Mary Jane Shoes for Women: Choosing Comfortable Shoes that don’t Sacrifice Style

History of the Mary Jane

Mary Jane shoes came into existence in the early 1900s. They came into the fashion shoes as comfortable children shoes which had a strap around the front. The name Mary Jane was coined from a cartoon character created by Richard Felton Outcault called Buster Brown. Mary Jane was the younger sister of Buster Brown.

1950s mary jane shoes

The classic Mary Jane has seen a lot of transformation over the years. From the early 1900s when it came into existence to the 1920s where it was included in the flapper ensemble, to the 1990s where it evolved to have low heels of 1 to 5 inches, the Mary Jane has been an evolving part of female fashion.

How to wear the Mary Jane

Mary Jane shoes were worn easily with trousers. They made an extraordinary outfit look simple. Some adult ladies even opted to wear their Mary Jane’s with socks, although this looked very childlike, it showed a certain kind of confidence and free spirit.

Bar shoes, as they were called, due to the single thin strap that ran across the front of the shoes, became a stylish fashion for both men and women alike. These shoes over the decades have been spotted on the feet of a number of celebrities; from Twiggy’s schoolgirl look in the 60s created by Mary Quaint where she wore the miniskirt, long socks and classic Mary Jane shoes, to Courtney Love’s look in the 90s where she recreated the same 50s look, giving it an extra sexy appeal. In the 30s, it was Shirley Temple taking over the screens with Baby Takes a Bow, where she wowed the world with her look, and in the 60s John Kennedy also wore the same Mary Jane shoes as he laid his father to rest.

Variants of the Mary Jane

The popularity of the Mary Jane has seen different decades of growth. Currently there are different styles of the Mary Jane available to suit individual preferences:

How to wear the Mary Jane

  • The 1950s pumps were the most popular shoes. Due to the effect stilettos had on wooden floors, pumps were the more preferred options. They gave the beautiful fitting, like the stilettos; with shorter heals of about 4 inches at most. After the struggle with the thin high heels, ladies opted for the much shorter kitten heel shoes. They were a lot more comfortable and still maintained the classiness of the pumps.
  • The next popular shoes were the ballet flats. They were extremely low and comfortable. They became an all-time favorite when Audrey Hepburn was spotted in them.
  • The ghillies were also created in the 50s by Capezio and Bernardo. They were a classy lace up version of the ballet shoes. Some people considered them to be the result of a fusion between the Oxfords and Ballet shoes.
  • There are the ones with the squarish front, making them a bit more comfortable for professional use and others have heels as high as 3 inches that can be very suitable for different events.

Fashion saved the 1950s from gloom after the period of war in the 40s. Dresses, accessories and hairstyle took a totally different turn and became a lot bolder while shoes became simpler.

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