Am I nearly French yet?

I reckon there has to be a French Klaxon that sounds when you become the owner of a certain number of stripe tops.  Especially when there is more than a hint of Breton about them.  You know the difference.  There is one.  It's subtle, but it's significant.  Some scream Francophile.  Others are more Cbeebies presenter.  

It's the shape, it's the colours of the stripes, it's the *sort* of stripe, it's a fact.  It also depends what you team it with, I will give you that. 

And I don't actually truly claim to know which is which as I'm not French and I am convinced this is something they are taught - my money is on via a French Jedi at nursery.  The thought has occurred to me on more than one occasion (plus how to eat croissants without getting fat).  There is something about French women... they seem to ooze easy elegance. I swear they are taught by osmosis from the minute they're born (or it's definitely that French Jedi option). 

But we can steal their style.  Blatant copying is what we need to do to emulate their breezy, chic and effortless style.

Stripe top to start with.  They go with everything.  And seeing as the sun was out yesterday and I came over all Easter, these are the perfect Spring addition to your wardrobe.  I swear there was more than a hint of bluebells, daffodils and lambs (the gambolling kind, not the Sunday roast version - not yet anyway)  in the air.

Starting with a classic from good old Boden who do these so well.  Also an offer on if you buy more than one, if you buy three I think they work out at £22 each?  And there is a plethora of choice when it comes to colours. 

How do I wear mine?  With everything.  Leather skirts, jeans of the smart and scraggy variety, dungarees, with harems and a biker, with wide legs be them cropped or full length.  There are honestly very few outfits these tops can't improve.  Footwear - again, the world is your oyster.  Sneakers, ballet flats, ankle boots, wedges, sandals, OTK boots, court stiletto - I could go on and on (sort of running out of shoes mind)

Long Sleeve Breton £26.50 from Boden in navy 





And in Charcoal 




Another classic from Jack Wills at £34.50  Now the reason this one works for me more than the ones above is that the stripes are equal.  "Huh?" I hear you cry.  The above Bretons (and lots) have one stripe wider than the other.  Whereas, if you've ever wondered why some appeal more than others, I reckon it may well have something to do with this symmetry which I find so much more appealing (I am weird, it has been said once or a fair few times).



Black and white, again equal stripes from the classic breton brand Petit Bateau.  Surely, if in doubt, just buy French? 

Mariniere striped cotton jersey top in black and white was £60 now £36




And the classic midnight blue and off white at a not often seen price for PB Bretons.  Go forth and stock up. 


Mariniere striped cotton sweater was £60 now £34




But the bargain of the season has to from Uniqlo. 

These are a lovely thick cotton with the perfect boxy Breton shape and boatneck.

Striped Boat Neck from Uniqlo £12.90 in navy.



In red.  This looks great with greys or blacks and I also love with khaki. 



A more boxy style at Me+Em.  I love this shape over skinnies.  Incredibly forgiving and ideal to layer a shirt under. 

Stripe Box Tee from Me+Em in black and cream £48




The other option is something more fitted.  Now they call this a layering top but I think if you size up one then it's ideal for wearing on its own.  I love the longer proportions of this - tis perfect for under dungarees (I know I know I said I wasn't going to be wearing them and it's almost sacrilegious mentioning them in a post where I'm attempting to be all things French and chic.  But I'd forgotten how comfy they are... I mean properly properly "who cares if I've drunk my body weight in champagne and have a booze belly" comfy).

I'm going to the Me+Em shop on Wednesday so shall be doing a trying on session so can report back on sizes.  Check out the equal stripes again - just so so much more appealing, no?  Just me?

Stripe Layering tee from Me+Em £48



Moving slightly left of centre with an un-Breton edge now but these are still very much under the Classic heading.  Love the hemline of these.  For me, the most flattering shape to wear over a pair of skinnies.  I adore both shades of these but it would be the red and navy (it is a very dark navy and not a black, I'm sure) that just pips the other one to the post.

Urban Outfitters Textured Breton Striped Top £22




Also there's a navy and yellow version. 



And then I'm going very off piste.  I'm still thinking French.   So we're still a neat stripe but with a mere hint of Breton.  Basically we just mean a stripe.  So it's not really that French at all.  But they're really really cool.  And neat.  I'm feeling the need for neat.

