Stripes are incredibly versatile, don’t you think? They can be formal when they’re pinstriped, chunky and colourful when they’re playful, and quintessentially French when they’re horizontal, navy blue and offwhite. I read something really interesting the other day about how Breton stripes originated in 1858 when they were designated the uniform for all French navy seamen from Brittany (hence the name). The original design featured 21 stripes, one for each of Napoleon’s victories! Who knew? It’s funny that fashion can sometimes be considered frivolous but delve a little deeper and you soon realize there’s a lot of history behind pieces that are now considered classic and iconic. To read more about the history of the Breton stripe, head on over to WikiFashion.
Back to the present though and horizontal stripes in general are always current, fully fashionable, and a go-to staple in my closet. I love Breton stripes in particular because, together, navy blue and white is a crisp and uncomplicated combination. A striped top can be dressed up with a skirt and a pair of pumps, or rock the casual movement with ripped denim and fabulous flats. They also work in pretty much any aspect of your wardrobe, not just shirts or dresses. How about a fabulous striped espadrille, scarf or purse instead? Oh, and in case you’re wondering, much like the dapper navy seamen of the past, stripes look just as stylish on the guys too!
A couple of caveats though- be careful you don’t end up with more than one striped piece at a time, maybe two if one of them is an accessory. Too much of a good thing and all that, you know? Also, horizontal stripes will make you look broader visually, so if that’s a concern, I would opt for chunkier stripes vs. skinnier ones. You’ll sort of veer into colour blocked territory at that point which you can use to strategically highlight what you want to show off and disguise what you don’t.
Below are some inspiration images showing the best ways to wear Breton stripes this summer followed by my top striped shopping picks.
And here’s a round up of my favourite striped pieces for summer. I’m particularly in love with the Michael Kors purse. It’s so cheerful!
1. Women’s Red and White Striped Loose T-shirt | 2. kate spade new york Large 17 Month Covered Spiral Agenda, Black Stripes | 3. Michael Kors Marina Tote Stripe Grab Bag Red/White | 4. Marc by Marc Jacobs Breton Striped Scarf | 5. Chinese Laundry Boardwalk Shuffle Heel (Vegan leather!) | 6. H&M Slim Low Cropped Jeans | 7. Charles Tyrwhitt Women’s Breton Stripe Boatneck Top
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So, tell me, are Breton stripes in your future? How will you be rocking this look and channeling your inner French fashionista this summer?
P.S: If stripes aren’t your thing and summer is too far away, I have you covered! Pop over to see my round up of the prettiest Spring Accessories at Nordstrom!