Hi, my name is Alison and I love striped tops. I regularly share striped tops in the capsule wardrobes I create because I find them so versatile and more elevated than a solid tee. I love them even though I am a curvy woman with a full bust; wearing what you enjoy is always flattering. I own over a dozen Breton striped tops and have owned even more over the years that have disappointed me. Below I share what I believe to be the best Breton striped shirts and marinières for us grown women.
Don't take it just from me, a Breton striped shirt (also known as a marinière) is a classic piece of fashion worn by some of the greatest style setters over the past century. It can look tough or traditional, fit the stylings of a prep or punk, and looks great on individuals of all ages. A striped shirt doesn't go out of fashion, and can play nice with other patterns.
This post was originally published in 2020, but updated for 2023 with styles of Breton and striped shirts that are in stock and either I own and love, or receive fantastic reviews from friends and folks in the Wardrobe Oxygen community.
What is a Breton Shirt?
Before I continue, I want to discuss the term Breton shirt. In 1858, the French Navy introduced a heavyweight indigo-striped shirt for its uniform, otherwise known as the Breton or the marinière. The stripes were chosen so sailors could be easily seen if they went overboard. The 3/4 sleeves and boatneck were so the shirts could be easily removed and waved as a flag during an emergency. Originally made in Bretagne, that is how the shirt got its name.
The original Breton shirt had 21 stripes to represent Napoleon’s 21 naval victories over the English. The Act of France which instituted this uniform stated, “The body [of the shirt] shall have 21 white stripes, each twice as wide as the 20 or 21 navy blue stripes.”
Many in the apparel and fashion industry have taken the name for the original Breton shirt and use it for any two-color striped pullover knit top with sleeves but it is important to know where this term came from and why some shirts have that name and others do not.
The Best Breton Striped Shirts for Grown Women
To determine the best Breton striped shirts for grown women, I was looking for quality fabric that can hold up to years of wear and washing. I desire classic Breton-inspired stripes instead of creative mixes so it stays stylish and stays in your closet for a long while. I also wanted a range of sizes and silhouettes as we grown-ass women aren't all a size 6 and aren't all the same shape.
The Best Long-Sleeved Striped Breton Shirts
Joules Harbour Top
The Harbour Top from Joules is a classic heavyweight jersey striped top with slim long sleeves, a slightly curved hem, and a boatneck that is so well designed it won't show your bra straps. Available in sizes 2-22, I find this shirt runs a bit narrow, but doesn't shrink in the wash. Joules carries a range of Harbour striped tops in classic black or navy with white or cream, but also in candy stripes, embellished with flowers, and the occasional stripe with sparkle. The Joules Harbour Top is usually under $40. and shipping is free for orders over $79.
Everlane Modern Breton Tee
Featuring a subtle boat neck, a relaxed dropped shoulder, and an easy boxy fit, the Everlane Modern Breton Tee takes all of the time-honored details of a sailor shirt and adds a contemporary spin. Wardrobe Oxygen readers have shared this is a great weight top that doesn't shrink in the wash. Available in sizes XXS-XL, this 100% cotton top is currently available in three colors. The Everlane Modern Breton Tee retails for $68 and shipping is $4.95.
LilyCoco Long Sleeve Striped T-Shirt
I have raved about this budget-friendly Breton striped top before. Can't stop, won't stop. I don't promote a lot of Amazon fashion, but the LilyCoco Long Sleeve Striped T-Shirt is pretty fantastic. Opaque, not too tight, nicely spaced stripes, this Breton striped tee looks far more expensive than its pricetag. While this top comes in 23 different colors and two sleeve lengths, check before you hit “buy” because not every color is the 95% cotton/5% spandex version I find to be the best. Available in sizes XS-XXL; the LilyCoco Long Sleeve Striped T-Shirt is always less than $30 and available for free Prime shipping.
Appleseed's Simply Stripes Long Sleeve Tee
What I love about a classic striped shirt is you can usually find a quality one in most any size and at most any price. And the Appleseed's Simply Stripes Long Sleeve Tee is a perfect example. A heavyweight cotton, this classic Breton striped top with a bateau neckline receives rave reviews for quality and fit. Available in seven classic colors (and a few novelty colors on clearance), it is available in misses, petite, and plus sizes S-3X. The Appleseed's Simply Stripes Long Sleeve Tee has different prices for different colors but is always under $45. Shipping varies on the price of your order and if you sign up for emails.
Shop Long-Sleeved Breton Tops:
The Best 3/4 or Bracelet Sleeve Striped Shirts
L.L.Bean Heritage Mariner Top
A true classic, the L.L.Bean Heritage Mariner Top is a heavyweight yet soft striped top with bracelet-length sleeves, boatneck, and a relaxed fit that hits at hip length. Always available in navy with off-white stripes or off-white with navy stripes, L.L.Bean occasionally offers other creative color combinations. This striped top comes in sizes XS-3X with petite offerings in XS-XL. The L.L.Bean Heritage Mariner Top is under $50 and shipping is free for orders $50+.