Ashbrook High Neck Jumper in Block Stripe from Finery £49



Another option at Finery is a camel and black.  Classic colours in a classic shape with a twist on the stripe. 

Haycroft Clean Stripe Ribknit Jumper £45



More jumpers at APC and hush.  I love both of these.  Easily wearable now layered with a shirt (either white or how about a denim one?) and a coat.  Perfect for Spring for under a blazer or biker jacket.  Just add a huge scarf until we reach double figures regularly. 

Breton striped silk knit jumper from APC £155 And it's black.. oh ALL the love for this one.  Black pleather culottes or leather peg leg trousers.  Be still my beating little Francophile heart. 




And my favourite jumper (which means it's not really a breton in the slightest) that I have from hush.  I have the black and white striped boat neck and can't recommend it highly enough.  It is quite sheer (you do need a vest under it unless you're into your flashing your bra.  Who am I to judge?) but the upside of this is that it's thin enough to wear under a blazer.  I will admit, it's slightly less "neat" - I think slightly more boho in its knit.. 

hush Striped Boat Neck Jumper in black and white £65


And this season they've bought out a new version in the midnight and ecru. £65




And just like that, we're not so French.  I know that lots of you will think a plain Breton is slightly dull.  I will admit that I love teaming a stripe with a leopard print so this, I couldn't resist chucking in as they've done it for you.  

Ta Dah!

Boden Print Breton £34.50





So I am super sold on these.  Cracked one out today - a ridiculously old H&M one which is now the most random shape ever (not intentionally) but works for layering under my dungarees.  Yes, the dungers are out again, as I mentioned.  I didn't think I'd be wearing them again this season.  I lied.  I LOVE them with the Jemima Vine shoes.  Really think the classic shoe makes the dungarees look much more "grown up" (if such a thing can ever be..) 

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And will this be the season that I finally fall in love with my trench coat?  Really feeling the love for it with this outfit. 

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Black dungarees - H&M
Navy and white striped top - H&M
Trench coat - Banana Republic
Black Edie shoes - Jemima Vine 
Triple disc necklace - Anna Lou of London

And of course, the outfit from Saturday night.  Well, in the end I went with the Preen Line dress which was a complete bargain from Luxe Layers (considering it's still over double the price at Matches!)

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Annette Dress - Preen Line 
Nuria Boots - Iro
Personalised Disc Necklace - Anna Lou London

So we have finally cleared up after the party on Saturday night which was (she says not exactly modestly) a great success.  Well I had a really fab time and hopefully everyone else did too.  

Been all a bit bizarre since then as our poor poor puppy has had to go into the vets for an operation to remove a foreign body from her intestine.  Which was... a stone.  A rather big stone that she's decided to eat. (I will admit I was more than rather relieved that it wasn't half a McDonald's toy as I'm sure I would have been sorely reprimanded for giving her plastic Mario to play with - she also has a Hello Kitty and about ten Minions - as opposed to buying proper dog toys.  Ashamed for being relieved).  She hadn't been herself for a couple of days but they've worked out what it was and she's hopefully on the mend and will be home tomorrow night.

In the meantime I am going to be distracting myself with scraping the barrels of the sales.  You can hear me having a good old dig from where you are, I'm sure.  

Ah now one thing I did want to ask - if you have an amazing local boutique that you think we should know about, please do let me know.  One of the things I want to do this year is start championing those local gems - lots of which are also online so we all benefit.  Would love to hear if you have any near you that you want everyone to know about.  Most sell really unique brands and are often much more cost effective than the big online designer boutiques.   Would love to know your local favourites if you have any.  Thanking you kindly!

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48 comentarios:

  1. I love a good Breton top and like you I prefer the evenly striped ones. However I believe a traditional Breton features 21 narrow blue stripes on a white background.... One stripe for every one of Napoleon's victories! Who knew? Can't beat Boden IMO but willing to try some others, .. Your party dress looks gorgeous btw. Did you keep the Self Portrait one too?

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    1. OMG you learn something new every day. I LOVE that. *goes off to count her stripes...!* I did keep the SP one.. I have a month to decide as I bought it from good old ASOS!

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    2. That is such a great piece of trivia - love it!

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    3. I'm such a loser - I tried to tell someone this gem earlier and couldn't remember how many stripes. Duh.

