I can’t remember the first time I bought Mary Janes or where I wore them. What I do remember is securing the buckle, shimmying my socks just so, and feeling ready. After a hiatus of a decade (give or take), all the best Mary Janes—from demi-heel versions across DTC brands to the cult-favorite Margiela Tabi topped with a Mary Jane buckle—are making me fall back in love with the style. There’s a bona fide fall 2022 shoe trend happening here, but the prep-meets-Parisian shoe never really went anywhere. Cassie Smart, head of womenswear at MatchesFashion, says her team has always gravitated toward Mary Janes, regardless of whether they’re on the runways.
“The effortless chic of the Mary Jane style is the reason why our clients are drawn to this silhouette year after year,” Smart tells BAZAAR.com. And she has styling suggestions to prove it: They can polish up wide-leg jeans from FRAME and Chloe as easily as they complement office suit sets like a Khaite blazer or smart shirting from Raey and Toteme, she says.
The designers reinventing Mary Janes best in 2022 are drawn to their sense of history and their versatility. “The BY FAR design philosophy is rooted in the reinvention of timeless silhouettes—and the Mary Jane is one of the most iconic designs ever,” says the label’s co-founder and creative director Denitsa Bumbarova. “The simplicity of the Mary Jane belies a potential for experimentation and abstraction which is integral to [our] design ethos.”
Then there’s a purely practical element. When you’re in the mood for knee-high boots, Larroudé co-founder Marina Larroudé says they make tricky transitional dressing a cinch. “Mary Janes have that utilitarian feel, while also being flirty and fun,” she explains. “For fall and winter, I’m planning on wearing them with denim or tights and minis. They will be my go-to’s.” We expect you’ll feel the same about the 21 best Mary Janes ahead, from patent black flats to blush pumps.