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From Drab to Fab: The Functionality of Dress and Shoe Clips

by Paige McKirahan 05 Sep 2018 0 Comments

From Drab to Fab: The Functionality of Dress and Shoe Clips

By Paige McKirahan


Have you ever wondered how you can change your boring, plain dresses and shoes into something spectacular? Something with character and pizazz? Well, the answer to that question of how lies in the 1930s with Hollywood icons and simple silhouettes.

By the ‘30s, dress and shoe clips were the “it” accessories; in the midst of the Great Depression, many women were looking for ways to emulate opulence and spice up plain clothing for cheap. This era paired with the imminent second World War forced fashion to become rationed, so these clips were an easy way for women to inexpensively adorn themselves to look similar to beloved movie stars like Marlene Dietrich, Tallulah Bankhead, Lana Turner, and Fay Wray. Dress clips were commonly worn as it is shown below, on the straps of a dress, or clipped as a symmetrical pair on square or sweetheart necklines.



 Marlene Dietrich sporting a dress pin

(image credit to


 The popularity of the dress clip prompted the revitalization of the shoe clip, which originally came into circulation in the 18th century. The resurgence of the trend in the 1930s aimed to embellish plain pairs of flats or heels with some sparkle and flash, which differs vastly from the feathers and ruffles that were being clipped to shoes at the trend’s conception. Since the rise of hemlines began in the 1920s, these shoe clips were an easy way to accessorize an outfit from the ground up and could even be matched to dress clips to create a complete, cohesive look!

Though expensive jewelry makers were at the front of the line in creating these fun wearables, every costume jewelry maker from America to Europe had a line of clips in circulation. Eisenberg, Trifari, Coro, and Napier were rivaling Cartier and Van Cleer & Arpels in attempt to create a more affordable alternative to luxury pieces, catering to the economic climate of the era. Common materials used in these pieces were bakelite, faux gemstones, glass pearls, and other early plastics. These companies eventually stopped manufacturing this type of jewelry in the ‘50s and ‘60s, but they are still sought out by jewelry aficionados worldwide.



Coro Dress Clip Ad

(image credit to


Shoe and dress clips gave women the ability to sparkle literally from head to toe and that option is still available today. Charlize Theron and Sarah Jessica Parker took notes from old Hollywood starlets and sported dress clips on the red carpet at recent events. To spice up your look in a similar fashion, head over to our collection of brooches and pins so you too can start feeling that 1930s glam!




Glamorous Dress Clip Vintage JewelryArt Deco Plastic Dress Clip Duette Vintage Jewelry

 (image credits to

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