Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fashion Flashback: Breton Stripes

Alexa Chung sporting nautical stripes in Vogue Korea, June 2011

Nautical Breton stripes are a classic summertime look, and there's a way to wear them as an everyday option without seeming like a misplaced gondolier.  I love the way Alexa Chung is styled in this month's Vogue Korea, paired with a sophisticated creme blazer and white shorts. 

Coco Chanel was a fan of the stripes, and upon doing a little research on the Breton striped shirt, I found that Miss Chanel played her own role in that she drew inspiration from working-class clothes and sportswear in a time when there was more structure and rigidity to women's clothing.
A sea-change was taking place in French fashion and society, and it would propel the Breton T-shirt from undistinguished workwear to iconic fashion item. By the Thirties, Saint Tropez and the other Riviera resorts were enjoying a new, second wave of popularity. In the 19th century they had grown rich on their winter season, when the monied classes descended from across Europe to enjoy the mild climate in the opulent surroundings of grand hotels and villas. In the new century, fashion leader Coco Chanel began a cult of sun worship, which rapidly took off, spurred on by the spread of the railways and roads to previously inaccessible seaside resorts. A new, summer season was born. (Source)

Of course there are other effortlessly stylish French women seen sporting this look back in the day, including actresses Jean Seberg, Jeanne Moreau and Brigitte Bardot.  American style icons Marilyn, Jackie O. and Ali MacGraw also were seen in this look, and it was flattering for all.

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