I have twelve striped tee-shirts in my wardrobe, six striped dresses, four
striped jumpers, one striped jacket. That’s a total of twenty-three striped garments, enough to open a Petit Bateau shop on my own, and that’s before I’ve even started counting striped knickers and striped socks. I have a long-standing, and not too original, addiction to stripes. As a non-trend trend, guaranteed to pop up season in, season out on the runway and in editorials, stripes have become my answer to morning outfit panics. Stripes make an otherwise boring outfit unboring, jazz up a black bottom. Stripes have the neutrality of block colours, but none of their plainness. If it was a plain white or a plain navy top, the striped tee-shirt would be boring. Stripes give it a French accent, with the obligatory classy, romantic, sexy, Parisian (never mind stripes were more Brittany fisherman than Parisian élégante) subtext which resonates in British minds. Stripes are not just about the fashion magazine cliché, they’re about the way they talk to people’s subconscient. As I’ve started losing my French accent for an undefined, neither completely French, nor entirely English one, I’ve found myself doning more and more stripes, going into personal challenges of wearing different stripes every day of the week. As I struggle with feelings of national belonging, stripes have become something attaching me back to France, even if it’s little more than the France foreigners fantasize. In my wardrobe back in France, the clothes I wore age 12 to 17, there’s hardly a stripe in sight. Just like I had to wait for my first year of uni in London to buy a beret, I waited to feel like a foreigners both in France and England to buy my first striped Petit Bateau. More than mere elegance or fashion, stripes have become an outside display and a strong part of my identity.
Here is a selection of my favourite stripes at the moment: