Americans have blue jeans, the French have Breton stripes.
No item is more fundamental to French style than the blue and white striped shirt, and thereâ€™s certainly no shortage of them to go around. The appeal of a Breton tee is simple, theyâ€™re tailored through the body with an open â€œboat-neck,â€ but relaxed in the sleeve and are generally one of the most comfortable garments you can wear. Itâ€™s often the most basic items that are the easiest to screw up though and there are countless â€œclose but no cigarâ€ iterations of the Breton tee out there. Which brings us to Orcival, the seventy-five year old purveyors of an authentic Breton stripe tee.
If that name is less familiar to you than some other Breton-centric labels itâ€™s because Orcival only arrived on the U.S. market over the past few years, but donâ€™t let that fool you into thinking these guys are green. Founded in Paris by Charles Bert in 1939, Orcival soon relocated south to Lyon where they established a vertically integrated workshop to craft their striped tees. Orcivalâ€™s attentive approach to manufacturing endures today as they still produces all their garments in France using their own yarns on antique looms. Throughout the mid-twentieth century, Orcivalâ€™s business grew thanks in part to the backing of the French Navy, with whom they held a longstanding contract, as well as celebrities such as Pablo Picasso. Even with this homegrown support though, it still took Orcival quite some time to arrive in America, but theyâ€™ve now hit our shores with full force, so go ahead and get your Breton on.