Fifty Shoes that Changed the World: September’s Book of the Month Giveaway

When sludging through textbooks back in my school days, I constantly thought, “Honestly, is it so hard to make a book informative and interesting?” Well, September’s Book of the Month proves that that the answer to that question is a resounding ‘yes’!

Using a series of concise vignettes that are stuffed full of facts and fun, the Design Museum’s Fifty Shoes that Changed the World manages to educate and entertain as it fills the reader in on the background of half-a-hundred footwear feats.

For example, did you know that Ferragamo’s infamous cork platform was born because of an embargo placed on Italy during Mussolini’s reign? Or, have you ever heard of the Nat-2 shoe? It’s convertible. You can zip off the festively decorated, Converse-like top to reveal a simple sandal beneath. Then, how about the ballerina flat – who made that popular? Or winklepickers – where on Earth does that crazy name come from? This book covers all these ‘sole-ful’ topics with tightly laced, infallibly interesting copy.

If you’re a shoe-lover, coffee-table owner, or fashion-history-buff wannabe like myself, this book has your name written all over it – in extra thick Sharpie marker.

By responding to the discussion question below, you could score a copy of this flat-out fabulous book. Even if winning this book isn’t wedged in your cards, I’d highly recommend adding it to your shopping cart stat; I’ll be hot on your heels!

Discussion topic: Tell us about a pair of shoes or item of clothing that has altered your world.

  • You have until Tuesday, September 27, 2011 to participate.
  • Though you may leave comments after the above date, any comments left after 11:59 p.m. ET on September 27 will not be counted into the giveaway.
  • Only comments left on this blog post will be counted.
  • We will contact you via e-mail if you are a winner.
  • For more information, please see our Contests & Comments page.

Also, if you purchase the book from us, leave your own review of the book right here on the site, or on our Goodreads group!


About Hannah

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  1. Avatar
    Kim A. 09/22/2011 at 12:16 pm #

    The item of clothing that altered my world was my senior prom dress. I made it myself. I saw a dress I loved more than a year in advance and decided that would be my dress – so I made it out of a deep purple taffeta.

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    LocalCeleb 09/22/2011 at 12:20 pm #

    I love the Ann Taylor silk red/black/cream sleeveless top I had on when I met my husband-It was our first date and upon meeting him, something in my head said he would be my husband one day. I ‘ve only worn it once since the day we met, because it holds sentimental value for me. I love the memories it brings back, even if it’s just hanging in my closet.

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    Laura Petrie 09/22/2011 at 12:28 pm #

    I have always been in love with fashion from the past. Learning more about the origins of our now classic looks and styles is a bit of a hobby! My favorite shoe has been the simple peep toe! It has the magical ability to look dressy, comfortable and classic all at the same time (and show off a pedicure). My red peep toe pumps are a treasure and I am always on the lookout for new interpretations!

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    Jordan 09/22/2011 at 12:52 pm #

    My very first faux fur vest (received as a gift last year). It was something that I had always wanted but never had the guts to purchase and flaunt. I love the subtle extravaganceand versatility, and now I look forward for colder weather so I can ditch the jewelry and grab my fur! (I also love that my friends have nicknamed it my “squirrel”.)

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    Westi 09/22/2011 at 1:12 pm #

    My first pair of high heels changed my life. I still have them and wear them frequently.. simple black heels, but they have been there for me during all of my life changing moments! Looking at them is like looking back and seeing all those important moments in life.

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    Brooke 09/22/2011 at 1:22 pm #

    I bought a pair of skinny jeans for six bucks at a thrift store last year and completely fell in love with them. They’re a dark wash with gold swirling embroidery on the pockets and zippers on the ankles (but interestingly enough not where the pants button). I pretty much wear them exclusively; it’s kind of gross actually. They make me feel retro because of the shape and length (tight, slightly above the ankle) but modern with the zippers and dark wash. I never loved pants before these pants; we have a loving and faithful relationship, these jeans and I.

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    Mary 09/22/2011 at 2:21 pm #

    Before we were married my husband had surprised me with THE leather coat of my dreams. it’s a classic and it will never go out of style. No matter what I wear, I throw on my leather jacket and I instantly look stylish and cool.

