The navy stripe is the essence of Le Minor. But this print, a symbol of French elegance, is the result of a history that is as exciting as it is eventful!



"Thou shalt not wear clothes made of two"
Understood as the exclusion of mixtures of materials or colors, this quote from Leviticus in the Bible is seen as the explanation for the dislike of stripes in the history of the ancient and then medieval West.

Until the Renaissance, the stripes are horizontal. They were worn by those on the bangs of the established order: jugglers, musicians, lepers, bohemians, jesters, executioners, prostitutes, convicts, heretics, Jews and Muslims.
The stripe establishes a social distancing and separates honest citizens from those considered less reputable.
In an extremely codified society where everyone must dress according to their sex, status and rank, it is not surprising that the stripe, which stands out better than the plain ones, is reserved for those who want to be ostracised!

This sartorial segregation continued until the 20th century as shown by the striped suits of the Mafia but also the striped pyjamas of prisoners or deportees in death camps.



During the Renaissance, the stripe lost its diabolical aura and became vertical. Still associated with the marginalized, it marks especially the servile condition. The feudal tradition of making servants wear clothes in their master's colors favors this development. And the livery, the costume of the servants appears more and more striped. This habit continues until the post-war period with the vertical striped vests of the butlers and is used as an identifying marker in the cinema or the comics. The most famous example is Nestor, the butler of Captain Haddock!

This domestic stripe reached its peak in the Ancien Régime. It dresses the little people and becomes in France, the emblem of a miserable and oppressed Third State. Thus, in the revolutionary iconography, the Sans-Culottes who upset the established order are dressed in tricolor stripes! The stripes, symbols of transgression, are easier to reproduce than the old coats of arms with plant or stylized animal motifs. The Revolution thus gave the stripe its letters of nobility by making it a symbol of freedom!



Endorsed by the French Revolution, the stripe became more popular. It gained its ornamental dimension after Bonaparte's Egyptian campaign. Legend has it that the 21 regulatory stripes of the sailor's jacket represent the 21 victories of the emperor. The oriental stripe became fashionable and adorned clothing but also interiors.

This democratization was made possible by technical advances in the world of textiles and the mechanization of fabric manufacturing, which facilitated the manufacture of striped fabrics (Jacquard loom, knitting machines for cotton yarn in jersey that we still use at Le Minor).

The development of seaside resorts in the 19th century completed the standardization of the stripe. The European society that discovered sea bathing borrowed the maritime stripe and transposed it from the open sea to the coast. Striped fabrics were found in bathing suits, tent covers and dresses for elegant women, thus gaining their status as an elegant print.


Many clothes of military origin have become basics in our wardrobes (trench coat, chino, marinière...) These clothes forge the workwear style, the art of practical, resistant and timeless clothing that we love so much.


Our striped clothes are no exception and come from the military and marine world.
As early as the 17th century, Dutch and English paintings depict sailors dressed in blue and white or red and white stripes. In France, until the Second Empire (1852-1870), regulations for military uniforms only concerned officers. But in 1858, a decree imposed the blue and white striped knit in the official uniform of sailors. Note that this striped knit is used to distinguish the men who constitute the bottom of the hierarchy on board. It is said that a man who has fallen overboard is more easily identified in a striped uniform. It is also interesting to note that the indigo used in the stripes is an expensive material, the use of stripes allowed to save it.
Anyway, the sailor becomes the emblem of the sailor, this man at the margins of society, associated with danger, an adventurous world or interlope.

The sailor, knitted in jersey is then used as a body knit and must allow the ease of movement that requires life on board. It is for its comfortable and practical aspect that Coco Chanel decides to wear it, during her vacations in Deauville in 1916.
In the world of the chic navy stripe of the seaside resorts, this stroke of brilliance gives to the marinière its letters of nobility!
It is because it was not intended for fashion that it has become timeless.
Season after season, we reinterpret it by combining classicism and modern details!


Michel Pastoureau, L'étoffe du diable
Michel Pastoureau, Le petit livre des couleurs

History of the stripe

Histoire de la rayure par Le Minor