How to Style Mary Jane Shoes

Posted by Pavers Blog Team on

How to Style Mary Jane Shoes

Mary Jane shoes are classic, loved for their traditional style they are the ultimate footwear choice that will form the base for many an outfit. Once worn by children, Mary Janes found their start as flat shoes, but these days you can find them with various types of heels to suit a range of different occasions from smart to casual, like Mary Jane heels, wedges, and flats, plus sporty Mary Jane trainers too!

As there are so many variants of Mary Jane shoes available, they are the perfect shoes that can be worn with just about anything. So, whether you’re looking to go smart or for a more laid-back option, Mary Jane shoes make a versatile and reliable choice to wear for every causal or smart occasion, season after season. 

When it comes to footwear, we’ll never say no to a new pair of shoes especially if they are comfortable too, and where Mary Jane shoes are concerned, they are a trusted favourite for comfort and style because their easy to fasten straps promise a secure and adjustable fit.

Before we uncover the best ways to wear Mary Janes this season, let’s take-a-look at the story behind the shoes and how they have grown to become a favourite footwear style over the last century  …

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What are Mary Janes?

Mary Jane shoes, also known as bar shoes, are a classic footwear style amongst ladies. They have a vast history, starting as a smart shoe for children, the Mary Jane rose to popularity in the 1920s, traditionally made with black leather and a short heel, they were a footwear staple amongst ladies of the era.

Fast-forward to today and Mary Jane shoes are still as popular as ever. Thanks to their classic status, these shoes have often been reinvented to suit modern trends, so you can find styles like sporty trainer pumps with elastic straps and Mary Janes with bright coloured uppers and block heels for a fun take on the traditional styles from over a century ago.

What do Mary Jane shoes look like?

Made with a low-cut closed toe, a flat sole or a heel, a Mary Jane shoe is characterised by a strap that crosses over the instep or the top of the foot and is secured either with a button, a buckle, or touch-fastening point at the side of the foot. 

If we step back to their beginning, Mary Janes were once considered a smart shoe that would have traditionally been made from leather, these days the shoes are recognised for their strappy silhouette and updated with bright and bold colours, a range of heel heights.

Where does the Mary Jane Shoe Get its name?

Mary Jane shoes got their namesake from Buster Brown, an American comic strip from the early 1900’s, created by Richard Felton Outcault. Named after the character, Mary Jane who wore matching flat black shoes to her brother Buster, her style of shoe became so popular that they were re-created by the Brown Shoe Company and sold across America, affectionally named after the well-loved character.

Are Mary Janes in style?

While Mary Jane shoes may bring back memories of your school days, there’s plenty to be said for their classic look, because they’re the kind of shoe that will never go out of fashion. 

If we look back over the decades, it’s clear to see that Mary Jane shoes have constantly been updated and reinvented to suit the styles of the moment. So, you can be sure that Mary Jane shoes will not only pair perfectly with the outfits that you already own, but they’ll give a modern (and comfortable) update that your wardrobe is craving, regardless of whether you’re dressing for smart or laid-back occasions. 

Wearing Mary Janes with trousers

One of the main benefits of wearing trousers is how versatile they are, there are so many options you can take your look, because of that Mary Jane shoes are the perfect partner to wear with your trousers and jeans.

Style Tip: To help your Mary Jane shoes stand out, make sure the hems of your trousers sit neatly above your shoes, this way it will help your shoes be noticed in all their glory and prevent the appearance of baggy trousers at the ankle.

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Smarten up

For a smart look, a pair of slim-fitting trousers pair well with traditional leather Mary Janes, opt for classic colours like black or navy to give that smart sign off, finish the look with a buttoned-down shirt, and throw on a jacket or blazer in the colder months. 

A pair of flat Mary Janes are the perfect option for all-day comfort, look for a pair with cushioned leather insoles and extra flexible soles as this will keep will you on your feet for longer.

Laid-back style

A pair of jeans are the ultimate outfit builder because they make a great foundation, for more casual days like weekends, wear blue denim with a striped Bretton t-shirt and brightly coloured pair of Mary Janes. Go for white trainer soles to give your outfit a modern and sporty inspired twist. 

If your jeans are a touch too long, fold them up for a stylish turn-up.

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Wearing Mary Janes with dresses

Wearing Mary Jane shoes with dresses is the perfect outfit for smart occasions like parties and weddings, the shoes will keep you feeling comfortable thanks to the secure and adjustable strap. Look for a pair with a heel as this will give the appearance of a longer leg. 

Be sure to stick to dresses and skirts that are longer in length, below the knee works best, as this will give a more elegant look.