Can une femme call 'em or what? According to this article in The Wall Street Journal, "sailor shirts" are poised to be one of 2010's hottest trends. (h/t to Frugal Scholar from comments here, thanks Frugal!)
Fashion lines from Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci to Esprit and Comptoir des Cotonniers are bringing out the nautically inspired stripes for spring women's wear, and menswear designers including Michael Bastian and Burberry Brit are also going with the look. It's based on the boat-necked French marine pullover, which is traditionally worn by low-ranking sailors as they swabbed the decks and hence known in France as a marinière, or sailor-style, shirt.
This cyclical interest has long been a boon to Saint James, the French company that has made marinière shirts and sweaters since roughly 1850*. It makes a variety of styles for men, women and kids today, but the traditional men's sweaters come in two versions: The trim one known as the "matelot" is priced at $170. The "binic" is more generously cut "for if you enjoy life—if you are a little fat," explains the French Manhattan store manager, Brian Lebretton. It's priced at $215.
The slideshow that accompanies the article also illustrates that women with curves can wear these tops and look good (see esp. Elizabeth Taylor pic).
I ordered two different marinière tops, one from LL Bean, featured in last week's post, and one of the Saint James tops (this one, the "Huitriere") from BrittanyBoutique.com. I chose this style over the "traditional" one for the 3/4 sleeves and shorter length, and I'm happy with this choice. The fit is good, not too snug or baggy, and it seems to be a very well made piece. The fabric is sturdy, 95% cotton/5% elastane. This top is a good length for me at 5'1", so might appear more cropped on someone taller. Though pricewise it's not cheap, it's not anywhere near as expensive as some of the "designer" versions, and feels hefty enough to last. Here's the Saint James "Huitriere" top, styled for lunch with La Belette Rouge.
I'll post a review and pics of the LL Bean top next week.
*Had the article's author taken a moment to look at the label or tag on the sleeve, she would've seen "depuis 1859."