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The History of Mary Jane Shoes

Mary Janes first became popular in the 1900s when a Missouri shoe manufacturer called The Brown Shoe Company began to market them. The shoes were originally designed with unisex use among children in mind. (In fact, they were named after a popular cartoon character.) A young John F. Kennedy Jr. famously wore a pair of the shoes to his father’s funeral. Despite their original purpose as a children’s shoe, Mary Janes quickly became a favorite among women of all ages. They gained a high level of popularity in the 1960s, as their youthful style paired well with trendy Mod outfits. Since then, Mary Janes have been worn by everyone from a young Queen Elizabeth to supermodel Naomi Campbell. They’ve also appeared in fashion-forward TV shows (Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf famously wore them frequently) and on runways throughout the 2010s. Today, Mary Janes continue to be a popular shoe choice and can be found on many store shelves.

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