If you have read our manifesto, you'll know that we believe that stripes are timeless. But did you know that the chic and classic nautical stripe shirts or the more accurate moniker, Breton stripes, were originally a French sailor's uniform? The French always seem to get it right! Hailing from Brittany, a north-west region in France, or as the French say Bretagne, coined it the "Breton" shirt.
The March 27, 1858 Act of France declared the Breton striped shirt the new uniform for the French Navy. Like the 13 stripes on the American flag that represent the 13 original colonies (thank you 8th grade American history!), the stripes on the traditional Breton shirt have significant meaning. Traditionally, the knitted matelot had long or three-quarter length sleeves, a boat neckline, and 21 white and navy stripes — one for each of Napoleon’s victories.
Not only were these sailors looking dapper but the Breton stripe matelot even saved a few sailors from the evil clutches of siren mermaids! The distinctive stripes were easily visible over the ocean's waves if any man happened to fall overboard.
Thanks to Coco Chanel, the Breton stripes became haute couture status when she used the inspiring stripes in her 1917 nautical line, making it a timeless staple season after season.
XO Wil Harris
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