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    Cellabella 09/22/2011 at 3:20 pm #

    When I was in grad school, I spent a summer backpacking around Europe. Near the end of my trip I starting perusing clothing stores as well as museums and cathedrals. There were styles so different from the California beach look that I was used to and I ended up buying a long flowing red dress that I would probably never find in the States. I wore the dress to a wedding where my now-husband said he saw me and knew he was going to marry me. The dress reminds me that it’s okay to look outside the box for inspiration and beauty, and great things can happen when I do!

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    Dearest 09/22/2011 at 4:26 pm #

    It was the dress that did it all. When I slipped it on in the morning, I felt refreshed and new and beautiful. It made heads turn in my chemistry class and started conversation with guys I hardly knew. It made my tan darker, my hair flatter, my hips slender, my smile more charming. It came with me to parties, school, choir practices, and Sunday church. It was a classic- a floral black and white- but it somehow brought more color into my life than could a day surrounded by a thousand artists. My dreams lived in that dress and my heart found love in it too. And one day, it will bring charm to the life of my daughter, who will find it will fit with the same modesty and beauty as it did for me.

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    Bonnie McGowan 09/22/2011 at 4:43 pm #

    I remember the first time I bought a vintage dress. I still have the it; a black and pink, 1960s, mod dress that I picked up at a local vintage store. It was soon after i first became obsessed with mod fashion and design, and it was so wonderful to finally have a piece of history in my closet. I have been hunting down vintage ever since!

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    Amanda 09/22/2011 at 5:45 pm #

    The piece of clothing that I own which was truly life-changing is this amazing sequined leopard Rodarte minidress that I found on the Target clearance rack (!) It’s like my Superwoman cape. I feel like a whole new person every time I wear it.

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    Amy 09/22/2011 at 6:53 pm #

    My senior year I was feeling a bit separated from my friends, not feeling like I truly fit into the “angst” of high school, and ready to move on. I wanted to go to homecoming with my long term boyfriend, but was feeling a bit “over it.” That is, until I found “the dress.” I have no idea who designed it, but it was at the mall during an antique show. It had a black velvet bodice with a full black velvet and taffeta skirt. Paired with some vintage heals I felt just gown-up enough to go to my high school homecoming, yet young and girlie enough to keep me from wasting away my senior year.

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    Amy P 09/22/2011 at 7:25 pm #

    When I went to England in 1985, I discovered scarves! I have worn them since then, and enjoy having many more to choose from now. It sure did take people in the US a long time to catch on!

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    Suzanne Amlin 09/22/2011 at 8:51 pm #

    It doesn’t look like mine posted? I’ll be really sad if I have to re-write it 🙁

    • Avatar
      Julia 09/23/2011 at 5:12 pm #

      I can’t see mine either but it won’t let me re-post! I don’t see any other comment from “Suzanne Amlin” so I don’t think yours posted. You don’t see one from “Julia” do you?

  15. Avatar
    Megan Marie 09/22/2011 at 9:34 pm #

    This spring I got these high-waisted denim pleated pants that look best belted, and wearing them make me feel daring! I love accessorizing with scarves as belts and my grey oxfords. Fashion is so exciting!

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    Carolyn 09/22/2011 at 10:39 pm #

    my vintage dress changed my life because it’s a reminder to dress how i want regardless of what other people think.

  17. Avatar
    madeline 09/22/2011 at 10:41 pm #

    The items of clothing that have changed my life are my Strawberry Shortcake modcloth dress, flare jeans I got for 2 bucks, and a pair of desert wedges from Old Navy. They make me feel fun, festive, and fancy free for a range of occasions for a range of great moments to come. And isn’t that how all our clothes should be for us?

  18. Avatar
    Meggie Loveday 09/23/2011 at 12:29 am #

    The item of clothing that changed my world was a lolly pink 1950’s gingham dress that I had found at a vintage sale. It had thick stripes with chicken scratch embroidery but the greatest thing about it was that underneath the full skirted layer of fabric was actually shorts. They were completely concealed with pleats. So for my first original 50s item of clothing I could not only run but bike ride in it. Total freedom in a beautiful dress. I now have over 100 original 50s dresses, some documented on my blog. This dress completely changed my world!

  19. Avatar
    Elaine Marie 09/23/2011 at 5:17 am #

    Crossing my fingers! Really, all of the clothing items I’ve gotten thirfting have changed the way I look at shopping and styling!

