Tuesday, May 25, 2010

J'adore Mes Marinières

My quest for a striped sailor shirt has ended. (Well, almost...) Thank you, L.L. Bean.

I thought I had a winner from J. Crew, but their clothing always looks better in the dressing room because of their skinny mirrors.

I wish we could all have little, painless eye operations so we could always see ourselves and each other as we look in a skinny mirror. We'd be the happiest country on the planet. And the best-looking, at least in national polls. But until we have universal healthcare, I'm not even going to mention this to the Surgeon General.

Anyway, my J Crew striped tee looked more like a pajama top when I tried it on at home. It  had slouched elegantly above my matchstick jeans in the dressing room but hung down limply to the top of my legs at home. How could I have forgotten that all J. Crew tees are 3 to 4" too long on me, even though I'm a little over the average American woman's height?  Back it went.

Looks so much better in the photograph....

Yesterday, my L.L. Bean sailor shirts arrived. I opened the green bags with trepidation. Everything I've ever tried from L.L. Bean looked like it was meant for an old lady — but not me, some really plump and preppy New England dame. (I've been dressing like an old lady since I was 17, but not like that.)

These shirts surprised me. I was expecting the usual mid-weight cotton knit, but these are hefty, more like a lightweight ribbed sweater. Very substantial, pure "Peruvian" cotton. It doesn't feel soft, but that gives it a more masculine, "sailor" sttitude, too. All the French ones I looked at felt similar, but were cut too wide or too weird to look good on a normal-size woman.

Size extra-small fits me nicely. It's long and lean, even in my non-skinny mirror. I have some sympathy for all the truly extra-small and petite women out there — I'm a size 4 or 6 these days, with shoulders and long arms, so you size 00s, 0s, and 2s, are probably out of luck unless you want a tunic effect. You could try to shrink the heck out of it, I guess. This comes in women's sizes, but not petites.

The problem now is to decide on one color. The navy and cream looks graphic and sharp:

But the cream and navy seems more classic and versatile.

And I really don't need two in the same colors, even if they look this different. I tend to buy things I really like in pairs, but it's a silly, extravagant habit for a person with limited means and drawer space. Even at $29.50. At least I can take my time to make up my mind — and believe me, I will — since i'll be returning one to the Freeport store — in July. You are, of course, welcome to weigh in. Privately or publicly.

Just FYI, this shirt also comes in "girl" colors: coral, yellow, lime, turquoise. Very pretty, but not "me." And there's deep red, which strikes me as sort of gorgeous, suddenly, even though I don't usually like red.

Hmm... red.

Oh, now I really want one — I see it's out of stock until September!


  1. What did you decide on? I just ordered the navy/cream today because cream/navy was out of stock... but am still tormented by the decision.

  2. Hi Kathryn, I kept both the navy and the cream, and wear them constantly when we're not having heat waves. The red one went back; it seemed too bright compared to the others. I don't usually buy in multiples; I tend to torment myself in the wee hours, trying to make up my mind. But these are classic, hefty cotton shirts for a fraction of the price of an authentic French one. I think you'll like your navy/cream; it's very versatile. I'm sure the cream ones will be back in stock for spring (that's January, I guess, even for LL Bean) if not sooner.


Spam goes right into the trash but I appreciate relevant comments from non-spammers (and I can always tell the difference). I do my best to follow up if you have a question. ALL spam, attempts to market other websites, and anything nasty or unintelligible gets deleted instantly. The cats and I thank you for reading — and please feel free to comment on what you read.