Traditional utility garments were adopted by artists and intellectuals, and by fashion design, during the first decades of the 1900s. The sailor’s jumper became a trend in the bohemian communities of Saint-Tropez and Antibes on the French Riviera; and together with soft jersey knits and a more androgynous silhouette, the ‘nautical style’ was an important inspiration for the modernisation of womenswear.
The striped sailor’s jumper, known as la marinière (the sailor), tricot
rayé (striped knit) or chandail (jumper), became the official undershirt
of the French navy in the spring of 1858. An official bulletin specified
the exact number and width of the stripes, stating that the body of the
shirt should be patterned with 21 white stripes and 20 or 21 indigo-blue
stripes, the white stripes being twice as wide – 20 millimetres – as the blue.