This week on The Sunday Scroll we are looking at the old favourite in many of our wardrobes, the Breton top.
Known in France as la marinière, the Breton striped top is a wardrobe staple favoured by everyone from Coco Chanel to Pablo Picasso. So how did this top become so popular?
The Breton stripe shirt was first introduced in 1858 as the uniform for all French navy seaman in Northern France. The original design featured 21 stripes, one for each of Napoleon Bonaparte’s victories and the distinctive stripes made it easier to spot wayward sailors who had fallen overboard.
So years later in 1917 Coco Chanel who had a boutique in Deauville on the Normandy coast, was inspired by the sailors’ uniforms to create a nautical collection that included Breton striped shirts. Not only did her creations cause a storm in the fashion world, they also helped to launch a sexual revolution, as French women tore off the then-fashionable heavy corsets and began to adopt the casual striped marinières. And the rest is history as they say.
Here is a selection of some of the best on the high street. My favourites always include Joules, J Crew, H&M and Boden. I love to style mine with khaki trousers and white pumps, shorts and flip flops or a skirt and pumps. It really is the most versatile piece you’ll own.
Looking for more fashion inspo then why don’t you take a look at other posts for The Sunday Scroll.