Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Breton Stripe Shirts
{ "french navy my sailor mate..." }

Originally designed for seafaring members of the French Navy in Brittany in 1858, the first Breton stripe shirts had 21 stripes - one for each of Napoleon's victories. They became widely popular amongst the French working class and all manor of sailors at the time because of their easy wear -- and because they were easier to spot if someone went overboard. The Breton stripe got it's first coupe in the fashion world when Coco Chanel included them in her 1917 nautical collection for Chanel. It quickly became the look du jour amongst the bourgeoisie vacationing in the Riviera.

From there, the stripe gained further iconic status through celebrities like Brigitte Bardot, Pablo Picasso and Audrey Hepburn. Over the decades, the Breton stripe and it's many variations and color ways have appeared and reappeared in innumerable designer collections. Today, traditional French brands like Saint James, Agnes BArmor-Lux and Petit Bateau are keeping the tradition alive locally, as are contemporary American brands like Theory, Scotch & Soda, and Alexander Wang.

I've been meaning to update my Breton shirt game for a while, and personally, I love the traditional, boxy fit and thick cotton from Saint James and Armor Lux. Along with fit, you'll have to decide if you're more of a navy with white stripes or white with navy stripes kind of person.

What to wear with it? Oh you know, just shy of anything. White jeans, black jeans, florals, jorts, a ball skirt... you name it, it's going to look chic, nautical and probably perfect.


  1. I love Breton stripes. So classic and chic.

    I have a St. James shirt, but I'm not crazy about the sleeve length...I wish they were either longer or shorter. I love the look of that Armor-Lux one though so I'm going to have to check that out!!!

  2. I am a white with navy stripe girl! I was in Nice, France last summer and am STILL mad at myself for not being able to find the St. James store... silly maps in foreign languages! So cool learning about what the stripes mean!

  3. What a great blog! New follower right here!
    Stop by some time http://styledlikearockstar.blogspot.com

  4. I have an Audrey-Hepburn inspired look featuring a modified version of this top up on my blog right now. How funny! Needless to say, I love this. =]

    Kate from Clear the Way

  5. Perfect, love a stripes tee!