At Seasalt striped sailor shirts are our staple garments – in fact they were the first Seasalt garment we ever made 33 years ago! But how did nautical stripes become part of our everyday wardrobe?
Stripes were popular among seafarers as they were highly visible should a sailor be unlucky enough to fall over-board. Vertically striped trousers were the garment of choice for mariners in the 1700s, with Nelson owning a rather fetching pair of striped stockings! Stripes proved so effective when out at sea that in 1858 the French Navy demanded the humble striped shirt become strict, naval uniform.
During the early 1900s stripes had started to seep into everyday clothing. Swimsuits (think vintage, strong man outfits) were a popular choice for the striped design – but the shirts had started to make their way onto the creative scene, with artists and writers including Man Ray, Ernest Hemingway and Picasso regularly wearing them – there are pictures floating around of F. Scott Fitzgerald pairing his stripes with a pair of plus fours!
Perhaps the most famous striped top lover of them all, and the person credited with bringing the humble sailor shirt on to the radar of the fabulously fashionable, was Coco Chanel. Arguably one of the most famous and influential designers in the world, she took elements of menswear and transformed them into luxurious clothing for women. A firm believer that clothing ought to be comfortable, a strong sentiment that moved away from the constraints of women’s fashion in the early 1900s, she once said, “luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury” – a sentiment strongly shared by Seasalt designers today!
Throughout the years the classic striped shirt showed no signs of abating and became synonymous with 1960s French New Wave Cinema, and the burgeoning creative art scene. Actresses Jean Seberg and Brigitte Bardot, and artist Andy Warhol were rarely seen without their nautical attire.
Even today the striped shirt is still as popular as ever – perhaps due to its magical ability to make any outfit look as though you’ve just stepped off the boat from the French Riviera, or maybe because it looks as good with a pair of jeans as it does with a floral print skirt. One thing’s for certain, the striped top shows no sign of slowing down, and we’re proud that our Sailor Shirt is the best you can buy!