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Mary Jane Shoes: An Essential Guide for Women's Style

June 18, 2024


Easily recognized by the straps across the instep, the iconic women's Mary Jane shoes remain one of the timeless shoe styles in the fashion industry. These classic shoes feature a low-cut and closed-toe design.

What are Mary Jane shoes? When you think of this style of shoe, many consider it the quintessential shoe for people to wear with their school uniforms. However, as the decades rolled by, these classic black girl's Mary Jane shoes have undergone stylistic transformations, elevating the theme and going beyond the symbol of girlhood that we once remembered them to be.

In this guide, you'll learn what Mary Jane shoes are, their styles and characteristics, and history. You'll learn their versatile applications along with styling tips so you can walk out in style with that classic look on your feet while trying out the latest avant-garde fashion.

History of the Comfortable Mary Jane Shoes

For many women, the girl's Mary Jane shoes may be the first pair of shoes they have owned or at least seen in stores. Due to the attractive simplicity of their design, many see these shoes as the go-to choice, especially if your parents tend to decide what you should wear when you are younger.

Women's Mary Jane shoes were made popular in 1902, thanks to the Buster Brown comic strip featuring the character of the same moniker. Today, you'll find girls' Mary Jane shoes lavishly updated with new designs to match modern trends. You’ll find some with check prints, chunky soles, or patent finishes, adding to the fanfare of options for customers.


Mary Jane shoes offer many styling opportunities, allowing you to express your individuality and fashion sense. Whether you're going for a classic, bold, or playful look, you can incorporate Mary Janes into your wardrobe.

Comfortable Mary Jane shoes have evolved significantly today, offering a variety of styles to suit your preferred styles. Here are some of the popular options to consider:

Classic Mary Jane Shoes

  • Description: These flats are traditional Mary Janes known for their closed round-toe design and a single, simple strap across the foot. They typically come in solid colors, making them versatile enough to complement a wide range of outfits. Some may feature a single strap, but you can find options with multiple straps.

  • Ideal For: Everyday wear, casual outings, and a timeless, understated look.

Mary Jane Flats

  • Description: These are some of the best Mary Jane shoes today. Known as the "cousin" of ballerina shoes, Mary Jane flats are comfortable and versatile. They come in various designs, including pointed toes, slingbacks, and patterned or quilted finishes. This low-heeled style is perfect for all-day comfort. You can even find barefoot designs for women.

  • Ideal For: Casual wear, daily activities, and anyone seeking a blend of style and comfort. Enjoy the benefits of barefoot shoe styles like natural gait support and reduced joint impact.

Platform Mary Jane Shoes

  • Description: This style adds an edgy twist to the classic design. Platform Mary Janes feature chunky platforms, often with sturdy lug soles and thicker T-bar straps. Some versions include avant-garde and sculptural elements for a more daring fashion statement.

  • Ideal For: Bold fashion enthusiasts, grunge-inspired looks, and making a dramatic impact.

Mary Jane Pumps

  • Description: These pumps combine elegance with the classic Mary Jane look. They feature block heels or stilettos and offer a sophisticated and eye-catching appearance, making them suitable for professional settings and evening events.

  • Ideal For: Office wear, formal occasions, and easily transitioning from day to night events.

Mary Jane shoes offer diverse styles, giving you plenty of options. They're comfortable for any occasion, from casual outings to bold fashion statements, perfect for parties and crowded concerts.



Mary Jane shoes are one of the most versatile styles in footwear. The iconic design can be effortlessly adapted to changing trends. Today, sellers offer various heel shapes, strap styles, and closure types, allowing Mary Janes to suit any look, from vintage to contemporary.

These shoes can easily transition from summer to winter, extending their aesthetic appeal. Depending on your chosen colors and style, Mary Janes can evoke a sweet and feminine vibe or an edgy and punk look. Choose a classic style, and you will bring out your polished and professional glow.

