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The spectator shoe, also known as co-respondent shoe, is a style of low-heeled, oxford, semi-brogue or full brogue constructed from two contrasting colours, typically having the toe and heel cap and sometimes the lace panels in a darker colour than the main body of the shoe. This style of shoe dates from the nineteenth century but reached the height of popularity during the 1920s and 1930s.
Common colour combinations include a white shoe body with black, brown or tan toe and heel caps, but other colours can be used. The spectator is typically an all leather shoe, but can be constructed using a canvas, mesh or suede body. The spectator was originally constructed of willow calf leather and white buck or reverse calf suede. The white portion was sometimes made from a mesh material, for better ventilation in hot weather.
The saddle shoe, another style of two-tone oxford shoe, can be distinguished from the spectator shoe by noting the saddle shoe's plain toe and distinctive, saddle-shaped decorative panel placed mid foot.
Origin of name
In the 1920s and 1930s in England, this style was considered too flamboyant for a gentleman, and therefore was called a tasteless style. Because the style was popular among lounge lizards and cads, who were sometimes associated with divorce cases, a nickname for the style was co-respondent shoe, a pun on the colour arrangement on the shoe, and the legal description of a third party caught in flagrante delicto with the guilty party in a case of adultery. Wallis Simpson was famed for wearing this style, although it was said that she was an adulteress and that it was Edward VIII who acted the part of co-respondent.
In J.G. Ballard's novel and Steven Spielberg's film Empire of the Sun, protagonist Jim Graham (Christian Bale) covets a fellow prisoner's spectator golf shoes. After the prisoner dies, he is given the shoes as a gift from Dr. Ransome (Nigel Havers).
- Drummond 2010.
- Matthes 2006, p. 263.
- Schur, Ehrlich & Ehrlich 2007, p. 87.
- Benstock & Ferriss 2001, p. 49.
- World Wide Words: co-respondent shoes
- HBO. "Boardwalk Empire". Retrieved 22 April 2018.
- Moore, Caroline (2020-09-10). "Why the brogue deserves attention". Herring Shoes Blog. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
- Benstock, Shari; Ferriss, Suzanne, eds. (2001). Footnotes: on shoes. Piscataway, New Jersey, United States of America: Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978-0-8135-2870-0. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
This kind of men's decorative shoe dates from the late nineteenth century but became popular in the 1920s and 1930s.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Drummond, Sharon (2010). "History of Footwear - Resources - Glossary". History of Footwear. Ryerson University. Archived from the original on 2010-10-04. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
Brogue: A laced shoe with many sections, which are punched and serrated around the edges.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Matthes, Betsy Durkin (2006). Dressing the Man You Love: A Woman's Guide to Purchasing, Coordinating, and Caring for His Classic Wardrobe (1st ed.). Shelter Island, New York, United States of America: Peter's Pride Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9773878-3-0. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
A two-toned oxford shoe with either semi- or full- brougueing.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Schur, Norman W.; Ehrlich, Eugene H.; Ehrlich, Richard (2007) . British English A to Zed (Third, revised and updated ed.). New York, New York, United States of America: Facts On File, Inc. ISBN 978-0-8160-6456-4. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
The flashy, disreputable type, usually in brown and whiteCS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
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