History of the Breton Stripe Top

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Nautical style has long been a fashion favourite and here at Joules, we like to add a splash of seafaring style to our collections with a few bright and breezy stripes. But have you ever wondered when the fashion world’s passion for Breton blue and white began?

By Royal appointment

Fashion folklore suggests that Queen Victoria unwittingly sparked the trend for the navy and white nautical look as far back as 1846, when she dressed her four-year-old son Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, in a jolly blue and white sailor suit to wear on board the Royal Yacht. His outfit went down rather well by all accounts and the little Prince instantly became something of a fashion icon. His sea-inspired look was suddenly all the rage for Victorian children everywhere.

From high seas to high fashion

Coco Chanel, another queen (of French haute couture this time) introduced her chic nautical collection in 1917, when seaside resorts like St Tropez were the places to be seen. Suddenly it wasn’t only rugged Breton fishermen donning blue and white stripes but impossibly glamorous, fashion conscious young women too. The nautical trend has stayed in vogue ever since.

The Breton Top

While Prince Albert Edward’s sailor suits haven’t stood the test of time as far as fashion habits go (at least not for anyone over the age of five!) blue and white nautical stripes certainly have and regular as the tides, we reach for them, season after season. Of all the wear-everywhere wardrobe staples, the classic Breton stripe top has to be one of the most enduring and best loved.

Coco Chanel liked to pair her sailor blue and white stripe jersey with long, fashionably flared trousers but we think this timeless classic looks just as stylish with a simple pair of denim jeans. Or smart trousers for that matter. Or a skirt perhaps? Or most things, actually.

Breton with a twist

At Joules, we’re so fond of our stripes we too bring them back again and again, but we’ve played around with our Breton top range this season and added a few fresh, contemporary twists (although we’re not sure how they’d go down with the fishermen of Northern France!) Flattering three quarter length sleeves are still a feature and each one is still carefully crafted from softest, stretchy cotton Jersey, so it not only fits well, but also feels soft and lovely against the skin. The quality of the cotton we source so carefully means each one washes wonderfully too.

Stripes and bees

Add a few little bumbles to a classic Breton design and the result is our new Bee Print Breton top. Fresh and fun, you can keep it casual with jeans or dress it up with a tailored jacket.

Stripes and flowers

We’ve fallen in love with floral again this season and simply can’t wait for spring. In the meantime, we’ve added a striking flowery flourish to blue and white stripes for a mood-boosting burst of bold bright colour.

Beads and embellishments

If you don’t like too much extra detail getting in between you and your beloved Breton, a pretty beaded embellishment or muted monochrome flower print adds a just a little extra subtle something without going overboard.

1 Comment

  • Ella

    08.02.2016 at 18:50 Reply

    I am totally wowed and prreepad to take the next step now.

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