  20. Avatar
    Christine 09/23/2011 at 5:17 am #

    I’ve cycled through a lot of styles from the “goth” phase in high school to a more feminine and girly look currently but one thing has remained constant for me. Boots. Whether it’s biker boots, combat boots, slouchy boots, doesn’t matter. For some reason when I wear them I feel my confidence grow in spades. They always make me feel stronger and I think everyone needs a boost every now and then. (An accompanying leather jacket never hurts either. ;] )

  21. Avatar
    Heldine 09/23/2011 at 1:49 pm #

    Rompers have changed my world. I used to wear dresses on lazy days where I just felt like putting on one piece of clothing, but it would be difficult to bike around to classes sometimes. Having rompers keeps with my lazy theme while keeping me free to worry about other things instead of whether or not people can see up my dress as I bike. 🙂

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    Heather 09/23/2011 at 2:04 pm #

    I’d have to say that my first pair of ballet flats were the most world -altering item I’ve ever worn. Since purchasing my first pair a decade ago, ballet flats have become a staple in my wardrobe. I use them to cuten-up everyday casual outfits and now own over a dozen pairs!

  23. Avatar
    Lizzie 09/23/2011 at 4:12 pm #

    Although I never wore or owned this (( item, it made me obsessed with fashion and exposed me to my favourite designer, Alexander McQueen. I love his designs because they are always extraordinarily beautiful. I guess they just remind me of all the beauty that can be found and created in this world.

  24. Avatar
    Lexi 09/23/2011 at 9:40 pm #

    My prom dress– a one of a kind, gorgeous black lace dress from a boutique from South Hampton–was one of the first pieces of clothing that I absolutely fell in love with and felt beautiful in. I still have it today! It’s fancy, but cute and modern enough that I can wear it to nice events or cocktail parties.

  25. Avatar
    alyssa 09/24/2011 at 8:35 am #

    An item of clothing that altered my world was my platform wedges! I just recently bought some after refusing to try any on since I am already so tall. They’re super comfortable and my view on platform wedges has definitely changed!

  26. Avatar
    Laura 09/24/2011 at 2:48 pm #

    I recently scored an old lace wedding dress at a local thrift store for $2.50. I plan to cut it off and wear it knee-length. It has a high lace neckline and little lace sleeves. That was the moment when I realized when you find something interesting at a thrift store, you should get it- it can easily be altered to become something else!

  27. Avatar
    Katherine 09/24/2011 at 3:00 pm #

    My family has a tradition where the oldest daughter of each generation recieves a lavalier on her 16th birthday. Being the oldest of my family, I recieved it on my sixteenth birthday and will give it to my oldest daughter on her sixteenth birthday. The necklace traces back all the way to my great-great grandmother. We have a photograph of each generation wearing it and I am proud to be a part of this family tradition.

  28. Avatar
    Erin Mc 09/25/2011 at 6:49 am #

    My senior prom dress changed my world, not because it had cost an arm and a leg, but because it set me apart from every other person at prom and helped me realize my full potential, fashion-wise. After scouring rack after rack of chintzy, unmemorable gowns, I stumbled upon the dress that absolutely no one else would wear nor compare to. This vintage, one of a kind, hand-dyed cornflower and stone dress was made up of layers and layers that created a gorgeously form-fitting silhouette, topped off with a lovely crystal brooch at the neckline. I thought, “wow, this is what beautiful feels like,” when I wore it.
    It fit me like a glove and set me apart from my classmates. Looking back, that dress helped me gain the confidence to stray from the mainstream in college, feel more comfortable being me and find what I now consider “my style.”

  29. Avatar
    Allison 09/25/2011 at 11:07 am #

    My vintage dark blue and white polka dotted circle skirt changed my entire style perception, with a crinoline underneath it I was instantly walking differently and feeling more fun and flouncy. Falling in love with that skirt started my obsession with mixing current clothing pieces with vintage stunners to create something entirely my own.

