Style, Ahoy! Navigate Towards The Ultra-Cool Nauticals
You don’t have to be a sailor to have fun with nautical fashion—this is one style of clothing that’s been a popular trend since the ’40s. A summer staple and a favourite for vacation/resort wear, nautical fashion shows no sign of going out of style. But how do you pull it off without looking like someone stuck in a gimmicky sailor’s outfit at a drunken Halloween party? Here’s our guide on how to do it right.
T-shirts or tops in classic sailor stripes, or Breton stripes, were first worn by French fisherman who needed to protect themselves from strong winds. Striped vests soon became the official uniform of the French army. Although it’s not completely certain whether it was the Dutch or the French who originally conceived the super-cute Breton striped print, costume historians strongly believe that the print became popular in the navy because the contrasting print of the shirt made the sailor easily visible if he had fallen into the sea.
A Breton striped top worn with white shorts
Thankfully, we can wear the gorgeous print without the risk of being overboard. Striped T-shirts and singlets are so versatile that they can be teamed with almost anything. Wear them with linen pants to do errands or wear a solid-coloured skirt with a striped tee to look like one of the French New Wave heroines. Style icon Audrey Hepburn was known to be so partial to the print that it came to epitomise her style.
Style icon Audrey Hepburn in her favourite stripe tee
Play around with the colour and shape of the stripes. Stylists insist that vertical and diagonal stripes are more figure flattering that horizontal ones. A dress in interesting diagonal stripes will highlight your curves and play down problem areas. Black and blue stripes are definitely considered classic, but don’t be afraid to experiment with blue, red, pink, orange and yellow stripes.
Jean Seberg in a striped dress in Breathless, Diagonal stripes enhance curves
Nautical fashion has long been associated with the delicate polka dot print. Wear a polka dotted dress in navy blue in wispy and billowy fabrics to look like you’re just back from a vacation in Monte Carlo. Team a crisp polka dot top with high-waisted palazzo pants or shorts for the vintage Casablanca look. To really work this style, avoid large polka dots and stick to wispy or sheer fabric.
Polka dotted dress with nautical detailing
Nautical style revolves around navy blue, white and black with red accents or details. Wear a striped skirt with a red top or team blue pants with a red striped tee. But don’t be afraid to incorporate other colours such as orange, maroon or brown. Choose separates such as a maroon skirt, brown pants or yellow shorts to mix and match with a striped top.
If you’re the kind who prefers a more sophisticated style over bright or quirky fashion, choose one strong detail from nautical style and blend it with denims or neutral separates. Team a striped top with jeans or shorts for that chilled-out afternoon with girlfriends or wear a striped jacket over beige linen pants to work. A skirt in black or blue will water down the madness of an orange striped top.
The versatile sailor print looks great with neutral separates
Incorporating accessories such as a red scarf or a sailor’s hat will jazz up an otherwise staid outfit. You can opt for nautical-themed accessories such as anchor pendants or bracelets. Hemp and shell details work great with nautical clothes. Although loafers, moccasins, sandals and flip-flops are your best bets with this style, don’t neglect your Converse sneakers. Nothing spells casual chic like converse shoes with a striped top and shorts.
Now that you know how to embrace European sophistication and elegance with nautical fashion, fire across the bow and set sail.
Images courtesy: summerdress.org.uk, thestylevixen.wordpress.com, www.fashionmefabulous.com, zulily.com, aliexpress.com, polkstripes.com, amakadesign.com, listal.com, pastlivesvintage.bigcartel.com, lucky-loves.com, agirlsguiltyspleasures.blogspot.com