Bringing Back “Coupon Busters” One Pair of Shoe Clips at a Time
In one of the later season’s of Foyle’s War, (a British crime drama set in the 1940’s, which I highly recommend, by the way, if you enjoy murder mysteries and period wartime dramas) there was an episode where the character of Sam is seen discussing shoes with a coworker. Her coworker had recently purchased a pair of “coupon busters”, which were an ingenious pair of shoes that came with detachable heel covers and shoe clips. The heels and clips could transform the single pair of shoes into three different pairs, simply by removing the sensibly shaped heel cover, which made the shoe appropriate for office wear, to reveal the more sensuously curved heel which was perfect for evening. Adding a shoe clip to the toe created yet another fashionable look.
I don’t know if coupon busters were a real invention in wartime Britain, as a way for women to stretch their rationing coupons, allowing them to purchase one pair of shoes, instead of three separate pairs, or not. I couldn’t find any information about them at all. I think that coupon busters are rather a clever idea though, and it really is too bad that they are not being made today. Even though we don’t have to worry about rationing coupons today, I would love to be able to transform one pair of shoes into three, wouldn’t you?
Although a manufactured shoe like this is not readily available, there is, however, an easy way to transform the look of your shoes, and that is by wearing shoe clips. Shoe clips are one of those accessories that have wavered in and out of fashion throughout the years. Shoe buckles were very popular in the 18th century, not just for function, but fashion as well. In the 1950’s shoe clips rose in popularity with the invention of proper shoe clip hardware. My mom had shoe clips in the 1980’s, and I remember a few years ago they were a trend again. However, they are not a common thing to see for the most part. I really don’t know why, as they are so fun and versatile, and can transform your shoes into a completely new look. I personally think they make your shoes look like “princess shoes”- don’t princesses always seem to have big bows and what-have-you on the toes of their shoes?
I have been wanting to find shoe clips for years, at least five years now, as I got these coral flower decorations with the express intent of attaching them to shoe clips. However, apparently shoe clip hardware is an impossible thing to want, and I could never find any for sale. I put the flowers aside and forgot about them, until recently, when I found them again in my craft stash, and got the idea to look online to see if shoe clip hardware was available. Sure enough, on Amazon I found a pack of ten pairs of clips! Score! I immediately pulled out the flowers, and set to work creating several different pairs of shoe clips. I mean, I do have ten sets of clips now, so I can make a lot of pairs of shoe clips. At this rate, I’ll never have to wear the same pair of shoes again! 😉
I thought that since shoe clips are such a versatile accessory to change up the look of your shoe, I would demonstrate with two pairs of shoes. Shoe clips work best on open, classic style shoes that don’t already have too many details, straps or embellishments, and they work equally well on heeled or flat shoes. Here you can see how shoe clips transform the look of the shoes and lend themselves well to any occasion.
First up are these navy peep toe pumps. I wear these shoes a lot as navy is such a versatile colour, and this pair is so comfortable. They are a plain and serviceable shoe, so you’ll see how much they change just by adding some clips.
Round pom-pom flowers turn these into statement shoes. These are Cinderella shoes for sure- don’t they look like something the Disney princess would wear?
Did you know you can also use clip-on earrings as shoe clips? You have to be careful with which ones you use- I have some pairs which have too weak of a clasp, or come up too high above the edge of the shoe, but some pairs clip on rather nicely to add some sparkle. Both of these, the brown and the green are clip-on earrings I seldom wear, but I think they work rather nicely to dress up the shoes. Clip-on earrings are also much easier to find than proper shoe clips.
These are true shoe clips which I found at an antique sale. They add just the right amount of sweetness, sparkle and vintage flair. Vintage stores and sales can be a good place to look to find real shoe clips.
Now here are my black pumps: they have a band across the toe which has sparkly gems on it, but you’ll see that they still work rather well with shoe clips, because of the open shape of the shoe.
Here are the coral coloured flowers. I absolutely love the shape of these as they are very “princessey” too. Unfortunately I have very few clothes that go well with the colour, so that is definitely something I’ll have to change!
I think that bows work really well for a vintage look. Bows were a very popular shoe decoration in the 1940’s, and they have a very classic look about them. Bows that are the same colour as the shoe, work very well for daywear as they look like part of the shoe.
The last set of shoe clips are these ribbon flowers I made. They add a nice splash of colour, yet are small enough to be discreet.