In neutral tones, these shoes work well with classic wardrobe essentials. However, they also go well with bright colors and bold patterns, making them standout accessories. Put them on with your casual denim outfits, or choose the solid colors to match a sophisticated office or glamorous evening attire. The style options are endless!


Styling Tips

As mentioned, there are many ways to style the versatile women's Mary Jane shoes. Here are some tips to consider depending on the vibe you want to portray and the occasion you're celebrating:

The Classic Look

Once you understand Mary Jane shoes, you can embrace their traditional charm with whatever outfit you want to put on. You can pair your flat blacks with a collared dress and ruffled socks–or just skip the socks entirely. This classic combination captures the nostalgic schoolgirl vibe, making it perfect for a timeless, innocent look for serious events and formal occasions.

The Balletcore Appeal

Channel your ballet-inspired elegance by choosing pink or black Mary Janes. Pair them with white tights, a poofy skirt, a fitted black bodysuit, and a cropped cardigan. Sometimes, the best Mary Jane shoes come with a touch of cherry color, attracting eyes in your direction. This chic, delicate style is perfect for those who love a refined, feminine touch.

90s Throwback

Relive the 90s with classic black Mary Janes, a white tee, a denim jumper, and matching scrunchies. This nostalgic outfit brings back the playful, carefree vibe of the decade, making Mary Jane shoes for women the perfect for casual outings.

Serious Look for the Academia 

Achieve a contemporary take on boarding school chic with Mary Janes, a plaid A-line mini skirt, and a textured sweater. The patent nude color goes a long way, matching many outfits for meetings, interviews, and other important gatherings. You can opt for muted tones for a classic look or a playful color palette for a modern twist.

Emo, Grunge, and Goth

Embrace a retro vibe with chunky black Mary Janes, a velvet black maxi skirt, frilly white socks, and a trench coat. This edgy, grunge-inspired outfit is ideal for those who love to stand out with a bold, unique style.

Bold and Vibrant

Opt for colorful Mary Janes to make a bold statement. You can also pair your patent burgundy flats with an all-white outfit to let the shoes shine as the focal point. This approach ensures that your vibrant footwear stands out and adds color to your ensemble.

The Office Look

Elevate your work attire with flat black Mary Janes. Combine them with printed trousers, a sleek silk button-up, and a stylish blazer. This ensemble strikes the right balance between professional and fashionable, ensuring your office look is anything but dull.

Date Night

Pair platform Mary Janes with a fitted mini or midi dress for a more glamorous touch. Add a jacket with your shoes for a cohesive, polished look perfect for a night out.

Cool Casual Look

Keep things relaxed by teaming Mary Jane flats with jeans and a slouchy tee or sweater. Add a blazer or bomber jacket to complete the laid-back yet stylish look, perfect for everyday wear.

The Preppy Outfit

Add a playful twist to your preppy style with Mary Janes paired with a plaid tweed blazer and skirt set. Finish the look with sheer tights for an ensemble of sophistication and charm.


Expert Shopping Advice

Before you shop for your pair of Mary Jane shoes, here are a few factors you should consider:

  • Consider the Occasion: Choose Mary Janes that fit your lifestyle, whether for casual wear, work, or special events.

  • Check Comfort: Ensure the shoes have comfortable insoles and fit well to avoid blisters and discomfort.

  • Evaluate Heel Height: Select a heel height that matches your comfort level and the intended use of the shoes.

  • Inspect Material: Opt for durable materials like leather or high-quality synthetics for longevity and easy maintenance.

  • Style Versatility: Choose versatile colors and designs that can pair multiple outfits for maximum wardrobe flexibility.

Mary Janes offers versatility like no other. The classic vibe provides options to match any occasion and style preference. The next question is, where to buy Mary Jane shoes? Look no further than the style specialists from Origo Shoes. We offer a versatile classic vibe, offering versatility to match any wardrobe. Check out our collection of Mary Janes today or fill out our online contact form, and our staff will happily answer your questions.

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