Breton Striped Shirts
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The birth of the Breton Striped Shirt
Saint James men's sailor tops have crossed oceans and many eras before becoming essential pieces of casual chic wardrobes.
Originally, sailors wore Breton stripe shirts in the French Navy. They became part of its official uniform in 1858. A decree precisely fixed the characteristics of the striped shirt: it would have 21 white stripes 2 cm wide and 20 to 21 wide blue stripes of 1 cm.
Thick and crafted from unbleached and indigo yarns, the Breton striped shirt was worn close to the body, with three-quarter sleeves not protruding from the jacket to avoid the risk of snagging when maneuvering aboard the ships. It was also long enough to cover the sailors' lower back and protect them from the cold.
The particular choice of the number of stripes is still a mystery today. While some lean for a symbolic explanation, the 21 stripes corresponding to the number of Napoleonic victories, others have much more pragmatic theories.
The blue and white stripes would have been chosen to make it easier to spot mates who have fallen overboard. Another speculation is that the white was too messy and the indigo too expensive to choose just one of these two colors.
Either way, while the number of stripes on Saint James men's Breton Striped Shirts has changed, they are still an integral part of this garment, which has adapted to changing fashion.
Our Breton shirts: 130+ years of artisanal tradition
Saint James Breton striped shirts for men result from expertise acquired over 130 years ago and performed every day by artisans in the brand's workshops.
The striped sailor top passes into the hands of seamstresses, who have precious know-how essential to the high quality of Saint James clothing.
From knitting to packaging, the marinière requires 11 steps and five days of manufacture.
The men's sailor shirts then go through quality control before being ironed, packed, and shipped. To produce a single piece, 4,400 yards of cotton thread, obtained from 104 cotton flowers, are needed.
This human expertise makes it possible to obtain high-quality clothing that is durable over time and comfortable to wear.
How to wear the Saint James men's Breton striped shirt?
The sailor shirt is an essential piece to complete a casual chic look. It goes perfectly with all basics, enhancing them with a touch of elegance and character.
It can be worn with jeans as well as chinos, or even shorts for a holiday outfit. It is suitable for all seasons: in winter with a peacoat and raw jeans, in spring and autumn with slim jeans and a pair of white sneakers or boots, and in summer with chinos and boat shoes to complete the nautical look.
Easy to maintain, match, and comfortable to wear, the Saint James men's sailor Breton top is a timeless piece suitable for all occasions.