Stripes Ahoy!

Une femme has been a bit obsessed with the marinière top lately.

Coco Chanel made it chic, and the look has endured despite those sometimes tricky horizontal stripes . But according to this article from the Guardian, one need not fear them (thanks, Rubiatonta!). Most of the traditional marinière tops have the narrow stripes that create the “ladder” effect which according to Imogen, will draw the eye up and down. Those of us with more curves than Mademoiselle above might want to wear these tops out rather than tucked in.
As with any iconic item, it’s best to avoid a head-to-toe classic ensemble, which can look stodgy. Mix the classic pieces with some contemporary or whimsical touches to keep it fresh and easygoing.
Classic With A Twist - Marinière
Classic With A Twist – Marinière by deja pseu featuring J Crew

Whether you call it a marinière, fisherman’s top or Breton stripe, the look is classic and options in many styles and price ranges are available. (Click on Shopstyle images below for more info.)

Topshop at ShopStyle

Asos at ShopStyle

When it comes to any iconic item itself, une femme generally believes in sticking to the most traditional colors and patterns (in this case white or cream with a navy or black stripe). However if one is assez mince (as their sizing is très petite), the brown and grey Petit Bateu version shown in the Polyvore below is an interesting option. (Click on image for more info.)

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27 Comments

  1. December 28, 2009 / 1:46 pm

    What a comprehensive post! I like these shirts and i love a boatneck, they tend to always work on me. I like your parisian montage from j.crew!

  2. December 28, 2009 / 2:36 pm

    I buy a couple of the Brittany Boutique ones for Le Duc each year. They are extremely well-made- intended as functional sailing wear. I’m too busy to be flattered by horizontal stripes, but love them on petite women and any size of man.

  3. December 28, 2009 / 6:15 pm

    And Petit Bateau makes the softest most wonderful shirts. I wonder if I could brave some stripes…

  4. December 28, 2009 / 6:56 pm

    I’m always torn…I want a “real” one, yet I only want one that’s tight. So I guess I’ll have to stick to random tight striped tops!

  5. December 28, 2009 / 7:36 pm

    Such an entertaining post. I wish I had the nerve to slip one on, but I fear I’ll look a bit like a barge…oh well, it I find one I just may try it.
    Hope you had a great Christmas, and are ready for a fabulous New Year!

  6. The Good Life in Virginia
    December 28, 2009 / 2:25 pm

    enjoyed your post this morning…am inclined toward the top with more white/cream at the top and the thin stripes. i would probably wear that with some nice navy gaberdine slacks 🙂

  7. December 29, 2009 / 12:43 am

    Even I, short, stumpy, stocky and round can wear a horizontal striped top as long as the stripes are skinny. I also like a top like this with a bateau neck, which tends to make my neck look a teensy bit more swan-like and less pillar like.

  8. Sal
    December 28, 2009 / 5:04 pm

    I’ve had a Breton top in my closet for AGES, and always felt like a jailbird when I put it on! Only just now finding ways to work it in, and loving your suggestions, too.

  9. December 29, 2009 / 1:30 am

    I have wanted to own and wear a Breton style top for quite some time, and wear it on our boat in the summer….alas I am afraid that my ample bosum will appear even more ample!
    I have been lusting after the French line Saint James and will need to revisit the local boutique that carries it and maybe try one on!
    Thank you again!

  10. metscan
    December 28, 2009 / 7:59 pm

    I have to agree with Sal, I too get the jailbird feeling if I pull anything with stripes on. However, I like them on other people.

  11. December 29, 2009 / 4:36 am

    Although this is truly a classic look, I clearly remember that it was very “In” back in the 80’s. I can’t help but feel that this is yet another trend from the 80’s that is being refreshed, just like all the other 80’s trends that are out there right now.

    I will, of course, gladly wear it again!

