Got Pollys?

The longer I've performed, the more serious I've gotten about dedicating a pair of shoes to a costume and not wearing them with anything else, no matter how strong the temptation. Once you cannibalize a costume for another costume, you begin the descent into costume hell--"Is the whole costume in the bag?" is not a question you want to be asking in a dressing room right before a show, or even on the subway on the way to the venue. I dedicated a pair of very special shoes to my Sherry Britton tribute, even though they wrong for the era--I knew Sherry would approve.
Costume Fitting
Above: A costume fitting at Garo's.

When I very first started dancing in strip joints (1981? it's all so fuzzy) I saw some of the dancers wearing amazing wood and metal heeled mules. I loved them but the heels weren't high enough for me. I was, in my late teens, excruciatingly self-conscious about being only five feet tall; plus, I drank a lot, which meant I could wear excruciatingly high heels without feeling the excruciation.

I now could care less about my height, and I don't drink, so my feet hurt pretty much all the time. I am so willing to rock those shoes now, and thank goodness, they are still available. These are Pollys, and they have a history.

"These mules, with their laminated plywood platform and high heels were first advertised in Frederick's of Hollywood catalogs in the Spring of 1961, selling for $15.99."
From Polly of California Glamour Mules.

The inspiration for my newest incarnation of my Pollys fixation is Bambi the Mermaid, who wears Pollys almost constantly.

Bunny and Bambi
Above: Bunny and Bambi on the cruise at the 2006 New York Burlesque Festival.

september2008 241
Above: Bambi and Bunny at Coney Island, 2008.

Above: Bambi performing at Exotic World in the lobster costume I made for her. Photo by Minitor.

Bambi Descending
Above: Bambi at a Coney Island Benefit. Photo by me.

Bambi at Exotic World, 2008, making the wind her bitch. Photo by Pepper.

These are my most recent Pollys:
My Red Pollys 

Updated in 2020:

This Etsy shop, Welcome to Pollywood, sells nothing but Pollys:

  Buy Pollys at Patricia Field

If you've got Pollys, post a picture in the comments here!

Posted by Jo Weldon, Headmistress of The New York School of Burlesque, for


Tanya Cheex said…
I also love me some Spring-o-laters! won't let me publish my photo due to HTML constraints!Glad you're back blogging! I got a few things on Candy Pitch right now.
I need the pink glitter ones!
Tanya Cheex
Tanya Cheex said…
Tanya Cheex said…
Unknown said…
I LOVE POLLY'S I have four pairs! Gold Glitter, Copper Glitter, light pink faux snake skin and silver glitter pictured below, photo by Halston Bruce in my back yard!

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