It's weirdly versatile and celeb-approved.

By Samantha Sutton
Jun 30, 2020 @ 4:30 pm
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At some point in mid-April, I went on a shopping spiral. I was tired of wearing pajamas and sweats day after day, and suddenly felt the urge to add joyful pieces to my closet — bright colors, puff sleeves, anything with a bow. I impulse bought two pairs of white ankle socks (one even included ruffles), and with them, black Mary-Jane shoes. Originally, I'd been inspired by the rise of '90s shoe trends, but considering my new(ish) aesthetic was definitely whimsical, I could easily picture this combo completing all my outfits.

In many ways, white socks and Mary-Jane shoes can seem somewhat...juvenile. I'm well aware. I, too, imagine this fashion choice on small children from the 1950s, and associate it something you'd see on a baby doll, possibly from American Girl. But, my purchase actually ended up getting celebrity approval a few months later, when Zoë Kravitz stepped out in her own white socks and black flats from The Row.

Babydoll shoes are happening, people. And, you don't have to pair them with a ruffled dress, either.

As Zoë has proven, white socks and Mary-Janes can add something extra to a simple shorts look. The pairing is an unexpected choice when wearing a summer sundress, and weirdly enough, I've seen photographic evidence that it can be fancy, too.

Aside from being thrilled that this somewhat strange obsession of mine is actually a thing, I have a feeling that babydoll shoes will continue to pop up through the rest of 2020. It's time to prep and see all the ways white socks and Mary-Janes can be worn, so check out a bit of outfit inspiration, ahead.

First Things First: What Are Babydoll Shoes?

I refer to the white socks and black Mary-Janes as 'babydoll shoes' because I've definitely seen this combo on so many dolls. Personally, I have no problem dressing like I've walked right out of an American Girl catalogue. If it's good enough for Princess Charlotte and Kate Middleton, it's good enough for me.

They're Quite the Throwback

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I tend to picture babydoll shoes being worn by children from the 1950s, styled with poufy dresses or shorts. However, so many vintage designs have come back in 2020 — twin sets, pilgrim collars, etc. — that it makes sense these socks and shoes would, too.

Zoë Kravitz Has Been On Board With This Trend For a Bit

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While her shorts outfit definitely made her Mary-Janes stand out, she also wore them with jeans back in October. Now we know this look works in colder weather, too.

Shop Similar Shoes: Moschino Logo Heel Mary Jane Pumps ($560;

Janelle Monáe Is a Fan, Too

Between the pleated skirt and the tie, her whole ensemble from Thom Browne's Fall 2020 show was very 'school girl' — and, honestly, I can't wait to copy it.

Shop Similar Socks: ASOS Design 3 pack ankle socks ($13;

And, Let's Not Forget Harry Styles

You'll need to zoom in, but those aren't black-and-white shoes. They're actually Gucci Mary-Janes and white socks.

This Combination Took Over the Runway

Credit: Daniele Venturelli/ Getty Images for Gucci

Aside from popping up at Gucci's Fall 2020 Menswear show, APC featured it for Spring 2020.

Babydoll Shoes Look So Cute With Dresses

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They really pop against a somewhat simple, neutral look, but at the same time, tone down voluminous, colorful designs.

Mary-Janes Come in Many Different Forms

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A heel version will make this pairing seem fancier.

Shop Similar Shoes: Charles & Keith Croc-Effect Pointed Toe Mary Jane Sculptural Heels ($49;

...As Well As Different Colors

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Obviously, you don't have to stick with basic black. There are plenty of ways to style an eye-catching red or metallic pair.

Shop Similar Shoes: Roger Vivier Viv Mary Jane Velvet Ballet Flats ($750;

They Can Also Be Dressed Up

Especially if you swap out your tube socks for a sheer, ruffled, or eyelet pair, which are a little less bulky.

Shop Ruffled Socks: ModCloth Just You and Eyelet Socks ($5;

Tights Can Create a Babydoll Shoes Look, Too

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You may have seen this particular combo on Lucy Boynton in The Politician. It's a good one to keep in mind for the fall and winter.

Shop Similar Tights: Hue Women's Opaque Tights ($15;

You Don't Even Need Strappy Flats

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A pair of ballet flats or loafers styled with ankle socks is essentially that same cutesy idea.

Shop Similar Shoes: Stuart Weitzman Gabby Flats ($295;