I've never met a striped shirt I didn't love, hence the ridiculous amount of stripes in my wardrobe. (And contrary to what The Husband says, I swear they are all very different...) The breton stripe shirt is nothing new, in fact it was first created as part of the naval uniform in France back in 1858, and was later made popular by icons like Audrey Hepburn, Picasso, James Dean, Coco Chanel and Edie Sedgewick. Even as the decades have passed, the breton stripe shirt have stood the test of time, and is now considered a staple item in every fashionista's closet.
Spring and fall are my favorite times of the year to break out my collection of effortless Parisian-style breton shirts, and lately I've been living in them. Some of my most worn ones are the true classics from Saint James, and also the ever so popular Comme Des Garcons PLAY striped tees (which Tieneke also loves). I've also grown fond of Everlane's take on the classic nautical shirt.
One of my current most-worn striped shirts is this red and white one above, the Saint James x J.Crew Slouchy T-shirt. It truly lives up to its name, as even though I purchased it in a size XS, it is still loose-fitting and kind of "slouchy", but not too much. It is definitely true to size, and even though the body is roomy, the sleeves are more fitted. The fabric is light and soft, and absolutely perfect for the transitional seasons.
Tieneke and I are both big fans of Comme Des Garcons PLAY and have quite a few of their signature red-heart t-shirts and long-sleeved striped shirts, which is made from 100% cotton. Above, Tieneke is wearing their most popular striped shirt in white and navy blue with a red heart, which I own as well. They are available in an array of colors, from the original green, red and black ones to the more recent pastel-colored releases. I also have another one in royal blue, which is pictured below. We both got our shirts in size S, but we recommend sizing up one size for a more relaxed fit.
Pictured above on the left, is the Saint James Naval II shirt in white with black stripes, which is unisex and also available in various other colors. It is made from a lightweight jersey fabric and is 100% combed cotton. I love this shirt, as it's such great quality and is quite unique. It's kind of loose-fitting, structured and boxy, with slits on the sides and "almost" 3/4 sleeves. This shirt is heavier than my other breton shirts, and also gives my outfit a more "put together" feel than my other striped tops. Most of Saint James' breton shirts are unisex, but are usually sized according to women's sizes. I'm pretty sure I got this one in a size XS, but I'm not 100% sure.
Here I'm wearing the Saint James Galathee in navy and white. I find it quite similar to the Slouchy T-shirt from J.Crew, as it also has a loose-fitting body and it's made from the same fabric. The main difference is the sleeve length and fit; the Galathee's sleeves are roomier and have 3/4 sleeves. I've also been wearing this shirt a lot, and love pairing it with my high-rise jeans and tucking it in in the front. I purchased it in a size XS, and it's true to size.
Last, but definitely not least, is Everlane's The Heavyweight Tee. Pictured above, third from the left, is this classic boatneck breton top that I purchased last year. Because of the 2-ply heavyweight cotton, this shirt provides a little more warmth and it also feels a little more structured (very similar to the Saint James Naval II). I got it in a size XS (it's true to size!) and in the classic navy and white stripes, although it is also available in other colors. If you've never shopped at Everlane before, give them a go. They are a fantastic company that offers full transparency on the production of their items. Their prices are also very reasonable for the amazing quality you get. (You can browse their items here!)
As you can see, we really are passionate about our stripes and consider a good quality breton shirt to be a timeless classic and a worthwhile investment piece for your closet. Seriously, you'll be wearing them for years to come! If you've been inspired by any of the shirts in this post, you can find all of them in the links below. Aye aye, sailors!
- Get the Comme Des Garcons PLAY Striped Cotton Red Heart Tees here
- Get the Saint James x J.Crew Slouchy T-shirt here
- Get the Saint James Galathee shirt here
- Get the Saint James Naval II shirt here
- Get the Everlane The Heavyweight Tee here
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