Skip to content, or skip to search.

In Her Shoes. And Her Shoes, Too.

Three generations got married in these satin ivory T-strap heels. Mother and daughter Mary and Sarah Harper reflect on the 80-year-old heirloom they wore down the aisle.

So, start at the beginning. Who wore the shoes first?
MARY: My mother, on her wedding day—October 17, 1934. She was married at Saint Catherine of Siena church on East 68th Street. After the wedding, she stored them, along with her dress, in a cedar chest in our home in the Bronx. I discovered them while I was prowling around as a child.

Was it a given that you’d wear them at your own wedding?
MARY: I always wanted to wear something of my mother’s, but we have very different physiques—her dress was out of the question. Fortunately, her shoes fit. My wedding was September 10, 1977, at the Fordham University chapel; I wore them again to celebrate my 25th wedding anniversary. When my daughter, Sarah, picked out her wedding gown, I suggested she wear them, too.

It’s lucky that you all turned out to have the same shoe size.
SARAH: Yes, so it was a no-brainer that I’d wear them. I’ll be married on October 25 at Saint Monica’s church on the Upper East Side, and I’d like to continue this tradition when I have a daughter. Let’s hope she has a size-8 foot.

How do circa-1934 shoes work with a 2014 wedding dress?
SARAH: My gown has a lot of lace and a very vintage feel. It’s also ivory—not a standard white­—so it matches the shoes perfectly. My grandmother passed away when I was 11, and this seemed like a beautiful way to have her with me on my wedding day.

You’ve kept them in great shape.
MARY: I never knew who designed them, to tell you the truth. But whoever it was, they were good. I’ve only had to make one repair over the years. There was a tear on the T-strap of the left shoe, which I pasted over with a little ivory ribbon. I took them to a bunch of shoe-repair shops, but no one would touch them because they’re 80 years old. Not even designers in the theater world. Some things are too precious.

Are they comfortable?
MARY: They’re wonderful.
SARAH: Not too high, with a thick heel that makes it easy to walk around. It was nice of Grandma to break them in for us.