The Mary Jane shoe trend is officially my new go-to for spring
There’s no part of my closet I’ve missed more over the past two years than my shoes. Not to have all of Carrie Bradshaw on you, but it’s definitely the type of obsessive love I usually reserve for pasta with truffles and Sphynx cats. But as I was going through my wardrobe recently, wondering how I had a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear – the typical winter activity of New Yorkers – I realized that it had been more than a year since I bought new shoes. The horror! Even more surprisingly, I wanted my next purchase to be a pair of Mary Jane shoes, a trend that I predict will be everywhere once spring rolls around.
For context, my shoe collection consists mostly of platform derbies, black and white sneakers, occasional gorp-core boots, and lots and lots of loafers. Ultra girly, I’m not – give me an oversized masculine silhouette and Tevas sandals any day of the week. Still, I kept thinking about how cool the Mary Jane resembles style mavens like Zoë Kravitz and Camille Rowe when worn with a pair of wide leg pants and a button down shirt, or even a 90s style strappy dress under a boxy tee. It didn’t read girly or delicate – it actually looked quite modern when styled that way (i.e. without a full midi skirt and pussy-bow blouse). The balance between feminine and masculine appealed to my sartorial senses.
Plus, there’s something decidedly simple about the shape of the shoe. In a fashion climate currently obsessed with embellishments and ruffles, a simple silhouette (closed tone, little to no heel and an ankle strap) feels like a breath of fresh air. Maybe it’s because I crave fewer superfluous outfit details in my thirties, but a Mary Jane looks like a design that will, quite literally, stand the test of time (it exploded in popularity in the 60s) and is therefore a closet staple. It just took me a little longer to get there – like swapping vodka for gin in your martini.
So, like any fashion sleuth worth their salt, I discovered the pair that my lifelong muse, Kravitz, wears all the time: a buttery soft goatskin pair from The Row. Is this an incredibly luxurious option for the Mary Jane? Indeed, it is. But the beauty of this shoe classic is that you can find it in so many materials, from velor to canvas, which means you don’t have to break the bank to join the trend.
Believe me, even if you’ve never given the humble Mary Jane much thought before, it might just be the wardrobe refresh your ankles are craving for spring. Here are some of my favorite options – plus how to style them for the upcoming season.
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I love The Row’s Ava style – the Olsens make a great shoe – so if you’re looking to invest in the Mary Jane trend, this is a comfortable, classic option. A red or burgundy pair is also a fabulous way to inject color into an otherwise monochromatic or minimalist outfit. Vibi Venizia has been a fashion girl favorite for years, and at just under $100, the brand is a very affordable way to test out the look.
It’s a never-ending quest to find the perfect pants – high waisted, slim fit, pleated, with a nice hug in the butt area. Your new Mary Janes will give a nice contrast to the masculine style, without resorting to a heel (I’ve heard rumors of stilettos coming back, but I’ll believe it when I see it). Whether you prefer a timeless neutral or a maximalist print, the silhouette will pair perfectly with the feminine shoe.
Slip Dress + Diapers
Take a page from Kravitz’s fashion book and try pairing your Mary Janes with a bodycon dress. There’s something about the decidedly sexy silk style worn with a girl’s shoe – an ode to your past but with a much more feminine presentation. Until the weather warms up, try adding an oversized blazer or loose sweater on top and a pair of thin cashmere socks on the bottom.