Earn Your Stripes This Summer
Make like Mr James Dean and take a dip into a jaunty Breton shirt, the easy print of the summer, for seafarers and landlubbers alike. We pick three of the best stripy shirts, by TK, Folk and Oliver Spencer to help you stand out – or not – on that seaside deck chair .
Summer dressing and light, striped shirts are often synonymous. Perhaps this is because of the mighty Breton shirt – originally used by sailors from Brittany to distinguish them from the waves out at sea. Those distinctive yet cool, horizontal lines were then popularised by the likes of Mr James Dean and Ms Audrey Hepburn, who always seemed to wear them in the sun, and looked great while doing so.
There are of course other forms of the striped summer shirt. But, like the Breton, they too seem to suggest holidays or sun – especially in white and blue. Some might suggest a nautical influence, others the apron of an ice cream vendor, or even one of those Victorian deck chairs you see at old-timey tourist resorts.
Below are three examples of the striped shirt we’ve got our eye on at the moment. Whatever they remind you of, they should be more than enough to get you in the mood for a summer holiday. Or, failing that, a big smile.
THE WIDE BOY
Bold, wide stripes were a key trend at London Collections: Men last year – and we are more than happy to buy into that fact. Literally. This shirt has gone straight onto our Wish List. It looks like an old night shirt. Or a deck chair. Or a shirt Picasso would have worn to work in. And, quite frankly, we love it. We’d team it with some black jeans to make that indigo-blue dye really stand out, and some appropriately summery boat shoes.
Wear it with
THE CLASSIC CREW
The Breton shirt was originally designed with 21 stripes to denote every naval victory Napoleon had presided over the British in the late 19th century. This T-shirt by Folk – although it has rather more than 21 stripes – is clearly inspired by the Breton, and it immediately puts us in mind of relaxing on the beach by the sea. With this in mind, we suggest you take the opportunity to invest in some new summer shorts and a fresh pair of sunglasses while you’re here.
Wear it with
THE EASY BREEZY
This easy-going cotton shirt from Oliver Spencer looks like it was made to be worn while in control of a small boat or yacht. We can see sun and blue sea. We can see hair flapping in a light breeze. And we can see a refreshing gin and tonic bubbling away quietly. OK, you don’t have to man a vessel if you wear this nautical-inspired shirt. And drinking in that situation probably isn’t advisable anyway. So stick to dry land, and, if things get a little too breezy, pair with this denim Chimala chore jacket.
Wear it with