This spring, it's been hard to avoid the jaunty, nautical stripes permeating the season's sartorial offerings. But while the Breton stripe is classically Parisian, its current application is decidedly American.
Today, separates make up the bulk of ready-to-wear, and they're directly drawn from sportswear, a refined-yet-relaxed fashion breed born in the U.S. and fostered from the 1930s through the 1970s. Fronted mainly by women designers, sportswear removed the strictures of European fashion from clothing to produce practical, easy pieces that were elegant without being confining. Streamlined shapes with few embellishments--breezy pants, and knitwear, simple suits, wrap dresses--reflected the kind of freedom and autonomy women of the day were claiming for themselves.
Now, sportswear is being celebrated in that most traditional sense, with an emphasis on the kind of cool, summery 1970s silhouettes designers such as Diane von Furstenberg and Halston made classic. What's more, today's sportswear trend makes use of a color palette inspired by its birthplace. Red, white and blue, whether used all together or a couple at a time, make for perfectly pretty warm-weather days.