Most of us probably have a Breton striped shirt in our closets.  The Breton is usually thought of as a cotton top with blue stripes.  The style was introduced in 1858 as the uniform for the French navy.  The original design featured 21 stripes, one for each of Napoleon Bonaparte's victories.  The stripes made it easier to spot sailors who had fallen overboard.  After visiting the French coast, Coco Chanel noticed the striped shirts.  The designer was inspired to incorporate the stripes into her nautical collection in 1917.  The shirt was designed to be worn with flared trousers.

The allure of the Breton stripe shirt is in its versatility.   Wearing a Breton stripe shirt adds instant chic to any outfit.

Audrey Hepburn wearing a Breton tee in the 1956 film Funny Face.

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French actress, Bridgette Bardot wearing a Breton stripe top.

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Alexa Chung at London Fashion Week.

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The Duchess of Cambridge in stripes in London.

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Joanna Hillman in a classic Breton stripe shirt with black blazer and heels.

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This is a beautiful classic example of how to wear Breton stripes!  The scarf takes it from boring to fabulous!

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Ashley Olsen in a striped mink coat!

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Kate Moss in a striped coat.

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Let me know what you think about Breton stripes!  Are they part of your wardrobe?

Please leave your comments below and let me know what you think!