History by Lynne: It’s probably not surprising that stripes have been around for–well, pretty much–forever! One of the first references I can think of can be found in Egyptian times on King Tutankhamun’s headdress and other Egyptian cloth of that time period. There is a great book called The Devil’s Cloth, which reveals that stripes have not always had a happy and cheery connotation. As early as the medieval times, stripes were originally used to identify outcasts in society such as serfs, jugglers, clowns, hangmen. During the French Revolution, punishing and degrading stripes were connected with prisoners. Even in our modern times, the McDonald’s Hamburglar character in his jailbreak black and white stripes evoke mischief.
But alongside these negative connotations, good stripes also began to appear. Especially in French history. La mariniere, known as the Breton or sailor stripe, was cleverly made the official French Sailor uniform by French law as early as 1858. Why? Because the graphic stripe made it easy to locate overboard seamen in the murky Atlantic waters. Saint James was established in France in 1889 to produce striped knitwear for industrial purposes. Coco Chanel was the first to introduce the French sailor striped t-shirt to women’s fashion in 1917. After that famous
introduction, stripes in fashion have evolved into a classic and are loved by everyone!
I’m obsessed with stripes. Because I’m obsessed with stripes, I’m always
researching them. I came across this chic blog–Ladolfina.blogspot.com–which smartly gives a 101 of stripe history. You should check it out!
Buy: Striped Cardigan at CardiganNewYork.com
This Fall 2010 Cardigan was inspired by French military and northern coast seafaring culture.