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  2. I'm a huge fan of the Jack Wills ones - I'm sure I'm not remotely in their target audience (about 30 years too old!!), but the Alburgh breton is just the right shape and length, and the three quarter sleeves suit me perfectly - I'm always shoving my long sleeves up anyway! Feeling the need to stock up in case they ever drop the design... I have a cotton jumper that's almost a copy of the APC one, but from H&M last year. I think it cost me about 15 quid! Great in summer and winter.

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    1. Oh god I ALWAYS miss out on bargains like that in H&M, although am still v smug with my £9.99 dungers purchase! I have arms like an orang-utan so I do prefer them super long - hence I'm looking to try out the ME+Em ones... You just can't beat a good stripe, can you?!

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  3. So lots to choose from. Yippee. Loved your dress over on Instagram, a perfect choice. I'll tell you about our puppy incident when I see you. It involves the husband in his suit without shoes - funny now but not back then. Of course I'd have to champion my little boutique for it's amazing sample sales, we seem to be getting rather a reputation in these parts xx

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    1. We need to know more about your boutique.. Is it online?!

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  4. Love the Boden print top. I have a similar one I've worn and worn. Can you try the cropped stripe tapered trousers on Wednesday from Me & Em and photo please. I'm really hoping to buy. Can you be cheeky and ask for a discount code too?!!!
    Our look lovely in your party dress.

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  5. we have a local boutique called "Lorna Ruby" which is full of little gems, the prices range from quite pricey to very affordable, its way down south in Exeter but if your down here on holiday, take a look PS I'm rather embarressed about the abundance of striped tops in my wardrobe

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    1. I honestly don't think you can ever have too many striped tops, I really don't. Thanks for the info x

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  6. Is it me or do Boden breton tops always shrink to miniature proportions after just one wash? I've had a couple now and they all do it. Joules ones, on the other hand, I find are a much thicker material and keep their shape much better. I just hate the numerous mentions of Joules all over them (embroidered rabbit, logo on sleeve etc). Does anyone know if Petit Bateau bretons are worth the cost, please?
    Jo

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    1. Not just you...I've found that to be true too, and it's put me off buying them again as I bought 4 last year and they ALL shrank, despite me washing as per instructions and line drying too.

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    2. THIS IS TRUE and I thought it was just me eating too much cake. Although, this year I was being smart and bought a 16 (thinking once it shrunk it would fit!) and now it's too bastard big, and that's even after the wash and the dryer...so I think they've changed their sizes slightly?? In other news, Boden also do long line Bretons which are great for those people who like their tops and sleeves to, you know, fit!

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    3. Had same problem with Boden ones the trick is not to tumble dry them, I know pain but it pays as not shrunk any more

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    4. I didn't use a tumble drier to dry mine - don't ever use it for anything other than towels and occasionally husband's underwear!

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    5. Well I think you should all tell Boden as I'm 99.9% sure they'd refund you.. or at the very very least replace... Does it say anything on their website? That's super rubbish really. Hopefully people have let them know and they've changed (the recipe I was going to say.. errr) the fabric.

      I LOVE my drier. Kids school uniform, jamas, undies, I shove it all in.

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  7. If you are driving down through Brittany area this year, you have to stop at the Armour-lux factory outlet outside Quimper. It's huge, not just Breton tops (although they are one of the best French makes for this) but loads of coats, jumpers and other brands eg Terre et Mer. All made in France and they do men and children too, we love it!

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    1. That's a good tip, wish I had known about it when we holidayed just outside Quimper a couple of years ago! Worth remembering... Thanks

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    2. I did keep seeing them when were near Dinan and St Michel a couple of years ago but the husband was never keen to stop. Funny that....

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  8. We have a lovely little gem of a shop up here in Conwy, North Wales - its called Sage and stocks amazing, unusual stuff. Definitely worth a look if anyone visits here...

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    1. Are they online at all? Hopefully that helps someone!

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  9. Hi, I am new to your blog having just found you over on IG, and as I live in France I thought this was a good post to start commenting on! and I loved it from the start, how do French girls stay so slim with all those croissants - they don't snack, it's an absolute fact they just don't snack in between meals, I am sure that has so much to do with it. Anyway, I have several stripe tops, I am drawn to them like a magnet. And to anyone holidaying in France this summer, take a few hours to go shopping, the clothes are cheaper here and it's so much fun to shop in France!

