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Nautical Style


story Maureen Scott  photography Steve Uhraney

This summer, fashionistas are earning their stripes with horizontal lines inspired by vintage uniforms of the Royal Navy. Also known as Breton stripes, the look hasn't gone out of style since Coco Chanel wore her iconic striped sailor shirt in 1917.

Nautical, however, doesn’t mean dressing like Captain Highliner. It can be as casual as a Ralph Lauren striped shirt worn with boat shoes and shorts or a linen navy shirt-dress worn with a white cardigan and red wedge sandals. Either way, if it evokes images of sailing on a yacht or naval uniforms - this timeless look is a clear sign summer is here.

“From red skinny jeans paired with a striped sweater or navy blazer to striped tube dresses, the nautical look readily lends itself to reinterpretation,” says Anna Mattiuzzo, public relations spokesperson for Laura Canada.

“A nautical inspired look can be entirely office-appropriate, providing the overall look retains a sophisticated, sharp silhouette. For example, a wide-leg red pant paired with a tailored jacket and a nautical stripe camisole or tank will convey a professional look while nodding to the trend. Let the colour scheme speak for the trend and combine items with sleek silhouettes and sharp cuts for a chic, balanced look.” she said.

Your red and white thin-striped long sleeve topper can be transformed from nautical to French chic when paired with a pair of cherry red jeans or capris and a pair of red ballet flats. On the weekend, wear the same T-shirt with cut-off denim shorts, a pair of Sperry top-sider deck shoes, and perhaps a cozy fisherman knit sweater and you’ll be ready for a weekend at the shore.

While horizontal stripes often get a bad rap for making the body look wider, Susan Longley, owner of Susan’s Fine Lingerie & Swimwear says stripes can be figure flattering. “Don’t be afraid of stripes,” says Susan. “Done properly, stripes should accent most figure types and be a blessing to hide those little bumps. Stripes done properly mean choosing the right colour combinations (i.e. black on white or navy on white) and paying attention to the size of the stripes.”

If you are looking for the perfect nautical piece to update your summer wardrobe, “Start with a nice lounging outfit—a long jersey dress to wear over your swimsuit,” says Susan, “which can also be worn as a summer dress, plus, add a two-piece lounger with epaulettes at the elbow-length cuff and on the capri.”

“When it comes to swimwear, the Breton stripe is the ultimate nautical statement, especially when coupled with the lift of a bra sized top.” says Lida Lisney, owner of Inside Story Fine Lingerie. “It’s sure to be the hottest look around!”

From jackets to tote bags, The Bay has introduced a new collection of multi-striped fashions and accessories for Spring and Summer 2012.

“From stylish flip-flops and luxe beach towels, to vintage-inspired sweatshirts, reversible tees and a chic multi-stripe bikini, the iconic Hudson’s Bay Company stripes are in full force this season,” says Shelley Fremont, public relations specialist for The Bay.

“Special collaborations this season include partnerships with Chester Wallace for Hudson’s Bay Company Collection of Chester Wallace Tote Bags and a unique collaboration with Lomography to create a special-edition camera, the first of its kind in Canada.” she said.

Nautical prints run the gamut from anchor and lifesaver prints to rope detailing. But there’s nothing more classic than navy and white.

Bianca Nygard’s Summer 2012 collection called “The Hamptons” features navy, blue and white print dresses and tops, plus solid white and cobalt blue looks that are as refreshing as a first sip of ice tea on a scorching summer day. Either the Bianca Nygard knotted waist blue print shift dress or the three-quarter length ruffled print dress would be perfect for a summer wedding or a holiday by the sea.

Nautical can be naughty and nice too. From sexy swimwear to maxi dresses in sea and sky inspired colours and prints like cobalt, teal or aqua, to the more traditional and classic red, white and blue sailor-inspired looks, embrace the nautical look this summer.

You’ll know you’ve gone overboard with the look if people begin to salute you!

For more information visit


1 Sea Maiden Crochet Sweater: Elbow sleeves, boat neckline
and ribbed trim.Tiered Skirt: Crafted of cotton sateen for
a smooth fit and accented with a tier.

2 Simple Details Embroidered Dots Crochet Tank Dress: All-over
embroidered dots and crochet detail. Knit Cardigan: A simple and
basic cardigan offers minimalistic polish with an open front,
3/4 sleeves and ribbed trim. Available at

 3 Sea Breeze Striped Tank Top from Armorlux, France
(outfitter for the French Navy) with drawstring cotton shorts.

4 Sea Breeze Striped Marinière 3/4 sleeve cotton top
from Armorlux, France with white cotton slacks.
Available at Susan’s Fine Lingerie and Swimwear

La MarinièreCoco Chanel (1917) in her Breton striped sailor shirt she
called "La Marinière" (Deauville, France)

Hudson's Bay Stripe
Men’s Modern Bretton
*Women’s version also available


Ralph Lauren
Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren cotton jersey striped hood.
Newest hoodie abandons the ultra-casual look in favor of a chic,
lightweight layering piece in striped cotton jersey.

Denim & Supply Ralph Lauren skinny cropped chino pant.
Offering a hint of preppy chic in soft stretch cotton chino.

Available exclusively at The Bay and on