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What are Mary Janes? How to Style Mary Janes for Every Occasion

 Mary Jane shoes are iconic.

Originally a schoolgirl pump, they are renowned for their traditional, goody-two-shoes look. However, as fashion has evolved, so have Mary Janes; and modern designers have created a style to suit every outfit and occasion.

Despite this, you're not alone if you're unsure how to style Mary Jane shoes. The abundance of takes on this iconic pump has prevented many from reaching for them. People often encounter difficulty when looking for ways to wear this timelessly fashionable shoe style.

If this sounds like you, you're in the right place. Below we've covered everything you need to know about how to wear Mary Janes, so whether you're looking for ways to wear them to the office, a weekend party, or with your favourite denim, read on!


Mary Janes are a flat ballerina shoe style which features a rounded toe and distinctive strap across the top. They were first introduced as footwear for schoolchildren, and as such, their traditional design is black and low-heeled. 

Due to their bar-shaped fastening strap, Mary Jane shoes were originally called 'bar shoes'. However, in the early 1900s, they were renamed due to their association with beloved comic book characters, Mary Jane and Baxter, cementing their place in pop culture. 

Though many footwear styles have come and gone, Mary Janes have proven they're here to stay. Modern designers have adapted the original Mary Janes to deliver a variety of takes on this footwear, including everything from high heeled and platform Mary Janes to multicoloured and multi-strapped styles.

Our beautiful collection of Mary Janes at Rieker has a selection of chic designs for you to enjoy, including black and blue Mary Janes and those with broguing effects. Below, we've covered all the ways to style them to do them justice!


Thanks to all of the options available, Mary Janes can be paired with pretty much anything – whether you're looking to create a formal, laid back, or dressed-up look. They are as versatile as they are trendy and are the perfect way to add an extra pop of style to your outfit. Below, we've covered all the different ways to style Mary Janes.


Mary Jane shoes and trousers are a perfect match. However, if you're going to style this iconic combination, you should choose trousers that allow your Mary Janes to stand out. 

Trousers that are too long will hide your Mary Janes, as will flared pants. With this in mind, it's best to opt for fitted trousers so that you can show off your stylish footwear and give them the attention they deserve.  

All of our Mary Janes at Rieker feature a stylish, subtle heel, perfect for adding a touch of elegance and formality to your look. So, whether you're dressing for the office, a formal event, or even a weekend catch-up, Mary Janes and trousers are a must-have combination for your wardrobe. 


If you're looking for the perfect outfit for a weekend catch-up or an evening get together, Mary Janes and jeans are the perfect go-to.

When paired with jeans, Mary Janes offer a stylish yet casual look that you can dress up or down with accessories. 

As with trousers, you should pair your Mary Janes with jeans that allow your shoes to shine. With this in mind, skinny and tailored jeans will look fantastic with Mary Jane shoes! 

Our Mary Janes at Rieker are available in a choice of chic colours, so whether you're looking to pair your shoes with light, dark, or stonewash denim, we're confident that there's a Mary Jane for you! 


Flares and bell-bottom jeans will bury traditional Mary Janes. However, chunky platform styles will thrive. They make a great alternative to wedges and will give you extra height when you need it.

To style Mary Janes with flares, you should always opt for a platform design or a Mary Jane with a block heel. Styles with thin heels can catch on the inside of your hem, which can cause damage to your pants and potentially a fall!  

This is also the case if your trousers are wide-legged. However, if they are three-quarter length or cut off at the ankle, you can experiment with various styles to create a bespoke look that suits you!


Mary Janes and dresses are arguably the most iconic combination. With so many dress styles and Mary Jane variations to choose from, the possibilities of this timeless pairing has no limits.

Style your shoes with a retro dress to create a truly feminine look guaranteed to catch attention. Dresses with puffy sleeves or a floaty hem look especially great with Mary Janes and create a timeless look that throws it back to the footwear's vintage origin. 

You can style Mary Janes with dresses of all kinds to suit any occasion. Pair them with a more casual dress, such as a smock, a-line, or even a romper, to create a laid-back look that oozes style. Alternatively, if you're dressing for a more formal occasion such as work, pair your Mary Janes with a smart casual or business dress to create a suitable look for the office and after-work drinks. 

Whether you choose a smock, wrap or tea dress, it's important to consider the length. As with trousers, you should choose a dress that allows your Mary Janes to be seen. Midi-dresses or dresses that sit above the knee are a stylish choice that will show off your figure and allow your Mary Janes the limelight they deserve!


You can style your Mary Janes with skirts in various ways, depending on the look you have in mind.

For a formal style that will look great in office environments or at events that require a higher level of formality, pair your Mary Jane shoes with a pencil skirt and tights. Heeled Mary Janes will look especially great with a pencil skirt, providing you with extra height and an overall refined, put-together look. 

If you're dressing for a more casual get-together or an evening with friends, pair your shoes with a playful, bouncy skirt, such as a pleated, tulle, or skater skirt. Platform Mary Janes complement this skirt style perfectly. However, you can pair them with flat Mary Janes or ballet pumps for a more traditional, dainty look.

When worn with skirts, Mary Janes are a fantastic way to accentuate your figure and look great every season. Alternatively, you can create the same look with slingback sandals


Mary Janes with socks is an infamous look, particularly white socks. However, if the school uniform look isn't for you, don't worry: There are various ways to style socks with Mary Janes.

It's important to make your choice of socks count. Opt for embroidered, frilled, or patterned socks for a more out-there look. When paired with skirts or dresses, this is a classic look guaranteed to make a statement. Long socks will create a similar impact and a great way to enjoy this timeless style in winter.

However, if this isn't your style, you can instead opt for footsie socks in subtle tones. They will allow you to wear your Mary Janes comfortably – and no one ever needs to know the socks are hiding underneath!


Mary Janes are a must-have addition to every ladies’ wardrobe. Timelessly chic and ultra-versatile, they can be worn with outfits of all kinds to create a sophisticated, on-trend look.

There are various designs to choose from on today's market, including traditional pumps, heeled, and platform Mary Janes. So, whether you're dressing for a formal occasion, a weekend get-together, or a casual event, there are Mary Janes to suit!

At Rieker, we have shoe styles to complement every look, no matter the season. Looking for more ways to dress up your outfit? Shop our fantastic selection of Remonte wedges! Available in a choice of fashionable colourways and styles, they are the perfect way to elevate your look.