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    1. GAH we're not coming to France this year. Maybe next year... I've also heard that French women (not a sweeping generalisation or anything..) only eat when they're hungry... And hopefully you carry on enjoying the blog xxxxx (and thank you!)

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  10. Hey Kat. Glad your party went well but sorry to hear about Ginny :( So local boutiques? Sharing is caring...mine is The Dressing Room (St Albans) they're online too and at the moment they are stocking the maison labiche sweatshirts love love love x

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    1. Oh I love following them on Insta!! I will have to look into the Maison Labiche sweatshirts...

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  11. Hi Kat, if ever you are around Cambridge, it worth a try to take a little diversion to the village of Melbourn, there's the best shop ever. A real hub for women around here, (it saved me from a mental breakdown from countrydom when I move from London) where you can find anything to wear, anything to accessories and get treated too as the spa is fabulous too. And lets not forget the bar!! Shopping with a glass of bubbly? Heaven!!! It's Esse (retail and therapy), seriously worth a visit. Have a look on their website: www.esse.uk.com Love your blog too much, Giorgia

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    1. That sounds like a bloody GENIUS idea! I will look it up definitely. Thank you thank you xxx

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  12. Funny that you posted this on the very day that my uniqlo striped tops arrived! I'm pleased with them. They are thicker than the current Boden ones, but not as thick as the Joules version.

    I love that Hush image of the stripe jumper and full cotton skirt, I've just found an ancient Maje skirt that I had forgotten I owned and am going to try to recreate the look! Elizabeth

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    1. They're great aren't they? I can't recommend the hush jumpers enough. Just gorgeous. (and I LOVE finding things you forgot you had. I remembered I've got an isabel marant top and skirt that I'm going to wear to a dinner party next week with my new Iro boots Perfect!!)

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  13. Tk Maxx recently had some Bretons priced at £20 from Jaeger. I picked up a grey and white one which is so soft and has washed well. They also had it in navy.
    Elaine x

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    1. Oh I saw them the other day. Did they have little buttons on the shoulder too? They did look great yes and in a variety of different colours too.

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    2. Haven't seen the ones with the buttons. Mine didn't have them, noticed its still on their website. The stripes are thin though, maybe you prefer wider stripes.

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  14. Here in Sussex we have a great choice of shops. Lindfield and Cuckfield, only 2 miles apart and many little boutiques to keep you going. Worth considering if you are near the Mid Sussex area.

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    1. That's great to know - I don't know that area at all (and it's really not that far from me at all!) So lovely to hear that we're well serviced throughout the county!

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  15. Dislike most things from Long tall sally but an email from them featured a Breton type tee shirt under which it said coming soon'

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    1. Hmm I am sceptical like you... I will look (and blame you if my eyes bleed...!!!)

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  16. Just seen this thread and have to mention two independent boutiques that are in Brighton Laines - Nola- and Sirene.

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    1. Thank you! keep meaning to take a trip to Brighton with the children.. it's only an hour for us!

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  17. I have the black Whistles dungarees and cracked them out for the first time since late summer at the weekend. I wasn't sure if there was much more mileage in them, but with a pale grey turtleneck and Chelsea boots they had a new lease of life. I'm hoping they stick around this year - partly because they were expensive! - as I loved wearing them last summer with stripy tops and brogues or sneakers.

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    1. I am SO with you - I reckon I may wear them a lot more than I thought. Even though mine were only a tenner... (!!!!)

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  18. I love reading your blog , love your style and rather partial to a Boden Breton top. About local boutiques ? Twinkle twinkle in Lewes is the most loveliest shop . Lewes is the county town of East Sussex, 8 miles inland of Brighton. You would get a fantastic welcome from Suzy , Lucy and Jan . Also online Jo

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  19. I'm wearing the printed Breton from Boden today, together with my navy trenchcoat!
    Not had any trouble with Boden bretons shrinking , but then I don't tumble dry (wears my clothes out quicker thanks I can).

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  20. Gerrards in Reigate is a fantastic boutique with great brands and fab staff. I've been going there for the past 7-8 years and they make you feel like you're part of the family!

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  21. I got a great Breton top from petit bateau http://www.petit-bateau.co.uk/e-shop/product/16777/H63/women-s-iconic-mariniere-in-heavy-jersey.html which is a great length (Im 5ft 7 and a very important half!) for me. And they have 3 different colour combos - sorry if someone else mentioned this - there were so many comments, I didnt have time to go through them all!

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