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nautical fashion, breton sweaters, breton shirts & tops

The Breton Shirt

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The Breton shirt or "La Marinière", is the timeless classic striped top that everyone should have in their wardrobe. The effortless choice for those "What to wear?" moments. However, it did not start its life as a fashion icon, rather as a functional fishermans work outfit. Dating back to the March 1858 French Navy-Wear Act when all mariners were required to wear a blue and white striped top in order to aid spotting and rescuing should they fall into the sea. The rules required 21 white stripes of 20 mm and 20/21 blue stripes of 10 mm and soon all sailors, particularly around the busy ports of Brittany were wearing it. Typically made of quality knitted jersey cotton with long or 3/4 length sleeves and a boat neckline the Breton shirt was designed to be practical, long-lasting & comfortable for life on board.

The stripy style grew in popularity and by 1917, Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel was inspired to introduce it as the ladies fashion item we know and love today. Inspired by the local fishermen, she was soon designing, wearing and selling a full range of Breton clothing from her Deauville boutique.

Where Chanel's "haute couture" lead the aristocracy and middle class, soon followed and by the 50s and 60s, the marinière had become a symbol for artists and intellectuals alike. Picasso, Brigitte Bardot, Jean-Paul Gaultier, just to name a few, were all fans of what became known as the Breton style. This brought it public consciousness where it has remained as the effortless multi-functional top, perfect to wear with just a pair of jeans or with a blazer for the smarter city style. Of course it is still at home on board whether on a cruise or on a yacht, La Marinière is designed with everyone in mind and will last a lifetime.


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