Friday, February 28, 2014

The History of Shoe Boxes

Until the mid 1800s, shoes were handmade in small shoe-making shops by cobblers. Since shoes were either made to order or in limited quantities, cobblers had no need for significant storage space or adequate housing for shoes. As innovations in the shoe industry advanced--the invention of the sewing machine in 1846 and automated shoe-making machinery, like Jan Ernst Matzeliger's shoe-lasting machine in 1883--so too did the need for a storage utility for the newly mass-produced product. Shoe boxes began as a way to store shoes sold at retail, but fashionable women who spent thousands of dollars on expensive designer shoes helped give birth to the shoe box used for storing and preserving shoes at home.


    Shoes tell a history, and shoe boxes preserve this history. Shoes can preserve the story of a period, society and the economic conditions from whence they came.

    Some of the oldest and most celebrated shoes of all time are now kept on display at museums around the world. The most expensive shoes in the world, a $1.6 million pair of shoes inspired by Dorothy's slippers in "The Wizard of Oz," are woven of platinum thread and house 642 rubies. They are currently stored in the creme de la creme of all shoe boxes--a bulletproof case with a full-time guard at Harrods in London. The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, Ontario, stores shoes dating back 4,500 years. That's more than 10,000 shoes exhibiting the highlights of shoe history.

    Shoes are an artifact like any other and the information and insight they hold within their soles is an invaluable part of history. Modern shoe boxes allow these artifacts to be preserved for centuries.


    Shoe boxes come an array of shapes and sizes and are made from an even wider array of materials, from cardboard and plastic to fabric and fiberboard. Shoe boxes come in a variety of stacking and storage options as well. Top-open boxes are a more rudimentary system for shoe storage and require you to unstack several boxes if you're trying to get to something on the bottom. Newer, drop-front boxes, allow you to reach something without unstacking, while the more modern pod systems, which run on tracks, can be designed to fit any storage space.


    Storing shoes in shoe boxes has many benefits. Not only do shoe boxes protect your shoes from the weathering caused by changing temperatures and humidity, dust and bugs--therefore elongating the life of your shoes--they also maximize storage space. Shoes are awkwardly shaped accessories that can be hard to store in small spaces, and cramming them in corners and sliding them under beds can be harmful to the material and function of the shoe. Shoe boxes allow you to create easily stackable storage units that can be hidden away in closets, slide under beds or even be stacked neatly in an open room.


    There is a difference between shoe boxes used for retail and those used for storage. All shoes are sold in some type of shoe box, usually made out of heavy-duty cardboard. While these types of shoe boxes can be, and often are, used for storing shoes after they leave the sales floor, they aren't as strong or long-lasting as plastic shoe boxes that are specifically designed for lifetime shoe maintenance. Storage shoe boxes help to prolong the life of your shoes by protecting them from moisture, dust and bugs. Shoe boxes that are used to store shoes in retail stores have another purpose as well. The outside of the box is marked with the size, color, design and name of the shoe being sold. This allows the shoes to be kept organized and clean while they are waiting to be sold.


    Shoe boxes are a storage utility that help manipulate space and increase organization. They can be used under beds, in closets or in any available space in open rooms. While the primary function of a shoe box is to store and care for shoes for retail and over long periods of time, there are many other fundamental uses for shoe boxes as well.

    Over the years, shoe boxes have been used for a variety of purposes--not just the storage of shoes. People have used these small rectangular boxes as organizational tools for storing letters and notes, photos and piecemeal tax items. If you're crafty, they can be used to store your art supplies or be transformed into craft tools, like ribbon dispensers. Shoe boxes are also used to store other accessories like purses, gloves and hats.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How to Decorate Flip-Flops with Old Jeans

How to Decorate Flip-Flops with Old Jeans

Turn a pair of plain flip-flops into creative fashion footwear while recycling old clothing. A worn or outgrown pair of jeans provides the necessary embellishments. Simply rip strips of denim, tie and you're done.



    Cut an old pair of jeans along the seams, then cut the back and front of each leg free. Also trim around any holes or patches. Cut strips of denim 1 inch wide by 4 inches long. Create 20 to 30 strips to start. How many you need depends on the size of the flip-flops and how tightly you push the strips together when they're tied.


    Tie the strips to the flip-flop straps. Start at the center of the flip-flop at the toe divider and work outward on each side. The smooth part of the knot should be under the strap. Slip the knotted strips close together as you go. A single knot should be sufficient if you tighten it, but use double knots if you want the strips to be extra secure. However, this will further shorten the strip ends.


    Trim the tied strips to the desired length. A fringe of 1-1/2 inches works well, but you can trim the strips shorter for a denser trim along the straps.


    Fray the denim, if you wish. Wet the denim and the flip-flops, then place them in the dryer set at low or no heat. Tumble dry for 10 to 15 minutes. Frayed denim creates a fluffier decoration.

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Monday, February 24, 2014

How to Tell if Prada Boots are Fake

Prada is one of the most popular brand names in the fashion world. Along with Gucci, Chanel and Louis Vuitton, Prada bags and shoes are among the most coveted by fashionistas all over the globe. Eager to make a quick buck, counterfeiters have taken on the task of manufacturing fake Prada bags, sunglasses and boots, and touting them as the real thing to clueless buyers. Educate yourself on telling a real Prada boot from a fake one, and you won't have to worry about purchasing an inauthentic pair of Prada boots.



