A History and Guide to Breton Stripes

If you are curious about striped clothing that you can find at retail stores, there are various different kinds of stripes that clothing manufacturers go by in order to give of one of many different vibes in their articles of clothing.

For example, awning stripes are two very wide stripes of the same length meant to evoke simplicity and fun. Pinstripes consist of wide stripes alternating with a very thin stripe to give off impressions of sophistication and class. However, this article is about Breton stripes, which consist of one light stripe and one dark stripe, with the light stripe being slightly wider than the darker one.

Breton stripes are fairly common today in fashion, and men and women love wearing them just as much as manufacturers love making them. They’re a classic design that has only gotten more popular from over a century ago.

History of Breton Stripes

Origins of the Breton striped shirt come from France. Stripes were designed onto sailors’ uniforms for the purpose of recognizing their bodies if they ever fell into the water when out at sea. The French navy at the time all came from Brittany, and as a result, their striped shirts were known as Breton shirts. A total of 21 dark stripes were present on each of these shirts, representing how many times Napoleon’s army defeated the British.

Eventually, Breton shirts extended beyond the navy and was a garment worn on all kinds of nautical trips. These shirts were originally made of cotton or wool, so they also fared well in keeping sailors warm at night.
Breton Stripes in Fashion  

In the 1910s, the Breton shirt made its way into fashion, as well as other parts of the world, when Coco Chanel discovered the design while in France, and incorporated it into an upcoming nautical line.

Later in the 1950s and 60s, the French rekindled their relationship with the Breton shirt with the “nouvelle vague” or “new wave” movement. Various films used Breton shirts as attire, which was worn by stars of the era. This later caught on in Hollywood, as well, making this classic striped shirt as popular as ever.
Today, nearly every Frenchman and woman own a number of Breton shirts, as they have become a permanent staple in French fashion and have become synonymous with France itself.

How to Wear Breton Stripes?

LA wholesale clothing retailers likely do not have France in mind when they decide to utilize this classic black and white stripe design, but companies and consumers alike love the design all the same. Breton striped colors are mainly black and white in color, making them one of the best garments to wear with any other color.

Consider wearing clothes like jackets, kimonos, skirts, tops, and more with Breton striped apparel and this will add a whole new dynamic to your outfit.

Breton stripes are always horizontal; never vertical. With this in mind, wearing horizontally striped clothing can make your body look wider than normal. But so long as you are wary of your own figure, you can think of a couple of tricks to wear Breton stripes without changing the look of your body overall. If you are worried about how you look in horizontal stripes, try tops and dresses that are not form-fitting, or snug around your waist. So, experiment with something loose that still looks stylish.

The Breton design is a simple but classic design with an interesting backstory and a rise in popularity. This design is a must-own for any woman looking for that one garment to tie any outfit together.

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