Gilded Heels for the Holidays

Channel your inner debutante with shoes modeled after a turn-of-the-century design.

I'm a lady, and I like shoes. But specific elements must be vetted before I splurge on a pair, i.e. monetary-to-physical cost analysis, should I take a digger in my fancy new footwear. Out of fear and laziness, I revert to my plain old (read: older than the fruit cake in your freezer) Mary Janes, which are reliable, comfortable and, yes, booor-inggg.

But this year, I'm thinkin' I might upgrade from Debbie downer to debutante. The Newport Historical Society recently teamed up with American Duchess to produce a pair of shoes modeled after designs by Thomas Mumford Seabury, a popular nineteenth-century shoemaker whose Newport shop thrived on Thames Street for 100 years. Seabury Shoes was going strong during the luxurious Gilded Age, and it's easy to imagine Newport's finest clicking around their vacation "cottages" in these little beauties. Take that, Christian Louboutin.

The reproduction shoes are remarkably wearable, featuring a foot-friendly Louis-style heel, a silk brocade and a sweet clip-on bow. The design is available in gray and a versatile black and retails for $170. Purchase your pair online or try before you buy during the society's Sip and Shop events, every Thursday in December from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Brick Market Museum and Shop.

A portion of the sales from each pair support the Newport Historical Society.

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