780239000699. 
  5. ^ Tortora and Eubank (1995), p. 272
  6. ^ "Victoria and Albert Museum: Shoe Buckles". Retrieved 20 April 2011. 


  • Takeda, Sharon Sadako, and Kaye Durland Spilker, Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700 - 1915, Prestel USA (2010), ISBN 978-3-7913-5062-2
  • Tortora, Phyllis G. and Keith Eubank. Survey of Historic Costume. 2nd Edition, 1994. Fairchild Publications. ISBN 1-563-67003-8