Mrs. Beadsley’s Jewel Box: Collecting Clips

Mrs. Beadsley Vintage Jewelry

This month let’s talk about clips. There are many kinds of clips in vintage jewelry. Do you know the difference between a dress clip, a fur clip, sweater clips, glove clips, and shoe clips?

Each had a function and none of them is made anymore. These pieces of jewelry are fun to collect and will become rarer as the years go by.

Dress clips and fur clips are similar to brooches. They were worn on the same types of apparel as brooches are now. There were some differences though.

Dress clips came singly, as pairs and rarely in trios. Unlike brooches, though, dress clips must be worn at the edge of a garment. They do not pierce the fabric like a brooch does. There is a paddle with prongs on the back of a dress clip. The clip is clamped down over the edge of a garment at the neckline, pocket, sleeve hem or the edge of a hat or purse.

Fur clips work a bit differently. They have two sharp prongs on the back. They were meant to be worn on fur coats or thick winter coats. An edge was not required to wear a fur clip. The sharp prongs pierce the fabric and the clip is clamped down. Both fur and dress clips were made in the 1930s and were phased out in the early 1940s. I do not know why they fell out of favor. Possibly it was decided that brooches did much of the same things and were just more versatile.

Shoe clips were sold in pairs and were made to change the look of a simple pair of pumps. There were many designs of shoe clips, using rhinestones, filigree, enameling, leather, fabric, and more. They could make a shoe very dressy or could simply provide a bit of design interest. Shoe clips were a frugal idea if one had only a single pair of good shoes.

The clip itself has a horizontal folded-over piece of metal with small prongs underneath to keep the clip in place. I remember as a child seeing shoe clips on cards in the department store shoe department. They were made from the 1920s until the 1970s. And why did shoe clips disappear from the stores? My guess is that shoe manufacturers preferred to sell more shoes rather than the less expensive shoe clips!

Glove clips haven’t been sold in many years. They were a great idea which saved many a lady and her gloves from being separated. Glove clips had a clip on one end which attached to a ladies purse strap or belt. The clip on the other end was where a lady clipped her gloves when coming in from the cold.

They were somewhat decorative but their function was to keep the gloves from being set down and lost. Glove clips were very useful and I can’t imagine why they are no longer available Even though ladies wear gloves only as protection from the cold and not as part of an outfit, they would still be useful in the winter. Glove clips disappeared in the 1960s to 70s.

Sweater clips were a real fashion statement from the 40s to 60s. They went hand in hand with the ladies cardigan sweater. The two clips had two to three inches of chain between them. The most stylish way to wear them was to throw the cardigan over the shoulders and use the clips to keep the sweater from falling off. This represented a bit of casual cool to a spring or summer look.

The clips were decorated in many ways: pearls, Lucite, enameled designs, florals and sports themes were used. They could be found in sterling silver or a less expensive metal. Sweater clips were functional and pretty at the same time. They were one of many accessories available to fashionable ladies that are no longer available. Along with the beautiful compacts and decorative refillable lipstick tubes, all the clips I have mentioned made shopping and dressing so much fun.

Come to Mrs. Beadsley Vintage Jewelry to see dress clips, fur clips and all of the other clips I’ve discussed here. These vintage pieces from the past can make any outfit unique and attention-getting! And they are wonderful as gifts, too!

Mrs. Beadsley is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Friday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Call 505.795.6395 with questions. The shop is at 2101 Trinity Dr., Suite G, in Los Alamos. 

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