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What Makes a Mary Jane a Mary Jane?

April 20 2016 – Adrian Cawley

Mary Janes have been a classic, and popular style of shoe for decades. In fact, they’ve been popular since they were introduced in the early 19th century. But where exactly did they come from, why were they popular, and how are they still popular today?

Back when Mary Jane’s were first introduced, they were originally intended for both sexes. Today, seeing a man or boy wear a pair of Mary Janes might seem a bit peculiar, but, to each their own. Nowadays, the popular shoe style is a big hit among women, and has been that way since the 1920’s.  But how did these shoes make their way onto the fashion scene?

Believe it or not these shoes became a popular fashion choice after they debuted in a comic strip known as “Buster Brown.” It was written and illustrated by Richard Felton Outcault who was known as, “The Father Of The Sunday Comic Strip.” Mary Jane was the name of a character within the comic, as well as Outcault’s daughter.

Upon his Outcault’s arrival at the St. Louis World Fair, many companies expressed interest in advertising in his comic, one of which was Brown Shoe Company. They began to advertise the shoes around the country using actors to portray the Buster Brown characters, and advertised the shoes that later became known as Mary Jane’s.

With Mary Jane’s still holding strong as a popular women’s shoe style, it’s a wonder how a piece of fashion becomes so timeless. Some looks are meant for everyone and every decade, and for that we thank our Buster Brown creator and the genius marketers at Brown Shoe company for bringing this shoe into the world.

Shop our Mary Jane’s at our online shoe store to stake your claim on a piece of fashion history!