Origins of the ‘Breton Stripes'
The striped shirt was originally a naval sailor's uniform, designed to help distinguish the sailors from the waves so you could find them more easily when they fell overboard. At the time, all the French navy hailed from Brittany, so the shirt was coined the "Breton" shirt and displayed 21 stripes – one for each of Napoleon's victories against the British.
On a trip to the coast, Coco Chanel became inspired by the sailor's clothing and used it in her 1917 nautical line. Chanel designed her Breton top for ladies to be worn with flared trousers as a stark contrast to the then-popular corseted dress look for women.
By the 1930s, the Breton stripe had been elevated to "haute couture" status, making it a popular choice for fashionable upper class ladies.
In the century since, the so-named nautical stripe has exhibited some survival skills of its own. Its simple design has a beauty and a utility that make it the perfect contrast to more luxe statements—next to bolder hues and jewelry, the stripe is practically spare. But it is not just the province of the globetrotting avant-garde. Emblazoned on swimwear, handbags and, as always, the simple cotton tee, the nautical stripe evokes a sporty elegance that works year-round, at sea or on land.
Here are the striped beauties we posses in our stock:
Great examples of wearing these pieces: