Finding the perfect shoes to match your wedding outfit can be a bit of a mission as it is. Add to that finding vintage shoes in extended sizes, and you can have a mission impossible on your hands.
When I got married a couple of years ago, I was desperate for vintage wedding shoes. I wanted to walk down the aisle in a pair of shoes with history, with the romance of times past and full lives lived. It was not to be, and because of my size-10 feet and lack of shopping know-how, I ended up in compromise shoes bought at the last-minute in desperation.
Learn from my mistake. Here’s how to find vintage-style shoes in larger sizes.
Good ol’ Ebay
Though it can feel like it when you are shopping for shoes, you are not the only woman in the world with larger-than-average size feet. Though they are rare, beautiful shoes do come up in larger sizes. You can make sure you are the first to know by setting up a saved Ebay search. Etsy is also a good place to look for vintage, but you will need to keep checking back, as they don’t offer a saved search service.
A worldwide hunt
Larger sizes are very hard to find in the US and the UK, but in Northern Europe average shoe sizes have been larger for longer. UK vintage bridal specialist Hope & Harlequin recommend trying Berlin for large size 70s and 80s shoes. Though taking a trip to Berlin is beyond the means of most of us, making Google Translate your freunden (see what I did there?) and checking out country-specific Ebay sites is relatively easy. Most people in Germany speak English, so always ask for the exact measurements before buying.
You can save yourself a lot of time searching and go for vintage-styled shoes instead. There are a few good brands that offer old time styling in extended sizes. Butter’s Something Bleu bridal collection (to size 12) includes some pretty satin pumps worthy of a 50s glamor goddess, and Emmy Shoes (to size 11) have some fabulously flirty 40s style numbers in their collection. Paradox London (to size 10) has a good mix of both, and much lower prices.
If the standard vintage-inspired footwear does not make your little heart beat faster, then go for bespoke. That way, you get the design of your dreams in the exact colorway or fabric you desire. The prices are steep, but you are getting a one-off design, created just for you. Caroline Groves in the UK makes beautiful Victoriana inspired shoes that are perfect for the steampunk bride, or Shoes of Prey (to size 13). Now in select Nordstrom stores in the US, offer a 3D design service for custom shoes at a fraction of the usual cost.
If you want something unique, or something that means something to you, but don’t have the time to search for vintage, or the budget for bespoke, then unleash your creativity and get down to some DIY. It makes a great pre-wedding get-together, and Pinterest is packed with great tutorials for shoe embellishments that will add a vintage flourish to your bridal shoes. You could try covering your shoes with a pretty vintage fabric, or making shoe clips from your grandma’s clip-on earrings. (If too much wine has flowed and the results are botched, then Etsy makers have some beautiful shoe clips and customization options and no one need ever know — what happens on DIY day, stays on DIY day.)
So there you have it, how to find vintage style shoes you will love in larger sizes. Just remember one thing — whether you hunt down the perfect pair of pre-loved shoes, splash out on bespoke, or DIY your dream — just don’t settle.
Did you know Offbeat Bride has an entire ARCHIVE of posts dedicated to larger-size shoes? What great sources have you found online? Share a link in the comments!