May
22
2014
By
for Valet.

Earning Your Stripes

 

As stereotypes go, the Breton stripe has been unfairly branded as the de facto uniform for the French—baguette in hand and a beret on the head. True, the pattern first saw use in the uniforms for the French navy, but its clichéd representation isn't all that should be going through your mind when deciding whether or not to give it a try. The Breton stripe is simple and functional, much like the Parisian style it is often associated with, so benefiting from the basic design is easy. For warmer weather, pair a T-shirt or summer weight sweater with light-washed or white denim. If you're going for a less casual look, an unstructured blazer is all you need. Traditionally, the design is a white body with navy stripes, but you can see the style has evolved. As would any piece that's been in style for a century and a half. From French boatmen and the Warholian beatniks of New York to icons like Marlon Brando and Pablo Picasso, the Breton is a solid choice—whether you're vacationing on the French Riviera or off to a Memorial Day barbecue.

RRL,
$245

Native Youth,
$76

J.Crew, $80

Zara,
$17

Play by
Comme des Garçons
,
$130

Marlon
Brando

Pablo
Picasso

  •  
    The first Breton striped shirts featured 21 stripes, an homage to each of Napoleon's 21 victories.
 

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