What to Wear With Black Mary Jane Wedges?

Hi Deborah,

What do you think of Mary Janes, and what can I wear with black Mary Jane wedges? Thanks, Helen

Hi Helen,

I can’t say I’m a big fan of Mary Jane style shoes because they look very “school girl”  for a 40+ gal. They were originally made for children and they bring back memories of kindergarten days. However, I’m a big believer that you should wear what makes you happy, and I understand that comfort is often the priority. There’s no denying that Mary Jane shoes for women are quite popular these days, especially since many of us are starting to have foot problems.black suede mary jane

How to Pick the right Mary Jane

If you are going to wear this style, go for a high quality shoe like these black Mary Jane Wedges by Ecco.  I like them because they’re:

  •  well made
  •  finer looking than many of the clunky, masculine looking Mary Janes out there
  •  suede, which is softer and more elegant than shiny black patent Mary Jane shoes, which can look juvenile.

Here are a few more women’s Mary Jane shoes that are more on the refined side.  The ones with an angled strap gives the shoe a more contemporary look.

What Should You Wear Mary Janes With?

I find Mary Jane’s  look best worn with pants, however they do not look great with skinny jeans or capris. ( They give you duck feet)

What about wearing them with a dress or skirt?  In this case they’d typically be worn with tights. The tights, the shoe’s rounded toe, the strap across the top of the foot all add scream junior school. Plus, wide straps across your feet make your feet look wide, visually shortens your legs and makes you look heavy, especially if you carry weight in your lower half.

If you want to wear them anyway, then be mindful that you aren’t wearing anything too frilly or ruffly or sweet that would add to the little girl look. Keep things sleek and sophisticated up top.

modern mary jane

Here’s a pair I found with a modern twist. These taupe suede Mary Jane   much more  interesting, feminine and sophisticated than your traditional Mary Jane. The strap is unique and the toes is a little narrower which makes the shoe look more mature.

What are the other flat or low heel daytime options besides Mary Janes? …You can’t go wrong with a ballet flat or a classy wedge with no strap. They work with everything.


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  1. I am not a fan of Mary Jane style shoes. However, I have seen much worse. You said not to wear them with a skirt. In the winter, I noticed a very fashionable woman wearing them while shopping. She wore them with dark tights and a slightly above the knee cord skirt. A fitted cardigan topped the look off. I thought she looked great and comfortable.

  2. Katherine says:

    In response to Julie’s comment that chic shoes are not “Available in the specific, specialty size I need (for example, I wear a size 8 AA width shoe. Hardly anyone but the “frumpy specialists” and athletic shoe makers make those.)”, I have to disagree!! Just do a web search for sites which carry narrow width shoes: http://shoes.about.com/od/womens/a/narrow_shoes.htm has links to several. The Zappos site alone has 25 pages of AA width shoes in women’s sizes in every kind of style.

    My shoe size is 8AA with an AAA width heel (good luck finding much in that size combo, although they do exist!) and I’m currently wearing a pair of Charles David pumps in size 7.5B which fit like a glove: I find that European shoe brands or styles generally fit much narrower than North American ones.

    While I can’t offer any insight on individual foot pain or comfort, since those are so subjective, I have to agree with the Glam Gals – the Mary Jane wedge looks unflatteringly like something a schoolgirl would wear and there are more flattering, comfortable, supportive options.

  3. While they “scream high school” good quality Mary Janes are among those few styles of shoes that those of us with foot pain problems can often turn to as a shoe that is comfortable and that offers proper foot support. And it’s also one of the few styles we can wear with dresses.

    The reason some of us wear things that seem unfashionable or “woefully clueless” is because they address or prevent a problem that the “chic stuff” doesn’t or can’t. I’d love to wear “chic shoes” at all times, but the reality is that few of them are a) Comfortable b) Good for my feet or c) Available in the specific, specialty size I need (for example, I wear a size 8 AA width shoe. Hardly anyone but the “frumpy specialists” and athletic shoe makers make those.)

  4. Thank you Deborah! I forgot to say that my Mary Jane wedges are backless- I guess you could call them mules. Any way I really appreciate your advice & will wear them with pants!