French Inspiration – the breton stripes

Historically, the Breton stripes were worn by the French Navy in Northern France.  The Navy started wearing the shirts in 1858 and they were designed so that the sailors could be spotted more easily if they fell overboard.  The shirts originally had 21 stripes – one for each of Napoleon’s victories.

I’m not sure if the above picture is of real sailors or if it’s from a movie.

After a while more people in the Marine industry (fishermen, dock workers etc) started wearing the stripes.  Coco Chanel visited the Coast in 1917 and drew inspiration for her designs there.  She designed a striped top which she paired with flared trousers.

coco chanel trousers

At first people were shocked with Chanel’s designs.  Especially since many women still wore corsets and dresses.

pablo picasso
Ginger Rogers
Ginger Rogers

Soon enough the Breton Stripe grew in popularity. Well, soon enough meaning the 50s:

James Dean wore them in ‘Rebel Without a Cause’.

Audrey Hepburn in ‘Funny Face’.

And Marilyn Monroe (not sure if this is from a movie or not – anyone know?).


Jean Paul Gaultier often uses the Breton Stripe in his designs.

Here is my use of Breton Stripes:

Vintage style.

breton stripesbreton stripes

Off shoulder top from Dotti

Skirt from H&M

Shoes from No 1 Shoe Warehouse.

Sunnies from Paddington Market, Melbourne


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