Inspiration Wardrobe

Inspiration | Style Essentials: The Striped T-Shirt

If there is one thing I love about fashion, it’s that you can create a million outfits with just a few key pieces. The striped t-shirt is one of these key pieces. And it’s one of the pieces probably everyone has in their closet. If not, you’re missing out! The striped t-shirt is a statement in itself and can easily be worn with just a plain pair of slacks. Or it can accompany another statement piece just as well. It can take away the seriousness of a blazer, and at the same time add some lightness and even irony. But why is that?

The striped t-shirt has a history!

It all started with the famous Breton stripe shirt, which was introduced in 1858 as the uniform for all French navy seamen in Northern France. Since they all cast off from Brittany they coined shirt the “Breton” shirt. In the original design there were 21 stripes, one stripe for each of Napoleon Bonaparte’s victories. Plus of the distinctive style made it easier to spot sailors who had fallen overboard. It quickly became a popular garment for any sailor apart from the military.

Then in 1917 Coco Chanel drew inspiration from the striped uniforms of the French sailors for her nautical collection. By the 1930s, the Breton stripe had been elevated to “haute couture” status, making it a popular choice for fashionable upper class ladies.

Apart from starring in various movie (worn by James Dean and Audrey Hepburn), the t-shirt is now a French essential.

Pair it with a chic blazer and some flats

Go all French with a trench coat and a red scarf!

Rock the look with a leather jacket

A mini or midi skirt is the perfect company for a striped t-shirt

What an airy and stylish summer look!

It’s so easy with some plains slacks and a cardigan!

Break the rules: Mix and match!

Outfit | 1 Fiorello Mckenzie North West Tote | 2 Striped Jersey Top | 3 Chic Diamante Leaf Necklace | 4 Embroidered Mini Skirt | kate spade new york Tickle The Ivories Enamel Bangle | 6 Shore Thing Sandals 

How to style the striped t-shirt

The allure of the Breton stripe shirt lies in its versatility! But beware: Do not overdo it with the French flair and don a beret. Except you’re celebrating a costume party. Usually when wearing a striped t-shirt it’s best to tone everything else down. So don’t wear stripes from head to toe! Let the shirt stand for itself and add some smart details like a statement necklace or lipstick. There is one exception for me, however, and that is the phenomenon of the pattern mix. If you pair the shirt with a floral skirt, it won’t look too much if you keep everything else simple. Just look at the last outfit.

Other than that, be aware that horizontal stripes will make you look wider. So it’s best to go for a more loose-fitting shirt than one enhancing every curve of your body. Unless you’re a skinny French girl. Damn. Another tip is to choose a shirt where the thicker stripe is the darker colour (navy or black). Or to tuck in the shirt a bit at the front. Other than that, go for it!

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  • Reply
    5th April 2017 at 1:30 am

    Great post! Really enjoyed the history. My husband thinks the striped shirt is a classic too. Thanks.

    • Michelle
      5th April 2017 at 6:11 am

      That’s great! I’m happy you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    29th April 2017 at 4:55 pm

    I bought a striped t-shirt just because Kate Middleton wears them all the time, and I love her look. All these ideas you posted are great! I’m going to try them all. Thanks!

    • Michelle
      29th April 2017 at 4:56 pm

      That was a great idea, I’m glad you like the looks!

  • Reply
    30th April 2017 at 2:13 am

    I love love love a basic striped tee! Works so many ways.

    xo, Heather

    • Michelle
      30th April 2017 at 7:00 am

      You are so right!

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