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Introducing the original Breton Shirt: the Saint-James Meridien Moderne.

On  March 27, 1858 the French Navy decreed that the striped Breton Shirt - or marinière - would be the new uniform for sailors and quartermasters. The distinctive white and navy stripes were purportedly included in order to make it easier to spot overboard crew. The question remained however, who would manufacture these new shirts?

The answer lies in the village of Saint-James, situated on the northern coast of France. Here, shepherds had bred sheep in the local salt marshes for hundreds of years, over time creating a type of wool perfectly suited for nautical gear. Leveraging this local craft, in 1889 the “Moulin du Prieur” atelier became the official workshop for Saint-James Mills Ltd., and production of the Breton Shirt began. 

Shortly after its introduction into the French Navy, the originally military Breton Shirt made its way onto the backs of the French public. Favored by vacationers taking their holiday on the sea, and by sailing buffs, Coco Chanel is credited with introducing the garment overseas after taking a trip to the French coast. 

An iconic marriage of design, function, and tradition - each Breton Shirt is manufactured in France. Since its international debut, the Breton Shirt has been worn by the likes of Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Brigitte Bardot, and Curt Kobain. Its simple design allows it to be easily styled with a pair of jeans and sneakers, and despite their thickness these 100% cotton shirts are highly breathable, allowing them to be worn all summer long. 

A must for fans of nautical activity and French workwear tradition, these special items are now available for purchase in-store and online at