Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by Pinkcoke, Sep 6, 2011.
At least I know where to look!
d: I am so excited to hear that your grandfather worked for Town and Country Shoes - I have been looking for evidence outside my family that the brand even existed. While visiting my mother's sister and my "Favorite Cousin," Betty Jane in St. Louis, Virgil Lipscomb would come calling, always bringing some lovely shoe for Betty Jane to try on (she was a beautiful, ultra nice young woman of 21 at the time (1946 ?) with slim ankles and gorgeous legs. I had thought at the time that Virgil was the CEO of Town and Country Shoes then, but my cousin's recent obituary states that after they married they began the company together. (I was 14 at the time of this visit, and totally in awe of my cousin for a number of reasons, so my memories may be all mixed up.) I would LOVE it if your grandpa had any memories of the company, or of Virgil (d. 1965) or Betty Jane, that he would share. Thank you!
I grew up in the the shoe business as a retail owner and a manufacturer's rep. During the '50s and 60s T&C was the best mid price (in those days$14 was mid, you almost couldn't buy a shoe for over $35). Their hq was in Sedalia, MO. The company was owned by the Lipscomb family, Virgil and his two sons, Mike and John. They produced 10,000 pair a day, my two independent stores sold about 10,000 pair a year, including the bag pictured, which indeed had matching shoes. Actually the bags were made to match the shoes, which were the only type of bags they used. As with all the daytime dress shoe manufacturers, the struggles began in late '60s. The number one problem, was continuing to make dress shoes, when jeans became fashion and casual shoes made people's hearts beat. Quality athletic shoes (Nike & Adidas etc), boots (mostly Frye boots), high bottom sandals (Kork-ease, Bare Traps, Cherokee, Famolare etc) became fashion. Daytime dress shoes were the "out of fashion business" for work requirements. Problems with Unions caused the industry to look overseas rather than invest in a total retool.
The Lipscombs sold out to Wolverine was never the same and eventually totally died out.
There is a company Re-Mix in CA who manufactures vintage shoes from old patterns, while he doesn't have anything like those, he did deal with warehouses looking for new projects, possibly he may be helpful. I used to rep. his line along with Mephisto and the original Taryn Rose. He is Philip Heath the website is remixvintageshoes.com.
I know this is years after, but I couldn't resist; hope this is a least interesting if not helpful.
Thanks for chiming in! I still have the bag. Do you know if Town & Country products were ever exported? I am in England, and have not come across any more T&C since, so I suspect it was an individual purchase abroad.
I do actually own a pair of Re-mix shoes, the only pair of reproduction vintage footwear I have. This pair which I've seen called 'Cloche' and 'Melody' I'm not sure which is correct (I bought mine slightly second hand)
Just contributing to the Town & Country posting,
Melanie, I LOVE that bag (and your Remix shoes, I'm going to have to check them out).
Goodness, I see T&C fairly frequently in the thrifts in my area. I didn't think too much of them because my memory of T&C is as a "okay" brand... mid-priced and not very fashion-forward. Back in the 60s/70s, I was more into the trendy styles.
What an great thread. I'll pay better attention to those shoes, now!
Thanks VintageVendeuse, please do share any Town & Country you see.
DecoDiva, this advert reminded me of your shoes, I never get close to imagining what they wore with such plain shoes!:
courtesy of http://myvintagevogue.tumblr.com/
It sounds much like our Clarks, who in general only made bags to match shoes originally.
I came across these by accident today on Pinterest, they are housed in The Charleston Museum and labelled Mademoiselle. The fabric and embroidery matches my bag exactly, so I take it Mademoiselle was a Town and Country brand then? perhaps for the younger lady? Mademoiselle being 'Miss' in french.
Those shoes certainly match your bag beautifully. In a super-fast look online (the dogs are impatiently waiting for a walk) I found that Mademoiselle shoes were a line of shoes from the Carlisle Shoe Company, but I didn't find a connection between Carlisle and Town & Country. I will dig deeper when I return.
Hello all, my dad was a VP at Town & Country Shoes in Sedalia, MO. It was a wonderful factory, and I still recall the smell of leather as you walked in the production area of the plant. There were tons of foot models and shoe patterns and lots beautiful fabric and leather laid out on tables. I love seeing these photos of the shoes and boxes! My mom had a LOT of shoes and bags, as you can imagine. The brand and label were fashion notables in the 1960s.
I can't give you much history on the company, unfortunately. My dad had worked for International, Brown and Bourbeuse Shoe in the St. Louis area, and was recruited by the Lipscombs to T&C; we moved to Sedalia in 1953. Dad was with the company until around 1963 -- he saw their market share decreasing as more and more women's shoes were manufactured overseas and more people wanted casual shoes. He wanted our family to stay in Sedalia, so he bought a women's clothing store from a woman who was retiring. I am not sure what year they closed the Town & Country plant, but there was a T&C shoe outlet store in Sedalia for a while.
As far as I know, Town & Country shoes were always made in the US. I can't tell you about exports, but it's hard to imagine that a company that was losing business to companies that were mass-producing shoes would venture into exporting. Pure speculation on my part, though.
Here's a link to an article about Town & Country Shoes from 1985: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=C8AzAAAAIBAJ&sjid=w-UFAAAAIBAJ&pg=6481,6019962
I just came across this board and wanted to thank Bob for all that information he provided for T & C. I have an amazing set edited by Admin. that I wanted to share here for all you lovers of vintage! I am not sure if they are late 60s or early 70s. I am leaning toward the 70's. If anyone can help with that, it would be great! Thanks! And yes, the colors are that vibrant!
I also have the Mademoiselle linen embroidered heels edited by Admin. like the ones posted! I was going to post them, but was beat to it!
Hi TheVintageMaven, your posts have been edited because as a guest you may post images but not advertise items for sale with links (which is a trade member perk), as per our forum rules.
Your shoe and handbag set look mid 1960's to me, as the toe shape is changing from a severe point to a wide square tip during this decade and in the middle you end up with an elongated round toe shoe, with the thicker heel that is moving toward a block heel by the end of the 1960's.
The embroidered linen shoes are in a museum, do yours fit you? I still have the matching convertible bag. These matching sets are great for weddings.
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