The History Of Nautical Fashion
The History Of Nautical Fashion


The world of fashion has always been influenced by various themes and motifs, and nautical fashion is no exception. Inspired by the rich maritime heritage and oceanic adventures, nautical clothing and accessories have become timeless classics that never go out of style. In this article, we will delve into the captivating history of nautical fashion and explore its evolution from functional seafaring attire to a beloved style statement.

Origins in Practicality

Nautical fashion finds its roots in the practical attire worn by sailors and fishermen throughout history. The early days saw sailors donning striped shirts, known as Breton tops, which were easy to spot in case they fell overboard. These shirts featured horizontal stripes, typically in blue and white, making them instantly recognizable even from a distance.

Influence of Naval Uniforms

As naval forces gained prominence across the world, their uniforms began to inspire fashion trends on land. The iconic double-breasted navy blazer became a symbol of sophistication and elegance both on and off the decks. The gold buttons adorned with anchor motifs added a touch of nautical flair to these jackets, further cementing their association with maritime style.

Coco Chanel’s Nautical Revolution

In the early 20th century, renowned fashion designer Coco Chanel introduced nautical elements into women’s wardrobes. Inspired by her love for yachting, Chanel popularized the use of sailor collars, striped sweaters, and wide-leg trousers for women. Her innovative approach blended functionality with high fashion, paving the way for nautical clothing to become a mainstream trend.

Hollywood’s Influence

During the 1950s and 1960s, Hollywood played a significant role in popularizing nautical fashion. Films like “Roman Holiday” starring Audrey Hepburn showcased chic striped tops paired with high-waisted shorts, instantly making them a fashion must-have. Iconic stars like Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly further solidified the nautical aesthetic by sporting sailor-inspired dresses and accessories.

Yachting and Resort Wear

As leisure activities boomed in the 20th century, nautical fashion found a new niche in yachting and resort wear. Yachts became synonymous with luxury and sophistication, leading to the rise of nautical-inspired clothing suitable for leisurely sailing trips and beach vacations. Nautical stripes, anchor motifs, boat shoes, and sailor caps became staples in resort wear collections, evoking a sense of maritime adventure.

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Modern Interpretations

In contemporary times, nautical fashion has evolved while still retaining its timeless appeal. Designers continue to incorporate nautical elements into their collections, experimenting with different colour palettes, materials, and silhouettes. Stripes remain an integral part of nautical fashion but are now accompanied by modern twists such as asymmetrical cuts or vibrant colour combinations.


The history of nautical fashion is a testament to its enduring popularity and versatility. From its humble origins in practical sailor attire to becoming a beloved style statement for men and women alike, nautical fashion has transcended time and trends. Whether it’s the classic Breton stripe or the iconic navy blazer, embracing nautical clothing and accessories allows us to embark on a sartorial journey that celebrates the timeless allure of the sea.

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