Whether it’s a classic Breton or bold block, stripes have a timeless appeal that ensure they’re still widely worn to this day. Over the years it’s versatility has allowed it to become a go-to item of undeniable cool. Thanks in no small part to the British icons of stage screen and art who have approached the classic French pattern with a British twist.
Regarded as one of the most important British painters in living memory, Hockney’s trademark colour and vibrancy goes beyond his work to his wardrobe. His ability to put together a look in a riot of clashing primary colours and patterns, allowed him to cut a distinct figure in the 20th century art scene. Stand out looks included university rugby shirts in pink and blue or polo shirts in an eye watering pattern of yellow and black stripes, paired with matching yellow chinos. While he favoured “total looks” he could just as easily take the subtle approach in a simple striped tie or bengal stripe shirt that still showed off his trademark irreverence.
Bursting on to the music scene in the 1962 with the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger’s influence extends far beyond rock and roll. While his stage persona evolved from modish sharply tailored suits, flares, billowing blouses, tight fitting t-shirts and even tighter trousers. His downtime style was symbolic of the era, seen here in a nautical Breton stripe top, worn slightly oversized, the style was adopted by the postwar youth movement that took it beyond it’s origins in the French naval forces. Lending it a typically English sense of ease and refinement in a way only Jagger could.
Pull up any list of 20th Century style icons and Hepburn is certain to be riding high. It’s easy to see why, when you take a closer look at her approach to dressing. Always graceful even when playing the tomboy, Hepburn’s style was a careful combination of the casual and elegant. In the 1956 film Funny Face, Audrey Hepburn was seen wearing a black turtleneck sweater, cropped ski pants and a breton top, perfectly capturing the beatnik style of the 1950s and 60s. The humble striped top came to define her special brand of informal elegance, a look that has gained plenty of copy-cats over the years.
SHOP SUNSPEL STRIPED T-SHIRTS