La Marinière

Known en anglais as the Breton sweater (after the French province of Brittany), la marinière is as French as baguette.

"Bah, ouais, allez-y…Moi aussi, j'aime le pull chameau avec la mariniere. Merci…Et bien sur c'est cashmere." Image via jakandjil.com/blog.

Or fois gras, maybe.

Fashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

As ohh-la-la as triple-crème brie. Or BB elle-meme.

It’s as Gallic as chain-smoking and existentialism.

It's said that this distinct, defined, and uniform design--these navy and white stripes--was chosen for its visibility amidst the choppy, murky sea, allowing for overboard young men to be spotted and hopefully plucked from their untimely, watery deaths. Image via TheSartorialist.blogspot.com.

Originally created for the French navy, the uniform was first co-opted by French sailors and mariners and seafarers and fisherman and other nautical men, becoming the iconic marinière, visual metonym for sailor and sea, marin being French for sailor.

The utiliarian uniform was adopted and adapted by Coco Chanel (above) in the early 20th century. Oft-repeated iterations by Gaultier and Galliano keep this look in the lexicon. As does the fact that every woman in France owns several versions. (P.S. Ain't Cooc's chien fantastic? Photo via Paperblog.fr)

The Breton striped shirt came into being following the 27th March, 1858 Act of France which introduced the navy and white striped knitted shirt as the uniform for all French navy seaman. This, I think, is really cool.

Given the smudged and sticky histories of stuff, it tickles me to no end that this one specific thing, this sartorial trope, has the benefit of a birthday, a quantifiable record beyond the quality of its endurance and distinction.

This adorable photo also tickles me to no end.

And of course Breton stripes are things that continue to pop up and prance down the runways.

For Spring 2010, Basso & Brooke offered up several allusive looks. This one is my favorite.

Peter Som sent this number down the runway for Spring, which basically proves incontrovertibly that stripes are the best of the prints to engage in mixology.

The simple, uniform pattern looks amazing paired with florals, leopard print, polka dots, toile, and so on. Here I’ve created a suggested look. Most of us have a floral skirt, great wedges, and some funky jewelry. Go wild.

My second recommendation for this French look pairing requires you to steal those camoflage cargo pants from your boyfriend. They make him look like a tool anyway, you know this. With the iconic striped blouse, these douchey pants make good. Mix dainty and dangerous accessories, for a rad masculine/feminine energy. To say nothing of the Army/Navy marriage. Yes, I am so clever.

For my final suggestion, I’m going for *POP*. In this case, RED is the **. Here I’m proposing a red sari as wrap skirt, but any red bottoms would work just as well, because the those stripes are going to stand out against the red. Though I would suggest choosing a non-knit fabric to contrast more acutely with the Breton sweater or T-shirt. For this particular look, because of the sari and the additional awesomeness of turquoise and red, I’m also throwing in Indian-Indian and American Indian accessories, throwing out mixed cultural references to the mix.

Note: Jak & Jil is a wonderful fashion photography blog run by the lovely seeming Tommy Ton. Likewise The Sartorialist is a wonderful fashion photography blog run by the smart and thoughtful Scott Schuman. All runway images taken from Style.com.

I'll leave you with one final fashion image: Moschino sent this look down the runway for Fall 2010. Long leather gloves! Sunglasses! Cowboy hat! Love.

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3 thoughts on “La Marinière

  1. Have you ever seen the Mariniere that I have had for years? With the flowers cut out of the arms and chest?

  2. Pingback: DIY FTW « Quick, said the bird…

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