The History of Mary Janes


Charles Jourdan is a French fashion designer who is known best for his designs of women’s shoes and who worked for Dior since 1950s. T-strapped shoes with a middle high hills and buckles became the icon of 1920’s. They are known now as Mary Jane. In addition to straps, shoes were decorated with buckles, bows and sequins. Mary Jane is an American term for a kind of strap shoe or sandal that typically has low heels, broad and rounded closed toes, and a single-buckle strap across the instep and/or around the ankle. Why do they actually call the shoes that particular name? Mary Jane was a name of a comic character created by Richard Outcault. She was the sister of the title character, Buster Brown. In 1904, Outcault traveled to the St. Louis World’s Fair and sold licenses to up to 200 companies to use the Buster Brown characters to advertise their products. Among them was the Brown Shoe Company, who later hired actors to tour the country, performing as the Buster Brown characters in theaters and stores. This strategy helped the Brown Shoe Company become the most prominently associated brand with the Buster Brown characters. The style of shoe both Buster Brown and Mary Jane wore came to be known by her name, Mary Jane.

Classic 1940s Christmas Movies to watch this Holiday Season!

Gather the kids and the grandparents, pop the corn, pour the hot chocolate and gather around the television for a fun family evening this holiday season. These classic Christmas movies from the 1940s are timeless in their entertainment and make for a wonderful family evening together. From old to young, your entire family will be delighted to see some of the most famous actors of Hollywood in these wonderful films of yesteryear. Start a new tradition this holiday season. Instead of going out to see new Christmas movies, why not revisit some of your favorites and learn what the blockbusters were in your parents or grandparents day? Great for a grandparent-grandchild activity, or for sparking conversations about family history, a classic Christmas movie night is a wonderful way to celebrate family and the holiday season.

The Roaring 20s Flapper Girl!

In the 1920s, a new woman was born. She smoked, drank, danced, and voted. She cut her hair, wore make-up, and went to petting parties. She was giddy and took risks. She was a flapper. The Flappers’ image consisted of drastic changes in women’s clothing and hair. Nearly every article of clothing was trimmed down and lightened in order to make movement easier. The outer clothing of flappers is even still extremely identifiable. This look, called “garconne” (“little boy”), was instigated by Coco Chanel. To look more like a boy, women tightly wound their chest with strips of cloth in order to flatten it.9 The waists of flapper clothes were dropped to the hipline. The hem of the skirts also started to rise in the 1920s. At first the hem only rose a few inches, but from 1925 to 1927 a flapper’s skirt fell just below the knee. The skirt came in just an inch below the knees. The idea was that when women walk in a bit of a breeze, you shall now and then observe the knee, but always accidentally!

The shimmer and shine of vintage hollywood stars!

Dripping in diamonds and shimmering in silks, the movie stars of the 1930s and ’40s dazzled on the silver screen. The stars of Hollywood’s golden age were dressed like goddesses — in beads, sequins and luxurious materials. French fabrics that were silver with metal-wrapped threads were used to make these extravagant gowns and dresses. For a gold look, the silver metal threads were gold plated on top. This gave the illusion that the actresses were all clad in jewellery from head to toe. In black and white films, the fabrics gave off a sheen, they gleamed and shimmered. In the early 1930s, velvets, satins, lamés, silk and chiffon were very popular as these fabrics stood out on the silver screen with their impeccable fall and drapery. To top off their over the top looks, diamond jewellery was the go-to accessory in those times. Stars used their own jewelry in films, it showed off their wealth and power. A spiffy sapphire and diamond necklace, a gold bracelet so big it would protect you in a dark alley. On or off screen, it was always important for them to look glamorous. Joan Crawford once said, “I never go out of the house unless I look like Joan Crawford the movie star, if you want the girl next door, go next door”. 

Marilyn Monroe’s style decoded!

Blonde hair, red lips and a beauty spot are synonymous with the Marilyn look. Her full curves had enormous sex appeal, and it seems that this look is making a comeback. The curvy hour-glass figure is quickly replacing stick thin size-zero. Outside of the movies, Marilyn favoured muted shades, such as beige, black and cream, and adored the dazzling simplicity of white. Combined with diamonds, of course. On screen she was much more embellished with the vibrant pink satin gown in ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ and the daringly clingy, tasselled number in ‘Some Like It Hot’. Everyone knows the iconic white dress she flaunted in ‘The Seven Year Itch’ (1955) and many will recognise the shocking dress made of ‘skin and beads’ which Monroe wore to wish a happy birthday to JFK. The dress, which she had to be sewn in to minutes before going on stage, consisted of around 2,500 rhinestones. Marilyn favoured the designs of Emilio Pucci, whose career was launched in 1947 when several of his swim wear designs were featured in fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar. After opening a haute couture house on the Isle of Capri, he became famous for his bold geometric prints and bright colours. Marilyn loved them so much that she was buried in a Pucci dress in 1962 at the age of 36.

How to be a glamorous 1940s classic beauty!

Have you always wanted to be the type of woman who is sultry, exotic, vampy, and just ultra glamorous? Every woman has the potential to appear this way if she wishes. You just need a little guidance to achieve sophisticated, old Hollywood glamour. Here are some suggestions to help with your makeover: 

  • Look for a screen beauty whose style and appearance you admire and are wanting to copy. 
  • 1940s beauty has either long, side-parted waves or shorter pin curls. No highlights, and no eccentric rainbow dyes. A femme fatale’s hair color is always a solid colour.
  • Makeup is glamorous and vampy. Perfect, usually matted with red or maroon lips. Top it of with black mascara and false lashes for added drama. For a cat’s eye effect, use black liquid liner. 
  • As a glamorous 1940s inspired beauty, own at least one vintage dress in a classic silhouette that evokes the charm of Hollywood’s golden age.
  • When out in the daytime, always wears dark oversized sunglasses in a retro cat-eye or big Jackie-O style. 

Finish off your look with vintage accessories like diamond jewellery, decorated hats, long opera gloves and an alluring perfume.

Author: Marina Sobe-Panek

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