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Things I Heart: Breton Stripes

November 12, 2009

L-A: As you may recall, I mentioned that my favourite part of Coco Avant Chanel was her Breton striped shirt.  Sure it was an overall good movie, but I’m not kidding about how much I loved her shirt.  It is possibly one of my favourite styles out there. I love it so much it gets it’s own post rather than getting lumped into a Favourite Friday.


To be honest, I didn’t know anything about Breton stripes until a Who What Wear email about the style landed in my inbox.  Apparently it’s the style of shirt worn by fisherman in Brittany.  All I know is that those fisherman have great style and if I had to have a work uniform, that’d be my first choice.

One of the things I enjoy about these shirts is how versatile they can be.  For fall, I love to wear with them with a peacoat (natch.  Navy is standard, but mine is a fuschia-ish colour) and jeans. In spring I like them with khakis and a pair of ballet flats. I also like them with a denim skirt. It seriously goes with just about anything (okay, maybe not quite. But it goes with a lot).

Like finding that perfect black dress or shoe, it is not always easy to find the perfect striped shirt.  It is often imitated, but most of the time, it’s a sad not-quite-right version. The Who What Wear roundup gave me a few leads on where I could go to find these shirts, but it wasn’t enough. So I’ve done some internet window shopping on a hunt to find more. That means it polyvore-fun-time!

breton stripe roundup
breton stripe roundup by FPQT featuring Petit Bateau

Not included in that roundup are two other sites I’ve since found that sell this shirt – one British and one French – and both are pretty much devoted to the French nautical look.  I can get behind that.

I just wish there were more available in our city by the sea. I did find a reasonable facsimile at H&M and Joe Fresh (and bought both).  And I actually stopped in my tracks one afternoon when I saw a navy one by Petit Bateau at Elsie’s Used Clothing on Queen Street.  I’ll admit that I was maybe a little bit devastated to see that it was a very small size small.  I hope one of you runs out to buy it, so I know that it has gone to a good home.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. November 12, 2009 8:54 am

    I didn’t realize this look had a name either. I just think of them as “sailor stripes”. I have a sweater from Joe Fresh too, and a Gap one I got a couple of years ago. I would really love to find a sweaterdress with breton stripes!

    • L-A permalink*
      November 12, 2009 11:56 pm

      I’m the same – no idea they had a real name. It was either a sailor shirt or “boat necked striped shirt”. It’d make an awesome sweater dress.

  2. Eden permalink
    November 12, 2009 4:34 pm

    Eeee! Love them! Wish I could run up to Elsie’s!

  3. auntiefashion permalink
    November 13, 2009 12:17 am

    I have one of those shirts. I wear it with a beret while I ride my bike past the Eiffel Tower with a baguette under my arm.

    • L-A permalink*
      November 13, 2009 10:31 am

      Of course you do! What else would you wear when you take your baguette for a bike ride?

      In all seriousness, I once went to dinner at Paris Las Vegas (but stayed at a sketchy hotel that was probably in an episode of CSI). They had a dude greeting people in the front entrance (Bonjour! to everyone who passed by) and he was wearing a striped shirt, beret and jaunty red scarf around his neck. He also had a bike with a baguette in the basket. Because that is how everyone in Paris dresses! (except for the can-can dancers. According to Vegas, there are lots of can can dancers in Paris).

      • auntiefashion permalink
        November 14, 2009 2:29 am

        Yeah, those guys at Paris Las Vegas are so unauthentic. None of them reek of wine and Gitanes.

        Now I’m curious. Which hotel did you stay at?

        • L-A permalink*
          November 14, 2009 1:17 pm

          There was also zero dog crap on the faux cobblestone streets. Trop unauthentic.

          It was a very sketchy Howard Johnson, far off the strip (saving money as it was an overnight before getting a flight). I expected to find dead bodies in the ice machine or blood stains on the mattress (we worked real hard to avoid touching surfaces).

  4. ledefile permalink
    May 10, 2010 5:22 pm

    We HEART this look too! :)



  1. Nautical Stripe Challenge Day 1: foux de fa fa in the North End « Fashionable People, Questionable Things

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