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The 10 Best Breton Striped Shirt Brands (Marinière)

The 10 Best Breton Striped Shirt Brands (Marinière)

For almost 100 years, the Breton striped shirt (or marinière in French) has been one of the leading symbols of French style and fashion. While it is still the official uniform of French Navy sailors, it now dresses models on haute couture catwalks and can be found in every wardrobe. However, it’s not always easy to find the Breton striped shirt that’s right for you, both modern and authentic.

In this article, we share our top 10 favorite Breton striped shirt brands, as well as a few fashion tips to perfectly match your outfit!

In the form of sweaters, T-shirts, bags, or hats, the marinière has been constantly reinvented for over 150 years. But did you know that before it became an iconic wardrobe staple, it was a military garment? Let’s take a look at the history of the Breton striped shirt (= marinière).

Pattern Breton striped shirt
Pattern Breton striped shirt @Kuleshin (Getty Images)

The Breton Striped Shirt: A Sailor’s Story

Before becoming the symbol of casual elegance, the history of the Breton striped shirt dates back to the 19th century, when this wide white blouse with its boat neck was worn by the lowest-ranking sailors.

It would be a few decades before the first stripes appeared on the undershirts worn by Breton fishermen. This traditional nautical garment, made from jersey, was first and foremost utilitarian, serving as an undergarment.

It was Napoléon III who formalized the marinière and gave it its timeless minimalist style. The decree of March 27, 1858, formalized it as the regulation uniform for sailors in the French navy. The law went so far as to specify the number and size of stripes on these military uniforms: 21 white lines 20 millimeters wide and 20 blue lines 10 millimeters wide!

A Breton Striped Shirt that Became a Fashion Symbol

From 1916 onwards, after spending a great deal of time in the seaside resorts of the Atlantic coast, Coco Chanel democratized the Breton striped shirt and gave it a place on the catwalk at fashion shows, turning this men’s workwear into a work of haute couture for upper-class women.

Following in his footsteps, many other designers took up the codes of this striped knit inspired by the sea. In 1966, Yves Saint Laurent led the way with the Matelot collection, based entirely on these striped motifs. In 1978, at his very first fashion show, Jean-Paul Gaultier also introduced the Breton striped shirt in his own collection, before making it his own signature, even becoming the emblem of his perfume “Le Male”.

A true star of the screen, the sailor suit is now part of popular culture, worn by Brigitte Bardot in the film “Le Mépris” (by filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard), then by Audrey Hepburn in Stanley Donen’s “Two for the Road”.

Today, the Breton striped shirt has become an icon of the “French Touch”, part of France’s cultural heritage and art de vivre, just like the beret and the baguette! Unlike the Anglo-Saxon culture, the marinière is not associated with gay culture in France.

Thanks to its versatile look and casual chic, the marinière has become a wardrobe essential and a great gift idea made in France! Here are 8 must-have French marinière manufacturers to help you make your choice.


Armor Lux / Instagram @armorluxofficiel

Armor Lux is a Breton brand, founded in 1938 in Quimper, and known for its traditional sailor-inspired marinières. But it also makes professional outfits for SNCF (national train company) and Carrefour (supermarket) employees, for example.

Armor Lux manufactures its garments in France (with three national factories), but also in part abroad.

Budget-wise, you should expect to pay between €55 and €70 on average.

Saint James

Saint-James / Instagram @saintjames

Founded in 1889, Saint James is the oldest French brand to produce sailor sweaters and breton striped shirts. Another strong point is that it is the only mass-market brand to manufacture all its garments in France – 100% made in France!

As for price, expect to pay between €65 and €90 for a single item.

Petit Bateau

The third-largest French company specializing in the manufacture of sailor sweaters, Petit Bateau was founded in 1920 in Troyes (a town in north-eastern France). Although Petit Bateau also offers Breton striped shirts for adults, it is best known for its children’s clothing.

La production a lieu principalement en France mais certaines collections peuvent être fabriquées à l’étranger.

The average price is around 70 euros.

