Rosie’s Summertime Stripes Leave a comment August 25, 2016 Hope Gough Read how Rosie introduced stripes into her summer time wardrobe… Everyone loves a bit of sailor inspired fashion. Stripes are so easy to wear and navy looks great on everyone. Keen to introduce stripes to her wardrobe, the lovely Rosie from Everything Looks Rosie shows us how she nailed the nautical trend by wearing key pieces from our newest fashion collection… Spots or stripes? I used to be firmly in the polka dot camp – you have to look at my wardrobe for the evidence – but more recently I’ve made it my mission to break out of my style comfort zone. As a result, I’ve become smitten with stripes; particularly those of the Breton variety. When we think of nautical summer style, the first thing that springs to mind is the staple stripe. I’m not ashamed to admit I’m sometimes known to dress coordinating with my location, so on a recent day trip to Edinburgh’s seaside at Portobello, Breton stripes seemed an apt pattern choice. Do any of us really know the roots of this fashion favourite? My Gran was a dressmaker and I find fashion history and the social stories it maps utterly fascinating, so given my recent stripe conversion I was eager to find out the origin of the humble print. Breton stripes get their name from their original home, Brittany, in North West France. In 1858, an official decree enforced a very precise uniform for local sailors: a knitted top with 2 cm white stripes and 1 cm blue stripes, with a distinctive (rather appropriately named) boat neckline. Rooted in practicality, the original top was designed to keep seafarers cool but covered (while not being so loose that it might get caught on equipment) and to make sailors easy to spot by their compatriots. The shirt increased in popularity because it was practical and wearable, and even became the uniform of the French navy. Fast forward to 1917 and enter Coco Chanel: after visiting the area, she used the pattern in a nautical-themed collection that tapped into the contemporary appetite for seaside holidays. Chanel’s stripes epitomised chic, simple style: a break away from the stifling shapes and restrictive conventions of previous eras’ dress. The stripe only grew in popularity over the decades, and thanks to icons such as Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot, Breton stripes became the it-print du jour of the ‘50s and ‘60s. More than just a trend, the print’s immortalisation in iconic films, from James Dean in ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ to Edie Sedgwick in Andy Warhol’s ‘Kitchen’ (1965), rendered it a timeless classic. From modest naval beginnings to celebrity pattern of choice, the stripe epitomises insouciant French style, particularly that Parisian je ne sais quoi. This knitted nautical dress from Laura Ashley’s new collection stays true to the perennial fashion staple with a skimming fit and modest length, while wee updates like the exposed zip and flashes of red at the neckline and notched hem make the classic piece contemporary. The cotton knit is perfect for Scottish Summer: it keeps out the chill when it needs to, but is lightweight enough for when the sun comes out too. With a red crew neck cardigan thrown over my shoulders and vintage straw accessories à la Jane Birkin (I couldn’t resist adding a boater hat!) I was all set for a day at the beach. Thanks Rosie you look fab! We just hope the weather held out for you! Do you have any breton in your wardrobe? Let us know below or Twitter @LauraAshleyUSA.