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A Question About Stripes

Oh, the Stereotypes! The navy striped shirt is to articles on French fashion what buxom chicks are to beer ads: ever-present. In the Paris of editorial spreads, women sit in cafes in striped shirts. In the bars of beer ads, women are single, busting out of a white tank and scanning the room for the Joe six-pack of their dreams. While either of these scenarios can occur, I'm interested in how the cliches became so pervasive. The buxom beer babes I get. The promise of sex sells beer, and in advertising, if it sells, it sells. Besides, it's all good fun and fantasy, and people know that. The navy striped shirt, I don't. I understand some of the history - French navy, Chanel, Breton, etc. - I just don't get the constant distillation of French fashion into striped cotton. At least not any more than I get distilling Paris photographically into shots of the Eiffel Tower. While the navy striped tee is nice (I love them, and own a few), I'd like to see more editorial round-ups of French fashion that don't include one.


Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by olivia rae

so funny, I'm in Provence right now and I've been so amused at how many of these shirts I actually see!! But I have to admit, the look IS amazing on the women that can pull it off.

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by nichole

Jenna – I have a ton too. I just don't think of them as instant Frenchification. It drives me absolutely nuts!

Well, the whole idea of 'how to be French" anything. It's just so tired, no?

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by jenna@sweetfineday

i don't know, but if there is a striped navy and white tee in a shop I'm right there checking it out, even though at home I have about too many of them (as do the girls…)

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Sarah

I recently returned an expensive dress (received as a gift) I didn't think I'd wear (little did I know I'd be getting a new job…) in exchange for 4 Ts and tanks from Anthro. Three out of the four were striped. (Navy and white, red and white, and green and white. All different styles) Until that point I didn't even own anything striped.

I got to the counter and thought, "Wow, this is new."

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Marisa and Creative Thursday

so funny you brought this up ~ because seriously, I couldn't believe how many of these striped tops I saw in Paris. And I thought "hey" I guess they do wear stripes this much?! but then when I came home I started seeing them everywhere. So now I'm thinking that they are making a resurgence in fashion. BUT, they still totally have French written all over them and I guess this is my very long comment to answer you and say "I don't know why they are SO French"

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by nichole

Noodles –

I agree. And it's not that I don't like navy striped tees. It's just that you can predict their presence whenever the topic of French style/fashion comes up.

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Noodles and Waffles

Doesn't it seem like the navy striped shirt is everywhere right now?!?

If it's any comfort, I think French woman are much more stylish and fashion forward than the nautical themed shirt.

Have a great weekend!

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by lrntn

funny…I just happened to walk into the Gap today and on a whim bought a striped tee — very happy w/it. Just b/c I don't have one, and it feels like a summery/boat thing (though can't remember the last time I was on a boat…). Perhaps stripes are associated w/French women b/c Brigitte Bardot wore a lot of stripes??

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Monique

So funny I should read your post. I started blogging about stripes on my blog 3 days ago. No kidding! Personally, I love them.

Jul 19, 2014 • Posted by Sabine

Since moving to Melbourne I have been asked a fair bit if French people do wear stripes – or when I'm wearing them I get things like 'but of course!'. It took me by surprise – the whole stripes/French thing, I had no idea!
I told my sister over the phone and she said 'Pffff, n'importe quoi.' Exactly :)

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