Arthur Beale has been selling the classic Breton tops for many years. The history of these striped shirts is very interesting. The blue and white tops with 21 stripes were introduced following the Act of France on 27th March 1858 as the standard uniform for Brittany Navy Seamen. They were known as matelot or marinière. Apparently the 21 stripes represented each of the Napoleon victories. The tops were made in the small Normandy village of Saint James which was established by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. The village was renowned for its weaving and draping.
The company Saint James still manufactures the tops in the same village. They also still supply the French navy and army with their sweaters. The tops have since been adopted by various fashion icons and have been worn by James Dean, Pablo Picasso, Coco Channel, Kate Moss and Alexa Chung. I have to confess I hadn’t heard of Alexa Chung but that just shows what a sheltered life I have led as she is obviously very famous. Maybe she bought hers from Arthur Beale? (Update: Apparently she did, good on her!)
We have a great range of Saint James products including several styles of the classic stripey tops in a wide colour range and with long, three quarter and short sleeves. We also stock a Saint James navy pullover called Locharon which combines a very smart appearance with a very practical garment. It suits people who are tall as the cut is less box like than most pullovers. It could be happily worn with jeans or a suit.
Why not call in and visit “Upstairs at Arthur Beale” for the best range of nautical clothing in town.