Let's hear it for stripes

They're cool, crisp, fun and funky - and come in a seemingly limitless range of variations and colour combinations. We're talking stripes, of course. From barber's poles to classic t-shirts, deckchairs to national flags, the humble stripe pops up in all kinds of places and interpretations.

Take a look at some of our gifting collections and you'll soon see we're massive fans of stripes at Rory & Ruby. In fact, the stripy t-shirt worn by Rory, one of the stars of the picture book series that kicked off our very own seaside adventure, was a major inspiration. There's just something about that great combination of single or multi-coloured stripes against a clean white background that instantly takes us back to days on the beach, and perhaps more carefree times.

Different times, different stripes

A gender-neutral staple in many modern day wardrobes for work and down time alike, there's nothing new about stripes. And their credentials are more than just vintage; they're historic, with origins as far back as medieval times. In those dim and distant times, a black and white striped garment was worn by all manner of unsavoury characters including hangmen and criminals.

Skip a few centuries and by the early 18th century, vertical stripes had become a favourite of Regency followers of fashion. In the middle of the 19th century, Queen Victoria supposedly gave stripes the royal seal of approval when she dressed one of her young sons in a sailor suit for a voyage on the Royal Yacht.

But the garment that really sparked fashion's obsession with the horizontal stripes or hoops we love today was the marinière or tricot rayé, which translates as striped sweater. Issued in 1858 as part of the French Navy’s uniform, it was a navy and white, wool or cotton sweater featuring 21 stripes,

Legend has it that the number of stripes tallied up to Napoleon’s military victories. Whether truth or myth, the simple practical uniform became so popular with seafarers in Northern France and Breton marine workers that it soon became known as the Breton shirt. And for very good reason: sailors and fishermen used to say that the stripes made it easier to spot men who had fallen overboard.

Icons past & present

In the 20th century, French mime artists rehabilitated black and white stripes from their medieval criminal associations; fashion designer Coco Chanel tapped into the minimalist appeal of nautical stripes for her collections; and artist Pablo Picasso adopted the classic Breton shirt after moving to the South of France. Since then, the stripy tee has been worn and championed by celebrities and style innovators from Mary Quant to Andy Warhol, Kurt Cobain to 21st century fashion icon, Kate Middleton.

At Rory & Ruby, as far as we're concerned, it's never too early to launch a lifelong love of stripes. And we've got the perfect little outfits to get started. Our super cute collection of stripy bodysuits, rompers and beanies in comfy organic cotton are the ideal new baby gift or to celebrate a first birthday. Available in a choice of colours and sizes, they're, well... stripytastic!