How to wear the breton striped top?

Picture me writing this article from my native île de ré, feet in the sand, nose in the wind (“le nez au vent”) and breton stripes over my bikini.

You don’t believe me? Well, ok, île de ré was last weekend, and I am currently writing way too late, on my parisian bed, my laptop panting and growning whilst providing me unwanted heating, my breton striped top thrown next to me. Glam over.

Taping THE question.

What exactly are breton stripes?

“Thin horizontal stripes” says the dictionary.

Ok. In order not to write you an ocean about this, let’s consider only white, cream, navy and black striped breton tops here.

Their shape will remain simple in order to make the breton stripes what it is for a french girl: an absolute wardrobe staple.

We even have a name for it: “la marinière”. So from now on I’ll call it this way. (Oh and I’ll also call it “her” I feel so sad calling using neutral).

Even if basic, she adds some style to the most basic outfit.

However she is striped, she matches everything: prints, colors, styles…

1/ Denim

Sure it was the first thing that crossed your mind.

To make the oh-so-easy pairing of denim and la marinière more creative, add some thin jewels, red lips or nails, a big belt, roll the sleeves, tuck/half tuck…

Death by elocution

Use different colors and shapes of jeans.

2/ Black leather

La marinière has the magic ability to casualize a sexy mini leather skirt or a rock biker jacket.

Use her as a secret weapon when your outfits feel to daring.

Polienne making her marinière interesting with a side knot.

3/ Natural suede

Fashion me now

The far west suede encounter sailors of the Atlantic. Those two casual personalities are of course a match!

4/ Colors

Lucky us, the classic marinière matches ALL colors.

a/ Neutrals

Et pourquoi pas Coline with black and a hint of yellow

Here, note how this simple outfit is made interesting thanks to the jewels, the belt, and the funky bag. 

b/ Colors

Whether pastel or bold, warm or cold, all colors get embellished by a classic marinière.

Mademoiselle Virgule making her pink look less girly with her marinière. 

5/ Jewels

The secret to make basics look designer is accessorizing!

Good news, necklace look great on stripes.

So do other jewels next to them.

Sophisticated, arty, ethnic, boho… all styles suit la marinière.

And to quote Inès de la Fressange: “wear your diamonds on your marinière rather than on your night gown” (because we all have diamonds as best friends, don’t we?)

Angy’s tearoom

Sort of diamonds

6/ Prints

Graphic prints such as black and white stripes go with almost every other.

a/ Floral, natural

As seen at des petits hauts

b/ Leopard

When low key meets provoking

Sincerely Jules

c/ Tartan

Posh prints just love family meetings.

Mathilde Warnier

d/ Dots

So fresh, so quirky.

e/ Vertical stripes

Pay attention to use different width of stripes.

The lovely Juliette Kitsch

7/ Accessories

A colored bag, a beautiful scarf, a crazy pair of shoes, eccentric glasses… when you start with a basic, go crazy!

8/ Mini skirt and everything sexy

When well behaved meets flirty.

You could also layer a lace thin top over a thin marinière.

The gorgeous Julia Sarr

And if your crave for mariniere is big, you can own more than one. Why not buy a designer version?

Like this cute pearly interpretation from Claudie Pierlot. 

(hey, junkies, got more marinière fix over there).

My selection:

I let Charlotte wave you au revoir!

Cover collage: Juliette Kitsch, unknown

6 Responses to “How to wear the breton striped top?”
  1. Christine Baily says:

    I am traveling to Paris, Honfleur, and the Loire valley. Where is the best place to find a Breton shirt?

  2. V says:


    2 associations ont particulierement retenu mon attention ^^.
    J’aime l’idée d’une marinière ” exhausteur” de bijoux… Une pièce forte si la tenue est plutot basique.
    Question : il me semble que les exemples cités ci-dessus produiraient les mêmes effets avec des (chemises à ) rayures verticales, non ?! Des écueils en particulier ?
    Une belle soirée

  3. Smithereens says:

    I get your point. It would be better to say what NOT to wear with the Marinière…
    Also, do you have an opinion on the horizontal stripes making you look bigger / fat?

    • Aloïs Guinut says:

      Yes they kind of do, but the thinner the stripes, the most discreet the effect.

      • Lisa says:

        A top that includes stripes of different widths (as a classic mariniere does) seems more flattering that stripes of equal widths, to my eye. Does anyone else find that? Personally, since I have fairly broad shoulders, I tend to avoid wearing striped drop-shoulder styles. Overall, I love this look and enjoy wearing striped tops/marinieres a lot. Thanks for the great inspiration photos!
        I love your blog! I’m way over here in Canada but hope to meet you one day in Paris!

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