Mary Janes: If Bottega Venetta Says It’s In, It’s In

Written By: Kayla Lazarovic

If the Paris runway declares that Mary Janes are back and more fashionable than ever, they are back and more fashionable than ever. Designers from Khaite, The Row, Bottega Veneta, and others featured their unique take on the classic shoe design during their f/w22 collections. Bottega Veneta has completely reshaped the silhouette of the child-like shoe with the use of shiny leather, thick silver hardware, and a curved high heel. The row went a different but intriguing path by stud the heel of the shoe with gems and leaving the rest of the shoe looking clean and minimal.

Rewinding to the 19th century, it is apparent that the Mary Jane shoe style was often seen on younger children comparably to the demographic that wears them today. In fact, this style was most popularly worn by young boys. The name “Mary Jane” was created when the Brown Shoes Company licensed the name from the Buster Brown comic series that was made by R.F. Outcault. The name was inspired by Buster Brown’s companion in the series, Mary Jane. As children’s clothing was more formal than today’s childrenswear, Mary Janes were a go-to shoe for a regular day.

In the 1920s, the Mary Jane shoe style underwent certain design enhancements for the new target cohort to be met. The most noticeable change was adding a heel to the shoe. Mary Janes were notably excellent dancing shoes and were all the rage in jazz clubs. As hemlines started to rise, people could start to appreciate the different colors and patterns that were available in the Mary Jane shoe. Many versions of the Mary Jane were admired, everything from loud stripes to shiny black, and two-toned colors were available. During the ’20s, the Mary Janes were the flapper’s go-to shoe. This is evident today, as many people working in theatre still use them for the performing arts.

The silhouette of the shoe changed once again in the 1960s which goes to show that classic fashion pieces never truly go out of style. The most famous model at the time Twiggy rocked a thicker 3-inch Mary Jane in an advertisement shoot for Mary Quant who is credited with the creation of the mini skirt, another fashion classic. This time around, the shoe had a bulkier look, and a thicker platform, and this was more noticeable with the bright-colored stocking often accompanying the shoe at the time. 

Sometimes it can be tough to expand your shoe collection and wear something other than your go-to sneakers, we all experience this. Adding a pair of Mary Janes to your wardrobe is something you will not ever regret. They are extremely versatile and surprisingly simple to style. Whether you are going for a casual look with a white tee and pair of blue denim jeans or a more street-style vibe with cargo pants and a leather jacket, the Mary Jane shoe is perfect.

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