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Icons of Breton

Discover the long story behind our favourite Sailor Stripes.

Of all the beautiful pieces that Seasalt has created over the years, nothing is quite as close to our hearts as our beloved Sailor Shirt. A classic Breton top in softest organic cotton jersey was the very first thing we ever perfected, and it’s never steered us wrong.

Almost all of our Sailor Shirts are made with 100% GOTS certified organic cotton, which guarantees the organic provenance of the product by auditing each stage of the supply chain.

Find out more about our commitment to sustainable fabrics.

Where did the Breton top come from?

Well, it’s actually the French navy we need to say “merci” to for this one. The original Breton stripe was introduced as their uniform in 1858 and fishermen, sailors and seafarers have been wearing them ever since. But it was Coco Chanel who first poached the idea and commandeered it as a fashion item in 1917.

As one of the most influential and famous designers of her time, Chanel adopted elements of menswear and traditional workwear and used them to inspire her practical yet stylish womenswear. She once said, “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” We couldn’t agree more.

Coco Chanel

The artistic and creative communities have long had a soft spot for the humble Breton, with artists and writers including Man Ray, Ernest Hemingway and Picasso famously donning stripes throughout their lives. The likes of Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot were also known to weave a little understated nautical style into their looks with a signature Breton or two.

The lowdown on Breton…

  • The first Breton tops worn by the French navy had 21 stripes to mark the number of Napoleon’s victories.
  • The Seasalt Sailor Family harbours something for everyone with new colours, sleeve lengths and styles added each month.
  • Seasalt Sailor Shirts are made with 100% GOTS certified organic cotton. This is the gold standard of organic cotton, protecting wildlife, soil quality and the workers who grow and process the cotton.
  • Our stripy clothes are beautifully soft and made to last. The stipes are yarn-dyed, where every thread is coloured before being made into the garment, for depth and vibrancy in the finished design.
  • Many of our Sailor Stripes are available in our Mix & Match 2 for £45 offer alongside selected soft leggings and comfy sandals for effortless outfits all year round.