Austenland (2013 film)

Fortunate were the women of the Regency era not to have to suffer the same shoe styles as those in the Georgian period before them. Though the bejeweled high heels for ladies and gentlemen fell out of fashion, the desire to adorn shoes remained.

Some ladies added shoe roses to their satin slippers as a simple embellishment, and the slippers were often dyed to match their gowns. Those of the first circles would hardly notice the cost for a pair of dyed roses nor would those from an estate that generated a meager two thousand a year consider it excessive. Outside these circles, however, most would need to consider whether the expense was necessary. It was possible to reuse the same white shoe roses, the most common color for gowns worn by maidens, or dyed to match the cloak for matrons walking down Bond Street.

Libertà, Historical Costume, 1790-1830 : Shoes, slippers

There was, of course, also the issue of losing a shoe rose. Notoriously limp and easily dislodged, it was not uncommon for a lady to return home at the end of an evening without one or both. A lady of the gentry would not feel the loss but would simply order a new set. Her guardian would pay the bill, be it a father, brother, uncle, or husband. Yet a lady who worked as a companion or governess must consider any expense for which she alone was responsible.

Jane Austen, Make Your Own Shoe Roses

While perfect for the evening, shoe roses dyed to match a gown worn only once were a luxury. Then, as now, the gown may have made a statement, but the accessories were everything.

Sources for To Dye or Not to Dye?:

Author unknown “Make Your Own Shoe Roses” and “What Makes a Historically Accurate Regency Shoe?”, date unlisted,

Lee, Hyo Jeong “Roses / Rosettes” Fashion History Timeline, December 14, 2018

10 responses to “To Dye or Not to Dye?”

  1. Glynis Avatar

    Those yellow shoes are very pretty but so pointed! I think the roses look better on those than on the boots where I think they look out of place. I could never have worn shoes like that. I was fortunate in that squared toes and wider heels took over from the pointed toe stilettos just in time for my teenage years! These were followed by platform and wedge shoes which were also great for me. I loved my Scholl sandals and clogs which luckily didn’t require roses?

    1. Regina Jeffers Avatar

      Glynis, I have plantar fasciitis, and I have come to learn that the pointed toe shoes and other such pain we women suffered is one of the reasons so many of us have plantar pain. The “big toe” has a natural alignment with the plantar fascia tissue in the foot, but we have pushed it over to squeeze our feet into fashionable shoes. Kind of like the wicked step sisters trying to get their feet into the glass slipper. LOL!

    2. kimbelle1 Avatar

      Glynis, first, I want to thank you for taking time to read post in our wonderful blog! Secondly, I agree that the roses do look better on those slipper/shoes than the boots, but how fashion has changed over the centuries is one of it’s draws, I think. I, too, am thrilled that the current trend is wider toes and wider heels as it is less likely we will break a heel when running away from a Mr. Collins-like proposal! Have a wonderful day and thank you for your thoughtful and thought-provoking comment.

  2. kimbelle1 Avatar

    Regina, I never know what I might learn when I see a post from you, be it a former post, your wonderful books, or a reply! That makes so much sense and now I am wondering if, perhaps, these wider and more supportive shoes might be as helpful a change in style as the mixer is when added to a kitchen! Thank you for the comment, the insight, and for your sharing that with us all that you have learned.

  3. Marie H Avatar
    Marie H

    One can actually still buy clip on shoe roses (or bows, etc.). Kind of nice if a plainer shoe needs to be dressed up for a more special occasion. I had bought some, but the clips were made of metal and I’m allergic, so couldn’t use them, unfortunately!

    Regina Jeffers, I have plantar f too, so I feel your pain. After having to wear a special boot to bed at night for several weeks, I bought some Oofos sandals about 10 years ago to wear around the house, and they seriously changed my life for the good. They’ve doubled in price since then, but so worth the cost. My feet don’t hurt anymore.

    1. kimbelle1 Avatar

      It is so true that one can yet buy trinkets and spunky laces and more for their shoes, which is rather kind fun to know that this, too, has grown into many a splendid options for expressing style and individuality. I am glad to know your Oofos sandals have helped you manage so uncomfortable a pain and I am sure that the secret shared is appreciated! I am intending to look into sending a pair to my grandmother, so I thank you for the tip and for taking the time to read this post and the comments~

  4. cindie snyder Avatar
    cindie snyder

    Love the show roses! I agree that first pair are too pointed for me too! Ouch!lol The roses do look better on a dressier show I think too, but it does give the boots an extra touch.

    1. kimbelle1 Avatar

      Hi Cindie! Hope all is well and thank you for popping in to see the post! This blog has been so much fun to write for. I cannot express how fun it’s been to write my posts, and more so to read all those from everyone else! Hope you are enjoying them as well~

  5. Jennifer_Redlarczyk Avatar

    Fascinating! Thanks so much for your post.

    1. kimbelle1 Avatar

      Thank you for reading it! I hope you found it amusing. Always in awe of you, Miss Jennifer and am grateful for the time you took for this post.

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