Ready, Set, Bow! - The History Behind the Mary Jane Shoe

Ready, Set, Bow! - The History Behind the Mary Jane Shoe

mary jane and molly combination

Mary Jane shoes have a unique and interesting backstory of how they came about. Historically, they were worn by both boys and girls starting in the early 1900’s up until the 1950’s and were considered mostly formal attire. The shoes have also been called ‘bar shoes’ because of the strap that lies across the top of the foot and fastens on the other side, usually with a buckle closure or velcro strip. They are revered for their functionality, comfort, and style.

The name ‘Mary Jane’ came from the Buster Brown cartoon in the early 20th century, and its character named Mary Jane. The name stuck, and the shoes are still considered to be a closet staple for many young girls and women both, because of their ease of wear and also for the fact that they are universally flattering.

Over the course of a century, Mary Jane shoes have evolved, mostly to become more comfortable and functional. This is especially true for baby girl and toddler versions, which are synonymous with cuteness and femininity. They can be of the shiny, patent leather variety worn with girly, lace-detailed socks and paired with party dresses, or have more of a matte or leather finish dressed down with pants for a more casual, soft style for everyday play.

Either way, Mary Jane shoes have spanned generations of fashion-forward women and girls. Twiggy made them pop into the groovy women’s fashion scene in the 1960’s. Then, in the 1990’s, Mary Jane shoes resurfaced in the movie Clueless thanks to the main character and fashion plate, Cher Horowitz. She donned Mary Janes with skirts and knee-high tights with mini backpacks throughout most of the movie, creating a whole new trend for young women everywhere. And she was the ultimate fashionista at the time because she captured the essence of style and uniqueness of the decade.

At mooshu TRAINERS, we offer our own styles of fashionable and functional Mary Jane shoes for toddler girls, because we know they are a classic that will never go out of style. Step into cuteness with our Harlow Ultrasuede Mary Jane, or the everyday play Stella Mary Jane, and for dress up, our Ready Set Mary Jane with Bow in beautiful colors that are made to match any outfit.


pink rsb mary janes


As fashion continues to evolve, Mary Jane shoes are sure to follow!

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