MARY JANES: JUVENILE OR LADYLIKE?

When I was a teenager working in shoe shops, I loved Mary Janes, and even got my dad to make me a pair. There was something about that 1960s dolly aesthetic that appealed to me.


I was even attracted to my second shoe shop job by the white leather Mary Janes with pink jelly soles in the window.

My tastes changed when I went off to University to study shoe design, and I became a bit of a loafer girl for a while.

Now Mary Janes are having a fashion moment again, which got me thinking about how to style them without looking frumpy or juvenile. The easiest solution would be to only wear high-heeled Mary Janes, which tend to give a sexy but ladylike aesthetic.

The challenge for mere mortals who can’t live in heels, is to wear flat and mid-height Mary Janes without looking like a school-girl, or your mum.

Here are my golden rules:

  • To avoid an eccentric hippy look, don’t wear them with printed tights.

  • Contrast tights draw attention to the gap between the front of the shoe and the strap, giving an odd visual effect. Stick with tights in tones which are closer to the shoe colour.

  • Wear black Mary Janes with black or dark opaque tights for a sleeker, more sophisticated look.

  • Mary Janes in warmer hues such as tan or red, can look lovely with bare legs.

Plain strapless courts or pumps can be hard to keep on, especially if the leather softens over time and they become loose. The strap across a Mary Jane helps the shoe to stay on your foot and provides an adjustable fit, which makes this style more practical, secure and better fitting than a court shoe.

Thumbs up for Mary Janes, and their ability to stay on when you’re running for a bus!

Try the styling tips above, and let me know how you get on in the comments, or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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