J. Crew Classic Fit Boatneck in Stripe
J. Crew has been selling a version of their Classic Fit Boatneck in Stripe for years. Each year they carry it in white with navy stripes and at least one other version. I own it myself in navy with white stripes; I bought it about five years ago and it's still regularly worn. With a relaxed fit and generous sleeves, this Breton stripe top is available in sizes XXS-3X and looks great tucked in or left out. The J. Crew Classic Fit Boatneck in Stripe is under $50; shipping is free but J. Crew often has free shipping promotions throughout the year.
Saint James Galathee
Saint James is the O.G. for marinière shirts, and the Galathee is is their version that has a more feminine shape. With bracelet-length sleeves, a crew/round neck, and a fitted waist, this is a great choice for those who prefer a tailored striped shirt instead of a boxy/relaxed fit. As someone who owns a few Saint James striped shirts, I find the quality stellar and they look great even after years of wear. Available in sizes 4-20 and a dozen different color combinations, the Saint James Galathee retails for $109 and shipping is always free.
Vinyard Vines Striped Simple Boatneck Tee
The Vinyard Vines Striped Simple Boatneck Tee is a great choice for those who desire a wider neckline that still covers a bra strap, and a lighter-weight fabric that is still opaque. This is a great choice for layering, but looks great on its own. The longer length is great for taller individuals and tucking in. Available in three different colors of stripes and sizes XXS-3X; the Vinyard Vines Striped Simple Boatneck Tee retails for less than $50 and shipping is free for orders $125+.
Shop Bracelet-Sleeve Breton Tops:
The Best Striped Tunics for Grown Women
Saint James Phare Tunic
Get used to seeing a lot of Saint James in this list of Breton tops. I am a fan of the historic, high-quality brand (learn more about Saint James in my review of their Breton tops). The Phare Tunic is Saint James' iconic quality but in a UV-protecting fabric that drapes beautifully and is perfect for travel. With rave reviews for fit over curves, the Saint James Phare Tunic is available in four different stripe colors and sizes 4-20. The Saint James Phare Tunic is $185 with free shipping.
Talbots Authentic Talbots Tee
Each season, Talbots carries a variety of striped tunics called the Authentic Talbots Tee. I have owned several of these over the years and find the heavyweight 100% cotton hip-length top to be beautifully made, a comfortable but not boxy fit, and they hold up nicely over the years. The Authentic Talbots Tee usually comes in Talbots' full size range which means misses, petite, plus, and plus petite sizes XS-3X. The Authentic Talbots Tee varies in price but is always under $80; Talbots charges $8.95 for shipping but often has reduced shipping promotions.
Jessica London Boatneck Tunic
This cotton blend tunic comes in solids but also some fantastic stripes. And with gold buttons on one shoulder, the Jessica London Boatneck Tunic looks more expensive than its pricetag. With over a dozen colors, there are five great stripes to choose from. This tunic is available in sizes 12-42/44. The Jessica London Boatneck Tunic retails for $32.99; shipping price varies depending on total cost of your purchase.
Duluth Lightweight Longtail T 3/4 Sleeve Tunic
The Duluth Lightweight Longtail T 3/4 Sleeve Tunic comes in a variety of solid colors, but also one white with blue stripe version that is quite classic. From a cotton/poly blend, this tunic-length Breton stripe top is opaque and offers plenty of length in sizes XS-XXL. The Duluth Lightweight Longtail T 3/4 Sleeve Tunic retails for $31.50 and shipping is free on orders $50+.
Shop Tunic-Length Breton Tops:
The Best Short-Sleeved Breton Shirts
Boden Short Sleeved Breton T-Shirt
Updated for 2023, the Boden Short Sleeved Breton T-Shirt is an improved classic. A slightly lighter-weight fabric that is better for the warm weather, this striped top has a classic crew neck, slightly longer sleeves, and a length that works whether you want to tuck it in or leave it out. Each season, Boden carries a different variety of stripes and colors in this shirt, but always white with navy or black stripes, and navy with white stripes in sizes 2-20/22. The Boden Short Sleeved Breton T-Shirt retails for less than $40 and shipping is free for orders $49+.
LilyCoco Women's Striped Shirt Short Sleeve Top
I also own the LilyCoco Women's Striped Shirt Short Sleeve Top and find the quality to be excellent, rivaling Breton striped shirts that are three times the price. An opaque cotton blend, it has a round neck, a great length sleeve for us grown-ass women, and a tailored but not tight fit. Available in 15 different colors and sizes XS-XXL, the LilyCoco Women's Striped Shirt Short Sleeve Top retails for less than $25 and is available for free Prime shipping.
La Ligne Striped Val Tee
If you're looking for a quality short-sleeved striped tee that will hold up quality-wise and style-wise through the years, check out the La Ligne Striped Val Tee. This is a truly elevated tee. Made from soft 100% cotton, this is a crisp white shirt with bold black stripes and a slightly roomy “boyfriend” fit in sizes XS-XL. The La Ligne Striped Val Tee is $115; shipping is free.
Shop Short-Sleeved Breton Tops:
As always, I welcome your recommendations! If you've found a fantastic striped tee, do share in the comments and help out fellow Wardrobe Oxygen readers! Also, many of the best items in my wardrobe are from your suggestions. We all benefit from honest reviews from those we trust!