    Check the box the boots came in first. An authentic Prada shoe box will have the Prada logo on the end of the box. You will also find sizing and other information about the boots on the side of the box under the logo. Fake Prada boots will come packaged in a box that has the Prada logo on the top of the lid. Also, a real Prada box will be a light grayish-silver color with the logo printed in white on a red horizontal line as the background.


    Check the dust bag that came with the boots. A real Prada dust bag will be the same grayish silver as the box with a silver drawstring cord. A fake Prada dust bag will have a tell-tale black silver cord, which should immediately notify you that it's inauthentic.


    Check underneath the sole of the Prada boots. Like all Prada shoes, the soles are removable with the Prada logo printed underneath as well as a "Made in Italy" sign below the logo.


    Make sure the word "Prada" is always written in all caps like this: PRADA. The font used to write Prada is also very unique and was developed specifically for the brand by graphic artists. The edges of the letters are thick with small serifs on the ends. The capital R has a distinctive gap between the curve at the top and a leg that juts out.


    Make sure the Prada boots have the proper Prada logo on them. Some boots have an upside down triangle logo attachment that reads: PRADA, with the word MILANO underneath, then DAL 1913 written directly below MILANO. Other boots may have this exact same writing inside an ellipse shape. The bottom of the triangle and the top of the ellipse will have a drawing resembling a shield like in a coat of arms. The "DAL 1913" is written on a scroll. Make sure Prada and Milano are spelled correctly, and that the date reads 1913. Some fake dates are written as 1931.

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

How to Make Slouchy Combat Boots

Combat boots convey a tough aesthetic. Slouchy boots show that a droopy shape can still seem chic. Slouchy combat boots fashionably combine both these characteristics, resulting in a shoe that is at once rugged and relaxed. You can search for such boots from retailers, or you can actually craft your own. Doing so depends on your skill set as a shoemaker. Professionals can literally design and manufacture their own boot, while less experienced hands may accomplish the look using an existent pair of shoes.



    Define "slouchy" for your own style. Many people might think of something slouchy as loose in structure or soft. Fashionistas might think of it as attractively disheveled. You may want to study some examples of slouchy combat boots to fine-tune your connotation. Distressed leather and a very loose throat (the part that covers the calf) typify most slouchy boots. Combat boots normally have laces that run to the top of the boot. Remember to incorporate these characteristics into your own boot.


    Take a class in boot-making. Education, along with skill and experience, is needed to create an actual boot of any type, including slouchy ones. Such a class should instruct you in concepts such as pattern cutting, "lasting" (shaping and molding the boot's leather), and making insoles.


    Study a book on bespoke shoemaking. "Bespoke," in British English, refers to clothing made to a custom order. This literature can provide you step by step instructions on creating the boots with just the right amount of slouch you care for.


    Purchase a pair of combat boots and manipulate the leather. Distress the leather via multiple means. Spray it lightly with rubbing alcohol; knead it roughly with your fingers; agitate it with sandpaper; stroke it with a wire brush. Repeat these techniques a few times until you have your desired rough look. Then, loosen the leather. Submerge the boots in warm water for at least 10 minutes. Knead the leather as you would dough for the entire time it's under water. Put the boots on and wear them, walking around for about an hour. This, too, will need to be repeated. Continue to distress and loosen the boots until they take up the coveted slouch shape.


    Wear in your combat boots over time; maintain the leather with mink oil. This type of oil keeps boots soft and in good condition. Copious amounts of it, however, can make leather extremely soft. This is exactly what you want in a slouchy boot: leather too loose to hold a particular shape.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The History of Wedge Shoes

Wedges, a type of platform shoe, have been around since the 1930s. The first wedges didn't have a distinct heel and had cellophane straps. The wedge heel is thick and one piece with the sole, whereas high-heeled shoes have a separate heel. Height ranges from a slight raise in the heel to several inches. Wedge popularity fluctuates. Hundreds of new wedge designs come out each year, depending on trends.


    Italian designer Salvatore Ferragamo created the wedge shoe. He designed the orthopedic wedge in 1935 and the wedge heel in 1936. Ferragamo used cork and wood because of a leather and rubber shortage. Cork was more popular than wood because it was lighter. The cork sole was also sturdy and durable.

World War II

    Wedges grew in popularity during World War II because of the lack of leather and rubber available in the United States. Leather and rubber were needed for the war effort. The fashion of the time called for height. Wedges offer height and are easier to walk in than skinny heels. Shoulder pads added to the illusion of height. Wedges reached up to 5 inches during this time period.


    Wedges resurfaced in the 1970s. Designs were louder, more colorful and outrageous. One design even allowed for a goldfish to live in the heel. Men and women wore platform wedges, unlike during World War II when it was strictly a women's fashion.


    Wedges came back in style in the 1990s. Wedge sneakers first appeared in raves, then moved on toward the rest of the world. Both regular platform sneakers and wedge platform sneakers existed. These high wedge sneakers could be seen on celebrities like the British pop band the Spice Girls.


    The wedge returned in the summer 2006. Heels made of cork and wrapped in rope were one style option. Both straps and ankle wraps were choices to secure wedges to feet. Flip-flop wedges, with a small heel, combined the two popular styles.

Health Benefits

    Women wear heels to make the legs look longer, to make the body look thinner and to improve posture. Wedge heels offer more support than stilettos or high heels. Balance is easier on a wedge, reducing the number of falls that accompany high heels. Wedges offer more arch support, reducing foot and ankle problems.

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