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Styling Tips 

How To Style This Quintessential French Girl Piece For Fall

Bretons do it better.

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To us it's a simple striped shirt, but show it to a French girl and she'll pronounce it a marinière: a quintessentially French garment that was first worn by sailors from the Brittany region in the late 18th Century, that was later brought into the fashion mainstream by Coco Chanel's menswear-inspired, comfort-above-all design. Since then, it's safe to say that this shirt, with its laid-back, seaside-resort charm, has secured a spot in almost every French girl's capsule collection, with icons like Brigitte Bardot, Jean Seberg and Jeanne Damas rocking the Breton stripe with their own nonchalant touch of je ne sais quoi.

Luckily, you don't have to be a French national to pull off the striped look, but it never hurts to brush up on tips and tricks for styling one. First of all, there are more versions than the classic blue-and-white Saint James design, which isn't always the most flattering. And if you're wary of the widening effect that horizontal lines sometimes create, remember that it's not about avoiding the pattern altogether, but finding the right cut, color and stripe width to suit your shape: narrow stripes that sit close together on a well-fitted shirt will be more flattering on a curvy figure, whereas stripes with varying width or direction can add shape to a body that's more straight up-and-down.

Now that we've dispelled the stereotypes regarding stripes, here are 5 très chic ways you can rock your marinière this fall, from the classic Parisian to the just-got-off-a-speeding-motorcycle rock chick:

Parisian Chic


The striped shirt and trench coat combo is a classic, so much so that it can sometimes come off as a bit basic. To avoid dressing like a carbon copy, make sure that your details are on point: a perfectly fitted trench, stylish but comfortable flats and a chic accessory to add some life to the beige and blue, whether it's a slick handbag, statement earrings or a silk scarf. It's the subtle, unexpected details that'll take you from a standard Frenchie to an up-and-coming-style-icon.
Image: Crystalinmarie.com
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Vince Midi Striped Cropped Tee - $125
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Zara Short Trench Coat - $119
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Anthropologie Demelza Drop Earrings - $38
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The tricolore


Forget your monochrome neutrals: there's a new generation of Parisians who are embracing color in their closets, from hot pink polka dots to bold tiger prints. Whether your usual palette already borrows from the traditional red-white-and-blue of the French flag (or tricolore) or you're just dipping your toes into the broader end of the color spectrum, this shirt is the foundation for the bright look that's emblematic of the new French girl. If you're already bursting with color, we suggest completing the outfit with some polished pieces, like a pair of 3/4-length jeans for that casual fall vibe and some classic Gucci-inspired loafers. Round off the look with some tousled hair for a finish that's casual, fun and the opposite of trying too hard.
Image: Wethepeoplestyle.com
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&Other Stories Bateau Neck Top - $65
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&Other Stories Striped Sweater - $39
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Zara The Real Straight Jeans in Samurai Blue - $70
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Luxe Leather


If you're an admirer of Caroline de Maigret with her trademark messy-hair-and-touch-of-rock look, this will be your to-go marinière look. A supple leather jacket will add that cool-girl edge that the shirt itself may lack, and also happens to be the French-girl secret to staying warm in the fall without compromising on style. For that insouciant, I-just-threw-this-on attitude, try styling this look with a striped shirt in a lighter fabric that's more flowy and less fitted. And if you're going for that edgy touch, add an '80s rock band bandana and some fierce ankle boots to pull everything together.
Image: Usualsuspect.com
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Sejour Leather Moto Jacket - $379
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&Other Stories V-Neck Top - $29
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Madewell Bandana - $12.50
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Put A Chapeau On It


The newsboy hat is seeing a big comeback this season, and we love the added '70s flair it brings to the (already) vintage charm of the striped tee. For a look that's worthy of a #girlboss, pull a sleek black blazer over the entire ensemble, add a structured shoulder bag and swipe on a coat of red lipstick. For the weekend, try pairing it with an structured peacoat and skirt for a sexier vibe – just don't forget to pull up your wool socks.
Image: Lesbabiolesdezoe.com
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ASOS Glamorous Navy Baker Boy Hat - $29
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Lord & Taylor Plus Striped Shirt - $30
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Eloquii Ali Blazer - $100
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Zara Rigid Corduroy Minaudière - $50
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Dress It Up


If a marinière becomes a dress, is it still a marinière? Instead of worrying about the flexibility the fashion lexicon affords, we'll just focus on looking fabulous – after all, seaside stripes are extremely flattering when incorporated into an all-over look. If you're bold enough to power-clash, try pairing your striped dress with a light graphic print (or gingham, for the more vintage-inclined) that is in the same color family so doesn't overpower, whether this be on your bag, your shoes or a light jacket. But if you'd like to keep the look a bit more refined, a classy, block-colored shoulder bag with some beautiful detailing paired with a fashion-forward sock-boot will do just fine.
Image: Tifmys.com
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Eloquii Striped Tee Dress With Tassel Hem - $100
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Maje Romancer Fit & Flare Dress - $325
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ASOS Warehouse Striped Shirt Dress - $64
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Eloquii Fit and Flare Dress with Frill Detail - $135
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Cover image: 
Usualsuspect.com
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