History of Stripes

History of Stripes
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The striped shirt has been a beloved institution in fashion since March 27, 1858. On that date, a navy and white shirt with 21 striped symbolizing each of Napoleon’s victories became the uniform for all French navy men. It became known as the Breton shirt, named after the Breton workers who increased its popularity throughout the later half of the nineteenth century.

In the early 1900′s, Coco Chanel took a trip to the French Rivera. There she saw the workers in the marina wearing their knit navy and white striped shirts and the inspiration for a new nautical collection was born. Paired with her wide leg pants and high waisted belt, Coco Chanel was a vision of casual, seaside sportswear.

Later in the twentieth century the Breton shirt would be adopted by almost every group possible. Artists such as Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol took the Breton shirt back for the male population and made it their own. Movie stars in the 1950′s like Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot looked absolutely fabulous in their stripes and who can forget James Dean in his Breton shirt in Rebel Without a Cause? In the 1960′s, the beatnik’s took the Breton stripes and incorporated it in to the hip fashion of their subculture.

Today, we have seen a resurgence of this familiar stripes but often with a trendy twist. Whether they’re traditional navy and white or jazzed up in a bold color combination or embellished with sequins, the Breton stripes have now been a staple in closets for over 160 years.


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