Le Minor 

Le Minor
Le Minor / Instagram

Founded in 1936 in Pont l’Abbé, near Quimper, Le Minor is an emblematic brand of Brittany (French region). In 2018, it was acquired by two young entrepreneurs, also behind the Le Flageolet brand (men’s accessories), with a focus on exclusively French manufacturing. Its reputation extends mainly to Japan, where much of its production is exported.

Prices generally range from €65 to €80.


Orcival / Instagram @orcival_france

Orcival is a brand born in 1939 in Lyon, offering men’s and women’s breton striped shirts in both light and loud cotton. Production is 100% French, with prices ranging from 60 to 80 euros.

Marine Nationale 

Looking for a completely authentic, made-in-France sailboat? The good news is that the French Navy has launched its own online store! In addition to marinières, you can find all the clothing worn by sailors on frigates and aircraft carriers (bombers, oilskins, pea coats, etc.).

Prices range from 29 to 119 euros for a Breton striped shirt.

Jean-Paul Gaultier

Jean-Paul Gaultier, the iconic French couturier, is inseparable from the marinière, which has become a signature of his brand. These Breton striped shirts, made in France to preserve the authenticity of local know-how, are produced in Troyes, a historic center of the French textile industry.

The price of the classic model is 175 euros.


Mousqueton / Instagram

Mousqueton is a French brand based in Brittany, renowned for its modern interpretation of sailor style. Founded in 2003 by two Breton coastal enthusiasts, Mousqueton offers casual, robust, and colorful clothing, including women’s, men’s, and children’s sailors.

Although the brand is committed to preserving Breton authenticity through its products, the majority of production is not carried out in France.

A Breton striped shirt costs between €24 and €50.

The Breton Shirt Company

The Breton Shirt Company was founded by a British family with a passion for French style. The brand has been selling marinières in the UK since 1988, in a style characterized by a wide range of colors and a lighter fabric than the jersey cotton usually used.

Production is obviously not French, and prices range from 34 to 50 euros.

J. Crew

J.Crew, a renowned American brand, regularly features sailors in its collections. These pieces combine classic sailor style with a modern twist, suitable for a casual yet chic wardrobe.

Manufactured mainly abroad, J.Crew marinières are generally in the mid-range price range, around 60 to 90 euros, depending on model and season.

Its stripes have a knack for adapting to all seasons. Whether in winter with ankle boots and fitted jeans, or in summer with shorts and a straw hat! But to avoid a fashion faux pas, read on for three tips!


Body-hugging Breton striped shirts are particularly flattering on slim, trim bodies. For those with V or H shapes, a slightly loose version will be ideal, adding volume to the waist. For a fuller figure, a straight cut is recommended to avoid over-emphasizing curves.


The traditional Breton striped shirt is often white with navy blue stripes. However, shades such as gray or beige work well with pale complexions. To add a distinctive element, consider colorful stripes.


A comfortable Breton striped shirt is essential. Choose natural fabrics such as cotton or wool, which are breathable and more durable than synthetics. A quality marinière will maintain its appearance after many washes.

What to Wear a Breton Striped Shirt with?

To show off your marinière, choose a sober bottom. A perfect mid-season garment, it pairs well with a jersey tube skirt or a long skirt in voile or viscose, adding a feminine touch to this rather unisex basic.

Enhance your sailor look for a more urban vibe with a blazer or trench. A trench coat in beige or camel confers elegance, while a navy-blue blazer blends harmoniously with a marinière while retaining its original allure.

As for shoes, that’s up to you (you can try Relance, the made-in-France footwear brand). The androgynous marinière can be feminized with heels like stilettos or espadrille wedges. For a daring touch, opt for boots. For a casual approach, white sneakers are the ideal option with a traditional marinière.

You’re now a specialist in the different brands of marinière, the blue-and-white striped garment that has become the symbol of French style! The main brands of Breton striped shirts no longer hold any secrets for you, and thanks to our advice we hope you’re ready to renew your wardrobe!

Translated into English by Sacha