Petit Bateau Breton top

Petit Bateau Breton top



The Breton top. A classic in most French women’s wardrobe.

There are few designs that transcend time, age and trends quite like the Breton top. Fewer still that merit the ‘classic’ label quite so definitively.

Born out of functionality, the traditional cream-with-navy-stripe ‘La Mariniere’ was made the official uniform of navy seamen in Brittany following the 1858 Act of France. Its boat neck allowed sailors to dress quickly; its horizontal stripes (21 – one for each of Napoleon’s victories) to easily spot an overboard shipmate; and its woven cotton could withstand the elements while maintaining a level of comfort.



Petit Bateau Breton top



The natural habitat of the Breton is the French Riviera where Coco Chanel saw it worn by sailors on one of her frequent holidays and adopted it and used it as an inspiration for her 1917 nautical collection. Brigitte Bardot confirmed it as an iconic piece wearing it in St. Tropez in the 1950s.



Breton sweater seated by large yacht





Petit Bateau breton top in St. Tropez market


The Breton photographed in is spiritual home St.Tropez market (a bit coals to Newcastle!). I have bought in the market before however my Petit Bateau version is definitely superior. I had always been a bit ambiguous about the Breton in the past. Maybe I had just not found “the one.”




Petit Bateau Breton top + baby top


I could not resist picking up a mini version for my 10month old grandson.




Petit Bateau breton top in Dior cafe St. Tropez



The Breton top I am wearing in the photos is by Petit Bateau, It is by far the best of the genre. I have tried copies and they have never been as good.  The material is thiner and the shape not as flattering.

All photos by Dee




Also available in the USA.







Linking up this week with Notdressedaslamb. Pop over and check out her blog to see more versions of “how we wear our stripes”.


Disclaimer: The Petit Bateau I am wearing was gifted to me. I chose the style and opinions are all my own. 




  1. 15th June 2016 / 17:41

    Hi Frog

    Yes it is the one I am wearing. It is a heavier jersey so can be worn all year round. It is the original version and similar to the ones they sell in St. Tropez market but better quality and fit. The lighter weight ones they call T shirts.

  2. Libby Wilkie
    15th June 2016 / 18:43

    And…the necklace! I had seen those in several markets in Provence two years ago and resisted buying one. Am hoping they will still be available when I’m there in September. Love the stripes, of course. And, I like your new “about me” over on the right!

  3. Viv Butler
    15th June 2016 / 18:45

    You’re so right, you can’t beat good quality, especially for classics like the Breton look, always chic and so French.

  4. Sue
    16th June 2016 / 00:37

    love this nautical look! And once again—cotton. Hope we can grow some this year.

  5. LesleyP
    16th June 2016 / 17:51

    A timeless classic look which is always admired – the looks suits you Josephine.

  6. Lisa | The Sequinist
    17th June 2016 / 11:41

    Gorgeous, it is definitely a classic for a reason. You look right at home in yours. I love the Petit Bateau ones, and also the Saint James ones. I’m always very tempted by the Petit Bateau dress versions as well; they’re so lovely and easy for summer. xx

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