Known en anglais as the Breton sweater (after the French province of Brittany), la marinière is as French as baguette.
Or fois gras, maybe.
It’s as Gallic as chain-smoking and existentialism.
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 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.
And of course Breton stripes are things that continue to pop up and prance down the runways.
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.
Sailor Shirt, $135
Summer Garden Satin Skirt, $24
Opal wedge leather sandals, $295
Ebury Long leather clutch, $730
Jaisel 18-karat gold-plated ring, $180
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.
Merino and-cashmere blend sweater, $210
Soul Cal Urban Camoflage Combats, 25 GBP
Cynthia Vincent Judy Ballet Flat – Silver, $120
YVES SAINT LAURENT “Muse Two” bag (limited edition ), 1.495 EUR
B-Side jewelry – AR-15 Trigger Two Finger Ring, $195
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.
Mariniere linen T-shirt, $165
Idris navajo sandal, $395
Bongo fringed leather bag, $320
DIEGO PERCOSSI PAPI – ENAMEL GOLD PLATED SILVER EARRINGS, 475 EUR
Product: Barse “Refined Rough” Turquoise Bib Necklace, $390
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.