Thursday, 6 March 2014

Sailors, Shores & Stripes.

A couple of years back, I had an urge to learn to sail. A boat was my new fetish, envisioning scenes where my salt sprayed locks whirled in the winds and beating waves laved against her wooden, tired body. Barefoot on the decks, filled with a sense of liberation that came with being able to explore beyond land, with a buoyant wardrobe laden with stripes. Breton stripes, if I am going to be pernickety.

I've always been a firm believer that you can never go wrong with stripes. People think stripes make you look larger in size but if you've ever watched QI you would know that Sir Stephen says this is false, unless they are vertical. Not horizontal, as people always seem to presume.
Originally introduced during the mid 19th Century as a part of the French Navy's uniform in Brittany, there were a strict 21 stripes to each top. Each stripe representing a victory for Napoleon.
Manufactured in Bretagne (explaining it's infamous moniker), it eventually became popular amongst general workers due to it's comfort, ease and practicality, especially those working at sea. Whether they were seafarers & sailors, undoubtedly bad weather and most possibly drunkenness, led to many an overboard mariner. Thankfully their striate ensemble made it easier for those who successfully stayed aboard, to spot lost crew amongst the waves.

It's no secret that Coco Chanel is an idol to women across the globe. Many dream of getting their mitts on a 2.55 whilst I just admire her fearless perseverance to introduce men's clothes into the wardrobe's of their female counterpart's. Shamelessly cantering atop horses in traditionally masculine riding attire, shunning the sidesaddle, Gabrielle blurred the lines of gender specific clothing. Considering she challenged this around 100 years ago, I still find it a bit strange when people find it curiously interesting that I often dress up as a man.
After a trip to the coast, Chanel became enamoured with the Breton stripes worn by the seaman, incorporating it into her 1917 collection. To this day, I still think this simple pattern, as well as being symbolically nautical, is also synonymous with Coco Chanel and the classic Parisian look. Lost in a Riviera reverie, the striped top is a look of ease. The women at the time must have let out a huge sigh of relief, away from their structured corsetry norm.

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