I've become more value-conscious, especially when buying clothes. This spring, I wanted a fresh striped marinière. Wear it with jeans or a pencil skirt, add a scarf or your favourite earrings, and voilà, all dressed.
In the full-time days, I'd simply have ordered one of several models of St. James shirts offered by a Brittany vendor who's served us for years.
The "Meridien" is a more substantial shirt than the "Galatee" model, sold by J. Crew, and featured by Deja Pseu (writer of "Une femme d'un certain age") in her post on marinières; the heavier model is useful here, where you can see your breath in May sometimes. Price for the J. Crew shirt is $106, plus shipping. Shoppers outside the US will add duty and taxes (count on around 30%), so that nudges $145 for me.
The sturdy and well-made Meridien is pretty much Le Duc's spring through fall uniform. I've been careful not to wear mine at the same time or we look like Dupond et Dupont.
|Family fave from St. James|
Last year, I ordered one of LL Bean's French sailor shirts and was très contente; it's a more feminine cut, fitted in the torso, with a wider neckline and 3/4 sleeve. I redeemed a $10 gift card, which reduced the price to $20, and they shipped for free.
A few weeks ago, Lands' End had a one-day sale on a shirt I'd considered, their French Terry Balletneck: $15 and free shipping! (I had to spend $50 to get free shipping but was ordering housewares for a son anyway.) Price is now back to $29, which I'd still pay.
The hand of the fabric is beautiful, fine and smooth on the outer surface, with an inner finish of very fine terry. The cut has a deeper scoop than the classic shirt, with the subtlest ease at the hip preventing the dreaded tight-striped tum. Also offered in stripes of white with coral (my pick), navy or pale yellow.
Stripes also turned up in the LE sale section, where I found an eggplant/pink striped boatneck for $10. Boatneck, shmoatneck, I'm calling it a summer-weight marinière, and a bargain. (Limited sizes and colours.) It's very well-cut.
|LE sale boatneck|
The price, roughly $47 (including shipping) wasn't bad, but adding duty and taxes would bring it to at least $60. If I absolutely had to have the colours offered, maybe.
Not everyone approaches value so gingerly. If the chic Christine ever gets it together to photograph a certain pair of pants, you will see a different application of the cost/value principle, called I Am Crazy About This, Who Cares What It Costs?
Have you found any great lower-cost substitutes for pricier favourites?