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April 6, 2015

The St. James Nautical Breton Shirt

by Anne Paddock

What is more French than La Mariniére?

Saint-James, France – a small town in the Normandy region of France established by William the Conquerer in the 11th century – is where the iconic St. James Nautical Breton Shirt has been manufactured for more than 140 years.

Originally developed as a sweater for the sailors in the French navy who hailed from Brittany (hence the name “Breton”), the original La Mariniére (“the French sailor shirt”) had three distinguishing features: a boat neck, long sleeves, and navy stripes that were perfectly aligned from front to back (making it easier to see sailors who fell overboard) – and 21 of them (reported to signify Napoleon’s naval fleet victories over the British).

St.James_Nautical_Striped_ShirtsNowadays, the St. James Nautical Breton shirt is made in either boatneck or round neck with four sleeve length choices (short, 3/4 length, 7/8, or long) and in more than a dozen color and stripe combinations.

Most of the styles are still made with 100% combed cotton (lightweight, regular, heavyweight) including the classic Naval II – a unisex stripe shirt with a solid white yoke and waist with 16 perfectly aligned stripes in navy, light blue, green, or black or with an ecru yoke and waist with 16 burgundy stripes. Available in 9 sizes (XXS (2) – XXL (20), the St. James Breton Naval II shirt is the perfect classic shirt for the spring or

The St. James Nautical Breton shirt distinguishes itself from other versions in four areas: the quality of the fabric (combed cotton jersey that doesn’t lose its shape), the thread (each batch is tested for resistance, color, and how it holds up to humidity), the stitching, and the attention to detail (the perfectly aligned stripes). These features ensure the shirt lasts for years and years.

The company also makes a slight variation of the Naval II called the Naval II Raye Rouge  (“red Striped”) which has one red stripe among a sea of blue stripes on a white background. A classic looking top, the Raye Rouge is visually striking.St.James_Naval_II_Raye_Rouge

The St. James Breton Naval II shirt can be purchased for $135 while the St. James Breton Naval II Raye Rouge shirt is $145, plus shipping through the company’s website:  The shirts can also be purchased at the St. James boutique at 319 Bleeker Street in New York City. Visit the company website to view other styles.St.James_Stripped_Shirts

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