Nautical stripes date back to 1850s Europe, when they became standard issue in the French Navy – the theory being that blue and white stripes would be easier to spot if sailors fell overboard, according to Ralph Lauren’s online style guide.
But it was Coco Chanel who really put the horizontal stripe on the map, when she created a nautical-themed collection in 1917, according to a history of stripes posted by experimental fashion label UMd. Chanel herself was known to pair a striped Breton top with wide-legged trousers, helping to spark the enduring trend.
Though they’ve been around for more than a century, nautical stripes are timeless. They look outstanding with most brands and are popular by water and on the mainland.
Stripes are the new black, according to Megan Erber of S&S Activewear. They add extra flair to a casual piece of apparel. Erber says she’s been seeing stripes used to give a garment a color-blocked effect or just to jazz up a plain design. Striped sleeves evoke the look of a vintage football jersey, and colorful stripes on a shirt’s midsection can add a feminine touch, she adds.
When decorating striped apparel, Erber suggest staying away from multicolored imprints because they would distract from the actual stripes. For example, try embroidering white thread on a blue stripe, or vice versa, she adds.