Photo by Salt Water New England

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Classic Striped Mariner Shirt

SAINT JAMES Breton Tops from Arthur Beale, Made in France - Photos by Salt Water New England

A Reader Question:

The classic striped mariner shirt is often a must-have staple for many that can be worn year-round. I would like to know from the SWNE community their experiences regarding the  purchasing of these items. Please consider tops in both knit and sweater varieties. Sizing? Quality? Vendor preferences? 

Muffy, as always, thank you for your continued efforts on a blog I know we all greatly appreciate. 
SAINT JAMES Breton Tops from Arthur Beale, Made in France


 

13 comments:

  1. The traditional Breton fisherman's sweater is navy blue, and has a buttoned shoulder. Brands include Armor-Lux. Be warned, the wool is quite rough, as befits a working man's hard-wearing garment.

    https://www.armorlux.com/en/fisherman-jumpers/3275-plain-original-fisherman-jumper.html#/taille_al-0/coloris-navire

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  2. A fine garment, made to endure!

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  3. I continue to add St. James shirts to my collection. There's nothing quite as good when it comes to a striped shirt.

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  4. Saint James appears to have few stockists outside France. Armor Lux, its main Breton competitor mentioned in the first post, is available in department store, boutiques and chandleries across the UK. In general, it offers comparable quality at a similar price level.

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    1. French sizing is very different to British and American sizing. Check the size charts on the Saint James and Armor Lux websites before buying. If you don't, you may need to return a garment that is much too small.

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  5. Last time I was in Paris, I shopped for them in second hand shops. No digging required, they are plentiful and so easy to spot on a rack.

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  6. We spent two glorious weeks traveling around Brittany a few years back. It was great; truly France's "New England." It's odd that American's tend to bypass it. The Brits love it however, and descend upon it in droves during the summer. We had several folks say we had an "odd" English accent, and asked us where in the UK we were from! Back to the shirts: they were all over the place; locals and alike tourists wore them. You could buy them everywhere. Saint James is very good, but the locals we talked to always recommended Armor-Lux. That said, you could buy them everywhere, in various colors and thicknesses. My wife came back with about 10 different shirts!

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  7. Ahh, a favorite topic! Here is an article about the best brands of “marinières”: from Goudron Blanc: https://goudronblanc.com/blog/mariniere-homme/3574/ (it’s in French, but I believe it’s pretty obvious it’s a list of the best. I own 20 of them ( they’re almost my lockdown uniform as of late) and my go-to brands are Le Minor, Orcival, St James, Armor Lux, the Breton Shirt Company (UK), and even Seasalt (UK). ~ Ole Brumm from an iPad

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  8. Orcival and Armor Lux, that’s it in our closets here and in France.

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  9. Since when to articles of clothing have to have proper noun names?

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  10. I know from Vilebrequin that French sizing runs ridiculously small, so would someone who wears a 48 Long suit (6'2" & 200 slim pounds) need a XXL or XXXL? Thanks.

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  11. Some great sources for Bretons

    Seasalt Cornwall (UK company)

    Joules (also UK, although they have a presence in the US and on the European continent.) Usually I dislike wearing things with any visible label but I make an exception for these tops (also I like the small rabbit logo.) For ladies they often have Breton striped dresses as well.

    Boden (presence in the US, UK, and on the European continent)-- a bit thinner material than the others mentioned above-- great for layering, and they also do short-sleeved Bretons which are nice for summer.

    I wish L.L. Bean would bring back the French sailor shirts-- those were also great Breton-striped tops.

    --EM

    --EM

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  12. I own the exact Breton in Muffy's photo with the pink shirt and I would absolutely recommend Saint James. Purchased mine at the Salvation Army for $3 - couldn't believe my luck! I wear it at least once a week and love the versatility. The cotton is soft but substantial.

    I have never had an issue with fading, it looks new. I usually iron just to keep the hem in check (it rolls a little). I roll the sleeves as I have long arms and they hit me in a funny spot when unrolled. I would say they are oversized. Mine is a 34 and I am usually a 6 or Medium in tops, my Saint James is very roomy but extremely comfortable. Great option if you want sweatshirt comfort with better style.

    I can't vouch for other brands, but I'm planning on ordering a Breton stripe sweatshirt from Joules in the near future.

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