The most quintessential part of a French woman’s wardrobe is perhaps one of the most simple: the French stripe, also known as the Breton stripe or la marinière. Its original version comes as a cotton shirt with stripes but in the ba&sh world, specifically the Sean sweater, the Breton sweater receives a lush treatment. The nautical piece swaddles the wearer in a cloudlike softness, knit in a wool, cashmere, and cotton blend. For a modern touch, the rounded neck and sleeves are ribbed while a button placket traces the left shoulder.

And while the French stripe is certainly packed with enough style to stand on its own, it also has a story with a rich history. The Breton sweater originated in the Northern coastal city of Brittany, France in 1858 as the official uniform of French sailors. (“Breton” is derived from the city of the stripe’s origins, Brittany). During this time, the navy blue and white stripe motif had a practical purpose: If a sailor fell overboard, they would be easier to spot and rescue. The original version of the Breton sweater has an important detail: There were 21 stripes to represent 21 of General Napoleon Bonaparte’s victories.

In modern times, French stripes have become an integral piece for Parisian beauts over the decades, especially in French New Wave cinema. In Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless (1960), androgyne beauty Jean Seberg wears the French stripe in the film’s famous opening scene as she passes out the New York Herald Tribune. In François Truffaut’s Jules & Jim (1962), unbridled beauty Jeanne Moreau famously wears the classic stripes, too. And it wasn’t only the darlings of New Wave who donned stripes: Bombshell Brigitte Bardot was smoldering in a simple men’s striped shirt with a pair of jeans in La Mariee est Trop Belle (1954). In this era of cinema, we see that women moved away from more rigid pre-war ideals of feminism, exchanging prudishness for stylish libertine–all in stripes, bien sûr.

Beyond French cinema, the style was also adored by the Old Hollywood likes of an elegant Audrey Hepburn and a coy Marilyn Monroe. It made an impact in men’s closets, as well, worn by the ever-eccentric artist Pablo Picasso and the handsome actors James Dean and Marlon Brando.

Though one of the most memorable faces to have sported the French stripe is Jane Birkin. The British actress who became a French cinema icon is synonymous with the print, wearing a rotation of them in dozens of iterations, from the classic long-sleeve version to a skimpy halter top or a loose t-shirt, throwing them on with a pair of jeans or denim shorts for a devil-may-care-flair. In other words, it is horizontal chic at its finest.

Today, the Breton sweater has solidified itself as a Parisian must-have; a piece to instantly elevate any outfit. The options are boundless. Pair the bold print with faded vintage jeans or tailored black pants. Cozy up in the Sean sweater at home or while out, wearing it alone or with an oversized men’s coat for a polished appeal. In other words, think of it as 21 ways to make a statement–all in one shirt.

Looking for the perfect striped top for your own personal style? Sean is just where we’re getting started.

The Kahel Sweater

If you love accessories, look no further than Kahel, a striped pullover with distinctive, embellished buttons on one side that stand alone as a statement.

The Medhi Tee

There’s just something about an everyday tee with that extra “oomph,” isn’t there? The Medhi tee is a must-have with its horizontal stripes and plain ribbing around the necklace and sleeves. Wear with jeans for a casual look or add an oversized blazer for a more professional look.

The Aramis Shirt

A classic button-down with slightly dropped shoulders and buttoned cuffs in a soft blue and white stripe is the perfect closet neutral you’ve been missing. Great tucked in or left out.