  12. December 29, 2009 / 6:58 am

    Stripes! So chic! They never go out of style. I’m obsessed: I have at least six striped tees and tops and still looking for a classic Breton one, like those two you posted with the solid part around the collar. And maybe one with red stripes! A definite case of “more is more” here!

  13. Sher
    December 28, 2009 / 11:24 pm

    Thank you! I got the LLBean one. 🙂

  14. December 29, 2009 / 10:51 am

    Really love a breton top – and particularly a boat neck too – very flattering…. Great post as ever…

  15. December 29, 2009 / 2:07 pm

    Tanya – you look fabulous in your striped top! I like the red knitted scarf you’ve topped it with.

    Bonjour Madame – merci bien! I tend to like boatneck tops too, even though they’re not supposed to be the best for a full bust. (I usually wear a necklace or scarf with them to mitigate.)

    Good Life – thank you. That top would look great with navy slacks.

  16. December 29, 2009 / 2:11 pm

    Duchesse – good to know that they are good quality, thanks!

    Sal – let us know what you try with it. I think a top like this would look great with some of your colorful sweaters…

    LPC – Petit Bateau has such lovely things, don’t they? Alas, too small for me, but one can still admire. My son had a PB ensemble when he was little; it was SO cute!

  17. December 29, 2009 / 2:15 pm

    WendyB – I’ve seen some other ones on Topshop and such that look to be more fitted. I’m sure they’re out there.

    Bonjour Romance – I’ll try one if you will… 😉

    metscan – interesting the associations we have with certain designs! I’d always avoided horizontal stipes completely, but may try one of these tops to see how I like it. (Come to think of it, I did used to have a rugby-style top when I was younger that I wore to death…)

  18. December 29, 2009 / 2:19 pm

    Miss Janey – merci beaucoup!

    Sher – Glad to be of assistance!(I’ve ordered that one too. We’ll see how it works…)

    Toby Wollin – you’re right about the narrow stripes. Interesting observation about the bateau neck; maybe that’s why I tend to like bateau necks…my neck is a bit short and thick.

  19. December 29, 2009 / 2:24 pm

    hostess of the humble bungalow – I think the trick with these tops will be fit, one will want it large enough in the bust but tapered a bit in the waist. I’ve ordered the LL Bean version, will report back on how it fits. (I wish Talbots did a version of this in their boatneck, those always fit me fabulously.)

    Imogen – thanks to you, I’m open to trying these!

    Style Artisan – I’m afraid the only tops I remember from the 80’s were the polo shirts with popped collars! Yes, I did it too. :-p But this is a more wearable “comeback” for us than the neon colors, yes?

  20. December 29, 2009 / 2:33 pm

    Aradia – LL Bean has one that’s red with white stripes, and Topshop had a few versions with the solid part at the top, I think. Glad to know these work for you!

    Leanne – my guess is that the Topshop versions might be more fitted. Yes, that’s Mademoiselle herself in the pic. Look at the lavendar patch in the background…don’t you want to just dive in??

    Semi-Expat – Thanks! If this is a trend, at least it’s a wearable one!

  21. Rubiatonta
    December 29, 2009 / 4:24 pm

    I’m with the posters who want taper through the waist! A gentle reminder, though, that the best way to get what one wants in clothing is via alterations. So get the top that appeals to you most, and then trot off to your local seamstress (or even decent dry cleaners) to have it nipped in at the waist as much as you require.

  22. Leanne
    December 29, 2009 / 8:31 am

    I love this look, but have trouble finding a top that is both fitted and has fine stripes. If anyone knows where to get one, please post. I will be forever grateful.

    Pseu, great pic, I’m assuming it is Coco herself?

  23. December 30, 2009 / 5:24 am

    Loving these striped fishermen’s tops! Am reading a fab book at the moment called The Gospel according to Coco Chanel- it is by Karen Karbo is very funny. Loving your bolg as always!

  24. December 30, 2009 / 5:49 pm

    Here in the Bay Area, that look always says “I just took the Alcatraz tour” to me.

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