It is a trend that reoccurs every Summer and for good reason; nautical is surprisingly easy to wear, flattering a variety of shapes and ages, and perfectly encapsulating balmy summer days spent by the sea. Reoccuring throughout the decades, the blue and white trend has been reimagined time and time again with every era since the mid Nineteenth Century having its own incarnation.
Though it has a decidedly French feel to it, the trend’s popularity began with England in the 1800s, when reigning monarch Queen Victoria commissioned a replica sailor suit to be made for her four year old son Prince Albert, or Bertie as he was affectionately known, to wear aboard the Royal Yacht. The public was enrapt; numerous copies were spawned and it wasn’t long before the trend had traversed to women’s fashion too.
Many decades later in 1913, Coco Chanel opened her debut boutique – not as one might have imagined in Paris, but in the chic seaside town of Deauville, Normandy. Chanel’s relaxed designs heavily capitalised on a nautical heritage, and in 1917 she was pictured wearing la marinière, better known in English as the classic Breton Stripe shirt; in the ensuing years, this has become the archetypical item that springs to mind when nautical is mentioned. Chanel’s influence was instrumental in showing that the trend worked for young, fashionable women too and sailor-inspired pieces have been a key fixture in fashion lover’s wardrobes since the dawn of the roaring twenties.
Nowdays, contemporary silhouettes are given some timeless appeal by the enduring print. To keep things modern, avoid drowning the look in too many nautical accessories; sailor hats might look cute when you’re ten but on a grown women, they can be seem kitsch. A subtle anchor anklet or ring can work a treat, whilst a trusty pair of sunglasses will play into those sunny day vibes.