Did you know that the original breton striped shirt came with 21 stripes on it?
Each stripe functioned as a numerical totem that tallied Napoleon’s militant victories.
It was not until 1917, when Coco Chanel first introduced the hitherto work shirt (it had been created in the mid-1800s for members of the French Navy — seamen if you will) to a collection for resort (though it was not being called resort back then) that the shirt made its first foray into the sartorial vernacular of fashion.
Then, of course, there came the Audrey Hepburns and Brigitte Bardots of the world, who seemed to emanate that sense of, “So you can’t quite approximate my full eyebrows or conversely fluent-looking bed-head? No problem. Approximate our shirts.”
And approximate ye did.
If Alexa Chung, Audrey Tautou, Kate Moss, Edie Sedgwick et al are an indication of anything when considering the horizontal slivers of navy, it is that the easy, achievable and accessible nature of the tees are exactly what make them seem so swank now.
Don’t they seem kind of swank in that way that steadily reliable friends do? You love your friend, she’s always there for you, you kind of don’t want to share your friend, but even if you do, there’s a fundamental understanding that it won’t affect how you two interact, how frequently you’re together and more importantly, how profoundly you get each other.
Of course it doesn’t hurt either that the illusion of a little French boy is consistently conjured up too. But if I’m being really honest with you, all this metaphor is to say that my money is on stripes for the imminent summer season. They’re befitting wherever they’re placed.
Pair one with a ball gown skirt and host your own Met Ball. (Please, though, call it the Guggenheim Ball or at very least acknowledge that I’ve been calling it that for three days. I likely won’t stop until you tell me to or laugh).
Shut your mind off, close your eyes and throw (literally throw, I’m dying to see this visual) a pair of high waist jeans or cut offs on. You’ll look like “you woke up like dis,” even though you are far too creative to say such a thing.
Or, try a linen sarong as a skirt and pretend you’re at the beach, unless you actually are at the beach, in which case: fuck you.
I’m kidding! Bring me back a seashell.
Or a striped shirt.
Oh! Right! Also, my current favorite is from Zara. Amelia is committed to the purveyors of stripes at Saint James and recently, I bought the photographed one from the mens department at A.P.C. and so far, I have no regrets. (The rest of the outfit includes sunglasses by Karen Walker, jeans by the anterior (also mens, they’re a size 28, and now on sale) and Christian Louboutin heels.)
I should also mention that accessories seem integral too. The right sunglasses, a gold choker. Striped shirts are a reliable friend and a loaf of bread. One that begs for fancy marination. So give it what it wants.