  30. Avatar
    michelle 09/25/2011 at 11:59 am #

    i spend a lot of time searching for clothes and accessories in my grandmother’s basement; it’s where i found many of my favorite vintage pieces. years ago, i found the most adorable winter coat that belonged to my her when she was young. it was long and blue with shiny pink buttons, and i just fell in love with it. every time i went to my grandmother’s house, she would dress me up in her old clothes and jewelry. that winter coat was always the finishing touch.
    since then, my grandmother has passed away, and that coat belongs to me. every time i wear it i think of her and all the time we spent playing dress up in her basement. it is very special to me, and i plan to give it to my daughter or granddaughter some day.

  31. Avatar
    Jaxx 09/25/2011 at 1:23 pm #

    The piece of clothing that has altered my life would be the pair of brown sandals my brother brought back from Greece for me. He spent the last bit of money he had on that trip one hour before his flight to bring them back to me. It’s all I wanted from that trip and I told him before he left to bring me that pair. I’m so lucky he remembered after spending a month there and he barely made his flight! What a great brother!

  32. Avatar
    Liz 09/25/2011 at 6:46 pm #

    My little pink bow hair clip. I once accidentally left it at my boyfriend’s house and when he came by the next day to return it, he proposed. Now, my engagement ring is great, but every time i wear that bow i not only feel cute and girly, but I’m reminded of how sweet my fiance is. It’s the best confidence booster i own 🙂

  33. Avatar
    Rachel C 09/25/2011 at 7:20 pm #

    As a vintage lover, I used to be an all-skirts kind of gal. I thought they were may more flattering and comfortable in hot summer months. But I’ll never forget the day I ordered my first pair of good fitting jeans in years. They were from 18th amendment and were high waisted and wide legs. I got more compliments on that pair of jeans alone than any of my skirts! That’s when I realized that jeans can be just as flattering, comfortable, and vintage inspired as skirts! Maybe even more so. 🙂

  34. Avatar
    victoria 09/26/2011 at 6:55 am #

    it’ll be blazer. it’s very comfy when i want to look professional yet stylish in the office. on the other side, it’s also a good piece for a casual look when you combine it with short and tanks.
    most of all, it gives me warmth since i get cold easily.

  35. Avatar
    meagan 09/26/2011 at 5:47 pm #

    My freshman year of high school I did a project on Amelia Earhart and I was required to present it in front of the class. For this occasion I bought a dress with airplanes sewn on it. I am now know throughout the school as the girl in the airplane dress.

  36. Avatar
    Lauren Helen 09/26/2011 at 7:31 pm #

    The first skirt Jaqueline Govaert wore in Krezip’s original music video for “All My Life”. It had huge pleats and lots of colour – it’s what got me searching into the fashion world to try to find a replica (still haven’t, if anyone knows who made this skirt or one like it, please contact me!).

    Ever since, quirky and imaginative pieces have been what makes my style my own, and they make me feel brave, bold, and beautiful 🙂


  37. Avatar
    Natalie 09/27/2011 at 5:44 am #

    The dress that changed my life was my first LBD. Except it was grey. I also got one in black, but the grey one and I just instantly connected. It was my go-to dress for everything. I cried when I had to put it away for the winter! (Which is huge, considering I love putting away winter stuff to get out summer clothes!) I’ve worn this dress to picnics and award ceremonies. Church and Wal-Mart. We’ve stuck together through sickness and in health, and (once it gets back from the dry-cleaners) I’ll cherish and work it till death do us part. (Or I wear it out. Which ever comes first.)

  38. Avatar
    Miriam 09/27/2011 at 6:37 am #

    My first fashion splurge was a shiny silver Ralph Lauren raincoat. Even though it was 75% off, it still cost $50 which seemed like a fortune as a high school sophomore. But I always felt incredibly fab whenever I wore it and never regretted the splurge.

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    Lucy 10/02/2011 at 2:09 am #

    Definitely my beautiful green tulle tutu skirt. I purchased it for a formal occasion, but, because I am a poor university student I decided out of the blue to wear it to class one day, rather than just leaving the skirt for a formal occasion. The response was amazing. So many people, classmates, friends and strangers alike approached me to tell me how much seeing something out there like my skirt brightened their day. The skirt never fails to make me smile as I watch people’s face brighten up when they see me flouncing across campus in my skirt. I think everyone should really use the fact that they’re alive as an excuse to dress up, rather than saving their strange and beautiful clothes for a ‘special occasion’ that may never arrive.

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