Browsing Tag Mary Janes

Fashion – Womans Footwear

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Fashion Scene 2

Get on the good foot

‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ – or so the song goes. Well basically, they got that badly wrong. Ask most women and I think they’ll reply the thing that really does it for them is shoes.

For those of us with a penchant for 60s styling, shoes are a vital component of any outfit. How fortunate therefore that our favourite decade offers up more varied and colourful designs than you could shake a go-go girl’s hip at. So in our continuing NutsMag women’s fashion series I thought it was about time we paid tribute to the key styles that keep us Mod types on our toes!

The slingback

Since it’s summer, lets start with the Slingback. So called because the ankle strap forms a sling around the back of the heel and is fastened with a buckle or a button. The style has been around for a couple of decades but the shape of the shoe and the heel look changed in the 50s to a kitten heel with a pointed toe. In 1957 Chanel introduced the two-tone slingback which was beige with a black toe-cap a design which shortens the foot and lengthens the leg. This classic style endured throughout the early and mid 60s with a kitten, block heel or a completely flat ballet pump style heel. The toe would classically be pointed to lengthen the leg and the foot. A square toe with a buckle or the shape of an oversized buckle. They are particularly flattering when worn with a full skirt that falls just over the knee – it makes your calves and ankles look much skinnier.

Ballet flats

Flat shoes were a big deal in the 50s and 60s. Ballet flats are a girls style staple especially those of us that loved Audrey Hepburn’s look in Funny Face. But it was another screen siren that kicked off our enduring love affair with the dance shoe style. Former dancer Brigitte Bardot is said to have requested that French dance shoe atelier Repetto make her a pair of sturdier pumps for everyday wear in red and they have been popular ever since. This easy-chic shoe is available everywhere these days – in patterns and prints and bright primary colours.

Mary Jane’s

The original strappy type shoe – the Mary Jane is so named after a character in a turn of the century comic book. Mary Jane was the brother of Buster Brown and both of them wore this style of shoe which is still popular today. In the 60s the Mary Jane was adapted with double and sometimes triple strap version with both round and pointed toes. Usually a Mary Jane would have a bit of a heel – generally a block heel balances out the shoe best but flat versions were also popular to add a baby doll charm to an outfit. Apart from traditional black, red, white and blue were popular. Variations so such as flowers or circles as well as lace-ups sections at the front and cut-out patterns and rivets marks in the leather.


Much like the Mary Jane – loafers go back to the beginning of the century. But they became particularly popular in the 1950s among American students sporting the ‘Ivy League’ look. It was around this time that the term Penny loafer was ‘coined’. Apparently students took to slipping a penny in the diamond-shaped slit on the front of the loafer. The iconic loafer brand of course is G H Bass who brought out their ‘Weejuns’ design way back in 1936. The design itself apparently is based on a Norwegian farm shoe hence the US slang term ‘Weejans.’ In 1966 Italian designer brought out a loafer with a metal strap across the front in the shape of a horses’ snaffle bit, which have had many imitations over the years. The loafer saw a big resurgence in during the mod revival and two-tone era as it exemplified that smart but casual look and perfectly captured the androgyny of Mod for women.


Boots were a big deal in the 60s. Chelsea boots were iconic in 1960s London and were so-named because of their association with the fashion boutiques of the Kings Road. Vinyl boots, either ankle length or coming up to mid-calf were also popular particularly in white. Sometimes they would have a buckle strap coming across the top. The toe would form a soft point or a chisel effect. They were often called ‘space boots’ as they looked like the boots that astronauts used to wear. Vinyl boots with their high-shine were so popular you could even buy vinyl socks to match your shoes so they looked like a boot. In the mid to later 60s the boots got chunkier looking and lengthened and the block heel more pronounced. The so-called Go-Go boots were named as they were often worn by Go-Go dancers with their short dresses.

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Claire Mahoney

At the age of 13 mod made perfect sense to me. I liked the look and the attitude - but most of all I liked the music. Secret Affair was my entry point, but they were soon playing second fiddle in my affections to The Jam. Paul Weller, of course, proceeded to break mine and many others hearts in 1982, when he put an end to that particular musical roller coaster – but what it meant was that, uninterested in anything else that was happening in music at the time, I had to look back. I was lucky enough to be given two plastic bags full of 60s 45s by my uncle who used to stock the jukeboxes back in the day. Their contents included a number of Stax originals, plus the Who and the Small Faces, as well as Motown classics from The Four Tops and the Supremes. So, when Phil Collins charted in the mid 80s with 'You Can't Hurry Love' it was nice to be able to say: “I've got the original of that!” It became quite an irritating habit of mine over the years. These days I still enjoy discovering new, old music, be it soul, rnb or jazz, as well as witnessing mod taken another turn among today's youth with bands like The Strypes. My day job as a journalist means I am lucky enough to be able to write about music and modernism now and again. Other than that you'll find me mostly on the dance floor or on eBay still looking for that perfect A line dress.

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July 8, 2015 By : Category : Articles Fashion Front Page Style UK Tags:, , , , , , ,
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