Breton Stripes... Bien sûr!

Breton Stripes... Bien sûr!

Breton stripes, the marinière, the sailor jumper, the white / navy jumper goes by many names and was originally created for French navy soldiers' uniforms in 1858. Specifically their tops had to have 21 white stripes (20mms width) and 20 to 21 blue stripes (10mms width). It's unclear to this date why the stripes but two key reasons seem to have been behind this choice: first indigo prints were too expensive at the time and second stripes made it easier to spot someone at sea.

 It was Coco Chanel (of course) who introduced the Breton stripes to the world of fashion. Although she did not use it for her own collections, she wore it herself, tucked up in fluid sailor trousers. What an amazing, contemporary look!

 Coco Chanel 1916 Deauville

Coco Chanel 1916 Deauville

But mostly the sailor jumper really took off after French 60s pin up Brigitte Bardot wore it for Jean-Luc Godard's hit independent movie, Le Mepris (famously shot in the villa Malaparte in Capri in 1963).

 Brigitte Bardot 1963

Brigitte Bardot 1963

After Bardot, breton stripes become a French wardrobe icon. Worn by all, including men after French designer Jean Paul Gaultier used it as the centre piece of his 'Boy Toy' collection in 1983.

 Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier

A 100 years later precisely, the marinière remains an absolute classic which never goes out of fashion and keeps reinventing itself. Audrey Hepburn, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kate Moss, Audrey Tautou, Vanessa Paradis, and even Man Repeller's Leandra Medine more recently have all been ambassadors of the sailor jumper. The way the young Charlotte Gainsbourg styles it in the early 80's feels rather familiar, right? 

And once more this year it's amazing to see how much creativity designers have used to make sure the sailor jumper remains a contemporary piece. 

As to how to wear the marinière, honestly the best way remains to pair it with a pair of jeans.

I am wearing Ba&sh's winter collection (cashmere), which happens to be on (so called) private sales (see below to make sure you get it at a discounted price) but there are plenty other alternatives that are worth investing in. I don't doubt you should be able to find one that matches your style in the selection below. 

The one I am wearing on the photos: Ba&sh Isor Jumper (100% cashmere), currently 40% off in the private sales, you simply need to register in the shop or online, £153 (initially £255)

I have a major crush for this Jacquemus Open back coton breton striped top, the massive bow, the long sleeves, an incredibly successful update of the marinière and at £110 it's a perfect affordable designer investment piece

If you're looking for a colour twist, this Montauban red/white striped wool mix high neck jumper by Maje is a really nice alternative, although it's currently on at £229

The absolute classic sailor sweater (100% coton) by Petit Bateau, £82

Another French brand worth checking for its take on stripes is Agnès b, this black Katia pullover one is a thin mix of coton and cashmere, £165

Finally, love this modern uneven striped alpaca mix jumper from Banjo & Matilda, £74 on Boutique1 (cheaper than on The Outnet at £109.50)

 

Chanel jacket dupes

Chanel jacket dupes

The Navy Blazer

The Navy Blazer