sliding into thursday with white denim, striped tee, sporty chic varsity cardigan similar here, and black mules from target. did you know that the striped tee started life in the French Navy in 1858? the original sailor tee sported 21 stripes, one for each of Napolean’s victories. the distinctive pattern of stripes made it easier to spot a sailor in the sea if by chance he fell overboard. at the turn of the twentieth century, on a visit to the French Riviera coco chanel spied the tee on a navy seaman and introduced the Breton tee with her 1917 nautical collection. this look was a breakaway from the heavily corseted fashion popular at the time. coco originally paired the tee with flared trousers and a trend began. women in trousers? striped tees? separates? it seems so matter-of-fact these days, but waaaay back then, it took one brave woman to change fashion forever.
many of today’s striped tees no longer have the obligatory 21 stripes. but there are several companies like st. james available at j.crew that offer authentic breton tees. but as far as classics go a striped tee is a must-have in your closet. somewhat like a black blazer or white shirt. a striped tee offers versatility galore as they can be tucked underneath a cardigan, blazer, denim jacket or simply fly solo.