And case you would like to make some shoe clips for yourself, here is how:
I used a pre-made flower for these, but some of the others I made from scratch. Attach your decoration to a felt disk, either by sewing or gluing it on. Once it is attached, you can then sew your shoe clip onto the felt. Attach it near the top of the disk, so the decoration will sit lower on the shoe. Clip them onto your shoes and enjoy! I got my shoe clip hardware off of Amazon- if you search “shoe clip blank” it should bring some up for you. I am sure there are other places that sell shoe clip blanks as well, I just purchased them from Amazon because I live in a rural area which apparently doesn’t see much demand for shoe clips and the stores didn’t carry them! 🙂
One note of caution I do have, is that depending on the material of your shoe, metal clips may leave indentations or marks. If you have soft leather, or suede like I do, you may want to put some kind of “padding’ in between the clip and the shoe to keep it from getting ruined.
So, have you ever worn shoe clips? What do you think of them? And, would you want a pair of “coupon busters”?
February 21, 2017 @ 8:17 am
Another enjoyable post. 🙂 I used to wear shoe clips years ago. I really liked them and, yes, I would want a pair or two of coupon busters. I didn’t know about these. What an appropriate name and clever idea. When I watch PBS shows, I tend to focus on the women’s clothing more than anything else.
Your clips are super cute and versatile. Thanks for the photos and tips.
February 21, 2017 @ 10:11 am
Haha- costumes can make or break a show- and I am always focused on the clothing as well! Shoe clips are fun. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and I hope you get a chance to wear some 🙂
February 21, 2017 @ 9:53 am
Shoe clips are a wonderful idea aren’t they? I have some festive ones, to transform all-year shoes into Christmas shoes! They also work as hair clips if you pin them onto a bobby pin. I really don’t have time to make shoe-clips right now, so I will mentally file this post for a future date when I don’t have a PhD to finish! x
February 21, 2017 @ 10:17 am
Christmas shoe clips are a great idea. I’m not a fan of holiday themed garments because you can only wear them once a year- but holiday accessories are so great for adding a festive touch! Hopefully you’ll get a chance to make some shoe clips soon 🙂
February 21, 2017 @ 9:41 pm
I almost bought some shoe clips for my wedding, but didn’t end up doing so. I think they’re so cute though, and really help to jazz up an otherwise simple shoe! I wish that they were more popular and easy to find today! By the way, the shoe clips on amazon are unavailable now. Sadness! They are so versatile!
February 22, 2017 @ 9:47 am
They are so versatile- and I wish they were more readily available too!
Sorry that link doesn’t work anymore! I have removed it now. However, if you search “shoe clip blank” on Amazon there are others for sale on the site.
February 22, 2017 @ 5:42 am
What a genius idea! And even better that you got the idea from an episode of Foyle! Kx
February 22, 2017 @ 9:54 am
I love Foyle because it is a great show- but also because of the costumes!!! Good costumes make a show that much more enjoyable to watch- and also give you good wardrobe ideas too 🙂
February 22, 2017 @ 5:56 am
I have found a site called prettypinktoes.co.UK where they sell some really beautiful shoe clips. Yours are fabulous too!
February 22, 2017 @ 9:53 am
Thanks Elizabeth 🙂
I just had a quick look at that site and they have some really pretty clips! I also saw in their pictures, that they clipped them on the sides and back of the shoes as well as on the toe- that is an ingenious idea! I think I will have to use that idea in the future! Thanks for sharing the website.
February 22, 2017 @ 9:28 pm
hello,ciao Nicole…Nice work!…the ribbon flowers and Round pom-pom flowers and the coral coloured flowers are so charming on your stunning legs/feet…cheers!
February 22, 2017 @ 11:58 pm
Thanks Aure- flowers are so fun to wear on your feet! 🙂
February 24, 2017 @ 2:25 am
I love the idea of shoe clips too, although I have actually rarely worn them. I made some with artificial flowers and bees, but I ended up mostly wearing them in my hair or clipped to a head scarf. They are very versatile really – a decoration on a clip can be many things!
The dress clips from the collection I did with Nora are also alternately shoe clips, and use the same hardware. I first saw the clip blanks for sale at American Duchess but I found a local supplier in the end. I have lots of other clip ideas I’d love to try and after reading Porcelina’s comment, I definitely need a Christmas set!
February 24, 2017 @ 4:18 pm
I didn’t realize that you had used shoe clip hardware on those flower clips! Those are such nice clips you made. Now I am going to have to try putting my shoe clips on places other than shoes! 🙂
Oh, and your flower and bee ones sound lovely.
March 6, 2017 @ 11:34 am
Lovely post..I think shoe clips are a great idea and can give you so many different looks. I like the idea of using clip on earrings too. I may have to try making some. I have only just started watching Foyles War, I am looking forward to all the seasons of it. That was my Saturday night just gone, Foyles War and knitting. Perfect!
March 6, 2017 @ 3:48 pm
I’d definitely recommend making some shoe clips- they are fun! And- yay another fellow Foyle’s War lover! The perfect way to spend Sunday nights, I agree 🙂