Style

Tee Shirts with Ruffles on the Sleeves

I can’t resist a tee shirt with ruffles on the sleeves. Whenever one catches my eye, I can’t help but take a closer look. I purchased this particular style from J.Crew about four years ago. It complemented my A-line skirts so well that I ended up with several of them: one in navy, one in pink, one in black with ecru stripes, and three in ecru with navy stripes. I’ve kept my eyes peeled for similar styles over the years, and I have to say, I haven’t found many that meet my standards. Actually, I’ve only purchased one other similar style (the J.Crew puff sleeve tee) since 2016. Pay attention to the details, no matter how small, when developing your personal style. You’ll become known for them.

Works Sighted

J.Crew ruffle sleeve tee (old); Grace Karin vintage pleated A-line midi skirt (black)Margaux Demi flats (platinum)

Further Reading

Mango frill sleeve T-shirt (black); New Look frill sleeve T-shirt (white); River Island short sleeve v neck frill T-shirt (white); Alexander McQueen ruffled poplin-trimmed cotton-jersey T-shirt (black); Alexander McQueen ruffled poplin-trimmed cotton-jersey T-shirt (white); Victoria, Victoria Beckham ruffle sleeve cotton T-Shirt (white)

Shopping in Paris

One of my favorite parts of traveling abroad is curating a selection of souvenirs for myself. My recent trip through virtual Paris has led me to the online shops of numerous French brands and museums: Chanel, le musée d’Orsay, and Saint James to name a few. Clothing, shoes, and accessories refresh my wardrobe, while books that provide a contextual layer to my understanding of the sights I’ve seen serve as sources of comfort. The next best thing to being abroad is being reminded of the time I’ve spent outside of my home country. Also, I couldn’t resist a virtual day trip to le château de Versailles—not exactly in Paris, but close enough by RER C.

Works Sighted

Le Guide du Louvre; Eric Bompard classic v-neck pullover (navy); Toulouse-Lautrec L’expo; Sézane Sara pendent chain and pendant

Le Louvre: Le palais à traver les siècles by Guillaume Fonkenell; Saint James Breton shirt (marine/neige); Longchamp le pliage top handle bag L (black); Veja campo (white/nautico); Château de Versailles galerie des carrosses tote

Louvreuse Olga croco (black); Miss Dior eau de parfum; Diptyque Eau Duelle eau de toilette; Chanel ballerinas (black); Le Guide Musée d’Orsay; Hermès boucles et galons du tsar wash scarf 90 (blanc cassé/noir)

 

J.Crew Martie Pant in Bi-Stretch Cotton

The J.Crew Martie pant came into my life in March 2018. I acquired eight of them that year for fear that the design would be discontinued. (I’d suffered through the discontinuation of the J.Crew Minnie pant and wasn’t looking forward to repeating the experience.) Aside from the two linen trousers that I bought this past March, these are the only pants in my wardrobe. About two months ago, I realized that all of my Marties had expired except for one. I embarked on a quest to replace my beloved little black pant. (For the record, I also wear it in navy.) In an attempt to broaden my horizons, I tried on other pants from brands that weren’t J.Crew. Long story short, I’m now the proud owner of six new pairs of my favorite style.

I found the current version of the pant to be slightly longer than the version I’d purchased back in 2018. Cuffing the hems of the legs under once seems to do the trick…even though the little vents at the bottom disappear. I liked that I could wear the older version (pictured) with or without a cuff. The Martie pant is very comfortable on account of its stretchy composition (cotton/viscose/elastane), but it also retains its shape. I’ve worn them to work, on transatlantic flights, and for every occasion in between. They pair well with blazers, sweaters, button-ups, tee shirts, sneakers, and flats. This is the definition of a wardrobe workhorse.

Works Sighted

J.Crew Martie pant in bi-stretch cotton; J.Crew striped boatneck T-shirt; Loft blazer (old); Superga 2750 Cotu Classic Navy

Black Tights

To say that I often wear black tights during the colder months would be an understatement. I wear them almost every day (when I’m not wearing my J.Crew Martie pant—more on that later). I used to wear tights in different colors when I was younger, but then I became partial to navy and black. I still wear my navy tights occasionally, but the black ones definitely get more use. To the girls who go out in winter with bare legs, écoute bien. Being cold isn’t becoming.

Once you determine which brand of tights suits you, you’ll have to figure out how to style them according to your body shape. For me, black tights pair well with above-the-knee woolen skirts and booties. I often wear these three items in black along with a top in a dissimilar color. I also like to wear black from head to toe with a skirt in a hue that stands out.

Works Sighted

J.Crew puff-sleeve top (old); Loft Outlet ponte skirt (old); A New Day 50 denier tights (black); J.Crew Factory suede booties (old)

The Breton Shirt

Named for the French region of Bretagne, the Breton shirt (or marinière) as we know it today was born in the mid-19th century. Fishermen in northwestern France wore Breton sweaters for protection against the elements, but a decree of 1858 established it as an official component of naval uniforms. The body of the standard-issue tricot rayé had 21 white horizontal stripes (20mm in width) and 20-21 blue horizontal stripes (10mm). There were 15 white stripes and 14-15 blue stripes on the sleeves. The term Breton shirt is now used to describe a wide range of cotton shirts and wool sweaters with any number of stripes.

Although we have some insight into the shirt’s history, a great deal of it remains shrouded in myth. The striped pattern may have been intended as a sort of marker in the event that its wearer fell into the ocean. The 21 stripes may have been symbolic of Napoleon’s victories against the British. I don’t suggest that you start counting and measuring the stripes of every shirt you come across. There are endless variants of this style. I recommend Saint James for the most authentic shirts. The brand has been around since 1889, and it still supplies marinières to the French Navy today. Amor Lux and Orcival are also viable options.

As long as you stick to Breton tops made of cotton or wool in classic colors, you’re bound to choose wisely. Don’t limit yourself to the three aforementioned brands. It’s best to get a decent overview of your options before buying multiples. I determined that there are at least 14 Breton shirts in my closet, and most of them are from J.Crew. All of them, except for one, have been heavily worn for many years. This reliable wardrobe staple pairs exceptionally well with slim black pants.

Works Sighted

J.Crew striped boatneck T-shirt; Warby Parker Durand glasses (Whiskey Tortoise)

Bibliography

The ultimate symbol of French cool (BBC)

A Classic in Stripes (New York Times)

How the Armor-Lux Breton Stripe Became King of Summer Layers (Inside Hook)

The History of the Breton Shirt, from Sailors to Chanel(Condé Nast Traveler)

From Coco Chanel to Alexa Chung: A Brief History of the Iconic Breton Stripe (StyleCaster)

Packing for Paris

Paris is my second favorite city (surpassed only by London), and I’m heading there now. Goodbye Palombara Sabina. Thank you Nonna Angela and Mariana for my incredible stay. Let my virtual trip around the world continue! Here’s my itinerary of Airbnb Online Experiences:

My virtual suitcase is packed. Allons-y!

Works Sighted

J.Crew Factory schoolboy blazer; J.Crew 2011 icon coat; Italic Annie mini trunk bag; Cuyana alpaca scarf (heather light grey)

Everlane modern Breton tee; J.Crew Martie pant (navy); Veja Campo

J.Crew striped boatneck tee; J.Crew Martie pant (black); Margaux Demi flats (cerulean)

Eric Bompard classic V-neck pullover; Grace Karin vintage pleated A-line midi skirt (black); Margaux Demi flats (black)

Hinson Wu Isabella White Stretch Cotton Tunic; Grace Karin vintage pleated A-line midi skirt (navy); Repetto Lou ballerinas (lux patent leather beige)