The Iconic Striped Sweater

The striped black and white sweater, also known as the Breton sweater, has become an iconic piece of fashion over the years. Its history began in 1889 in the town of Saint-James in La Manche, France. Originally worn by French sailors, the sweater was designed with exactly 21 stripes, each representing a naval victory of Napoleon Bonaparte. However, it wasn’t until the 1950s that the sweater became a fashion statement, thanks to the influence of the beloved French designer Coco Chanel.

Chanel was inspired by the simplicity and functionality of the Breton sweater and incorporated it into her fashion line. She paired the sweater with high-waisted pants and skirts, creating a chic and effortless look that was both comfortable and stylish. The sweater quickly became a staple in her collections and was soon adopted by other designers and fashion icons.

One of the reasons why the striped black and white sweater has become so iconic is its versatility. It can be dressed up or down, worn with jeans or a skirt, and paired with a variety of accessories. It’s a timeless piece that never goes out of style and can be worn year-round.

Another reason for its popularity is its association with French culture and style. The Breton sweater has become synonymous with French fashion, wearing one can instantly give you a sense of sophistication and elegance. Peek into the closet of most french women and chances are you will find one, most bearing the label Saint James de la mer. La mer means The Sea 🌊.

The striped black and white sweater has been worn by many famous figures over the years, including Audrey Hepburn, James Dean, and Jean Seberg. Their influence and style have helped to cement the sweater’s place in fashion history.

In conclusion, the striped black and white sweater has become an iconic piece of fashion due to its versatility, association with French culture and style, and the influence of famous figures who have worn it over the years. It’s a classic piece that will never go out of style. In the warm months, something versatile like this is a must have for cold, air conditioned places like the office, a grocery run, or a restaurant. A striped sweater over the shoulders is a classic, chic look that is practical for dramatic changes in temperature.

With love,

Betsy Nari

The original manufacturer in Normandy France 1889: Saint James

1. Amazon

2. Mango

Bonus (Not Pictured)

3. Jcrew

My personal favorite. I adore the gold buttons on this one.

4. Anthropologie

This one has navy blue stripes

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