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Stripy Chic

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There is a dispute between Normandy and Brittany as to where the striped T shirt was first created. Nor can the French agree on the origins of the 21 stripes - could it be the number of Napoleon's victories or more prosaically simply the number of stripes of a certain width to ensure visibility when a sailor fell into the water!?

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Brigitte Bardot 



Pablo Picasso 



Audrey Hepburn 

Either way the striped Breton top (there is a hint in the adjective as to the origins) has stood the test of time. I love the story at Armorlux of the French Navy's edict from 1858 in which the Admiralty stated the exact number of stripes and the colour required to contrast with the white - "bleu teints a l'indigo". A century later Hollywood adopted the styling using their own interpretations in a number of films including "Fire Down Below" which was first screened in 1957, starring Robert Mitchum, Rita Hayworth and Jack Lemmon. The gorgeous Audrey Hepburn wears a short sleeved red and white striped Tee in Two for the Road in which she starred with Albert Finney in 1967, while France's very own female icon Brigitte Bardot was often to be seen around Saint Tropez driving her Riva wearing the striped mariniere top. Even Sting adopted "le look" in 1979 when singing with The Police, and Picasso was often photgraphed in his baggy well worn long sleeved version of this chic French classic.

In the well known rowing capital of Henley-on-Thames Boatique can be found at 5 Friday st with an array of striped Tees and jumpers from all three French brands which have adopted the mariniere - Petit Bateau with the striped lining on their sou'wester, St James and Armorlux with Tees of all shapes and sizes.

Vive la mariniere ! Long live stripes!

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