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Classic stripes spring up

The nautical look popularized by French sailors is back in fashion with bright updates from head to toe.

February 08, 2009|Melissa Magsaysay

Graphic, chic and timeless nautical stripes -- the ones derived from the uniforms of French sailors -- are everywhere for spring. The fashion perennials, rife with possibility, can be preppy or edgy, sweet or sporty, and they're a classically effortless and inexpensive way to shift your wardrobe as winter's chill fades.

Starting with the traditional top (navy-and-white striped boat-neck knit) paired with linen trousers and canvas sneakers, and moving on to the bolder look of a structured striped blazer over a bright-colored T-shirt, there is something for everyone, at every price point.

Old Navy has nautical pieces running through its spring merchandise, complete with sailboat tees and striped, hooded henleys. Tory Burch makes flattering, fitted striped cardigans, light-colored striped boat-neck tops and even color-blocked deck shoes.

If the nautical theme doesn't work for you, temper it with bright color and gold accessories. Try a light yellow floral scarf -- the flowers are sweet, the mix of prints is playful and a scarf cuts the stripes on the shirt for a slimming effect. Or top a bold striped tee with a fitted cardigan in a solid color for a softer layer that plays down the graphic nature of the stripes.

Bright orange and green can also make nautical stripes feel fresh. Try adding these daring hues as a skinny belt through the loops of khaki trousers or wide-leg jeans. Gold jewelry warms up navy blue and keeps all the colors feeling rich and luxurious.

Even if you spend only a few bucks on your striped items this spring, the overall look can still feel stylish and expensive. And isn't that what we're all looking for right now?


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