The Breton stripe tee (or La Mariniere as it is also known) has earnt iconic style status over the years and it is well deserved. Is there a more well worn or well loved classic style that so many of us own and keep buying season after season? It’s a wardrobe essential!
Originating as part of a french naval sailors uniform, the Breton stripe tee has become a well recognised item around the world. The Breton is so called as many of the sailors wearing the stripe shirt originated from Brittany. In 1858 the stripe shirt became a compulsory item for sailors on board ships as it was easily recognisable in the water should a sailor fall overboard. The original design featured 21 stripes, each said to represent one of Napoleon’s victories.
It’s popularity grew when in 1917 Coco Chanel introduced the classic stripe into her nautical range. Simply styled and worn with wide leg trousers it was quite a statement and a stark contrast to the high end couture pieces she would later become so well known for.
Over time the Breton tee has been worn by iconic stars such as Brigitte Bardot, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe and more recently Kate Moss, Alexa Chung and The Duchess of Cambridge affirming its popularity.
The Breton tee is one of those simple pieces that I’m sure many of you go to day after day, either styling it with with a blazer and jeans or slim black trousers (a la Audrey Hepburn!) . In summer months, it works well with shorts or a denim skirt. On days when layers are required I love nothing more than styling my Breton tees so they peek out from under the top I’m wearing.
Clashing prints with Breton stripes is also a great way of introducing colour to an outfit.
The beauty of a Breton has to be the fact that it truly is a ‘timeless classic’. I can confidently say that no-one will ever say ‘stripes are so last year’!!
In time honoured tradition I will leave you with my selection of the best Breton stripes currently available. I’m sure everyone will have at least one classic navy and white Breton in their wardrobe so the selection I’ve found offer a little something extra, whether it be a slogan embroidery, small motif or simply a contrast neck line or cuff.
Breton tees with a little something extra…
Happy shopping! ⚓️