*(Sonnet 43 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

Lauren Stowell created her company American Duchess to share creative, historical costume-making with interested people. Historical shoes proved to be hard to find, but let's hear it from her ... 


In a world full of 'anything goes clothing ', is it hard for costume designers to decide appropriate costumes for everyday characters?

When I worked for a professional dance company, I learned that all the ballet and dance shoes worn by the performers are fitted by a professional dance shoe representative and purchased by the dance company. The shoes are the property of the company, rather than individual dancers. The dance company purchases dozens of pairs of shoes for each dancer; for rehearsals and performances for the entire dance season. The shoe crate for a touring dance company may bulge with hundreds of individually dyed and labelled shoes. In this blog, I'm going to discuss the most common styles of dance footwear that I encountered.

Mens show footwear requires care and diligence. The shoes need to be clean and in good condition to provide the stability required by performers. The type of show, and type of shoe will determine the shoe care schedule. Dress shoes that must gleam for each performance will probably require daily maintenance, on the other hand, work boots may only require conditioning from time to time. 

The Costumer's Notebook,

The book The Costumer's Notebook is a 295 page comprehensive handbook for Costumers for stage and film including a full Glossary of stage and film industry terms. Sections include methods and tricks for laundry, dyeing, breakdown, Dresser guidelines and protocols for Stage or Film and various size charts for men and women from shoes to gloves. Other Sections include diagrams showing How to Iron A Shirt, How to Tie a Tie and How to Tie a Bow Tie. Costume fittings, costume lay out and costume storage are also discussed.