wardrobe staples: the marinière sweater (under $300)

Happy Monday! I’m back with the second edition of my Wardrobe Staples series and am excited about this one because I’m an absolute sucker for a classic, mariner sweater.

When I think about classic wardrobe staples, the mariner sweater is one of the first three items that come to mind along with a little black dress and a trench coat. It’s preppy and classically American yet very, very French and even obviously, nautical too. You’ll see it on everyone from Audrey Hepburn and Kate Middleton to Jeanne Damas and Gwyneth Paltrow.

The marinière shirt originated in the French Navy with very specific measurements and specifications, but eventually made its way into Parisian street style during World War I when Coco Chanel traveled to the seaside and was inspired by the sailors’ shirts. It soared in popularity in the 40s when it was worn by icons like Jean Cocteau, Picasso, and Brigitte Bardot and then in the 60s when Jean Seberg wore an Yves Saint Laurent one in (one of my favorite new wave films) the Godard film Breathless.

The striped mariner sweater is such a simple piece that doesn’t take much styling to look good, but that can also be styled in some really unique ways. Throw it on with your favorite blue or white jeans with a leather ankle boot or white sneaker. Alternatively, wear it like Kate Middleton with a pair of sailor pants or like Audrey with classic, black cigarette trousers. For a more unique look, I love how Gwyneth Paltrow styled one here. Tie one around your shoulders over a white t-shirt or add a silk neck scarf for color and personality.


My personal favorite brand for mariner sweaters is Petit Bateau, but you can also get incredible pieces from Saint James and A.P.C. When in doubt, go French (as always).

Below, I’ve compiled nine mariner sweaters below ranging in price from $35 to $295 from brands like J.Crew and Madewell to A.P.C. and Tory Burch. If you’re able to splurge on the higher end brands, I recommend it because they’re classic brands for a reason and should last many, many years in your closet. But, if it’s not in your budget at the moment, you can still be confident about the quality of the lower priced brands I’ve included.