“Hotchkiss and Yale man Gerald Murphy—artist, F. Scott Fitzgerald muse, and heir to Mark Cross—first discovered the jaunty appeal of the striped sailor top. Summering in Cap d’Antibes in 1923, he wore his Marseilles market find so well that soon such fellow beachcombers as Pablo Picasso and Coco Chanel were sporting them, too. Then came devoted Americaphile the Duke of Windsor, who wore his even during his brief reign as king of England while yachting with soon-to-be-twice-divorced girlfriend Wallis in 1937. After World War Two, the striped top went through its rebellious phase, worn by the likes of Jean Seberg, Andy Warhol, and Joan Baez before settling down as favored prep unisex garment during the 1970s. Its next incarnation, embodying fashion with a capital F, came courtesy of Jean Paul Gualtier. With its navy-on-cream stripes, the iconic Breton fisherman’s sweater is as significant a part of the French clothing vocabulary as the beret.”
—Caroline Rennolds Milbank, True Prep
Saint James has been spinning some of the world’s finest knits out of their Normandy, France based factory since 1889, but they are best known for their authentic Breton stripe sweaters. Though they are offered in wool (best suited for the fall/winter), opt for cotton come summer; they are more akin to heavy weight knit tees and are perfect layered or alone.