Bonjour from Brigitte at Bnautical Boutique…
In love with and inspired by the sea…be nautical!
Let yourself be seduced by the famed Breton stripes, a classic, timeless look for the whole family.
I am delighted to welcome you to my online French nautical fashion wear! Bnautical specialises in quality French styling clothes. Whether you choose to wear the “Breton stripes” at the seaside or in the town as a smart casual option, the beauty of this collection is that it is so comfortable, forever classic and it suits the whole family. Our tops are 100% cotton and totally naturally soft! They have proven to be very popular and everyone adores them.
Initially as I came to England, I lived by the Thames in Greenwich, never too far from the sea! I arrived as an au pair but soon I wanted to do more and was looking to run my own business. I started in the retail trade and opened a shop in Greenwich, in the “old fruit & veg market”, under the covered market place near the notorious Cutty Sark clipper. Back then, in 1985, it was a new concept mirroring Covent Gardens and I was the second shop to open. I wanted it to be a gift shop so what better name to call it than “Thinking of You”, selling a range of gifts from kitchenware to toiletries in the style of the “General Store” of the said Covent Gardens.Bnautical - How it all started?
My answer is simple: “l’appel de la mer” - the call of the sea!
I have lived in England as long as I lived in France. I come from Brittany and I love the sea and I love being a “Bretonne”. As I was once searching to settle back in France, I remember discussing the options with my brother’s friend. Likewise he had moved away from our home town near Quimper in the Finistère. At the time he was living in La Rochelle.
- “How do you like it?” I asked. His slow response said it all. He sighed and replied:
- “J'ai hâte de rentrer chez moi ... Au moins, la Bretagne a une âme!”, which translates: “I cannot wait to get back home… at the very least Brittany has a soul!”
This is engraved on my heart for the rest of my life. He had nailed it to the cross! As you travel through Brittany and discover the Breton way, it becomes instilled in your mind as a rite of passage! The reward indeed is: La Bretagne! A magic ingredient of awe-inspiring coastline with a dozen or more accessible islands, of strange sculpted granite rocks beautifully coloured as the sun sets. Sandy beaches, small fishing ports and finally a land fiercely guarding an astonishing diversity of natural and cultural heritage.
The call of the sea was running very strong in my blood and I found myself longing to get back to it. That is how I discovered Mersea Island where I am based now. After 14 years of running Thinking of You I started all over again, opening a shop in Colchester, then on Mersea… A few years on and looking to create an online store, I have decided to go back to my roots… Brittany and the spirit of the sea!
I have the pleasure to share with you this passion for the sea through my Breton stripes collection, a nautical, chic and fashionable sailor look! As Jean-Paul Gaultier, the French haute couture and prêt-à-porter fashion designer, has once said of the Breton tops: "they go with everything, never go out of style and probably never will."
A little bit about my collections
"By the Seaside” is a truly adorable collection of clothes for babies and toddlers from newborn, 3m, 6m, 9m, 12m, 18m to 24 months. “Little sailors" is a very cute collection for children from 2 years up to 6 years. Because of popular demand, I intend to extend my collection further with some traditional tops from 7 years old to teens and adults but in the meantime, you will find the “Matching Accessories” collection for the whole family (scarfs, hats, socks…) for a fun and smart family look.
I have selected these quality French styled clothes for their classic marine look and excellent value for money. Without sacrificing on quality and desiring to maintain the excellent standard of clothing made in the traditional French way, my aim is to be able to deliver French clothing experience at an affordable price!
I demand the same high levels of excellence, whether the garments are still manufactured in France, which is usually reflected in a much higher price or whether the French Marine Clothes Designers, in their bid to offer great value for money, have joined forces with selected expert partners in Europe! Each production stage is subject to strict quality control, maintaining the expertise and quality known to French styling because Bnautical is all about... the French “know-how” or savoir-faire!
Relax & shop stress-free for exquisite children nautical striped clothes.
Bienvenue à bord…
French sailors and the Breton top
A little history and a bit of fashion
The official birth of the striped Breton shirt as we know it today came into being following the French decree of March 27 - 1858, which introduced the navy and white striped knitted shirt as the uniform for all French navy seaman. The shirt, made in Brittany, was originally known as marinière or matelot. The distinctive block pattern of stripes on the French striped shirt made them easier to locate overboard sailors. The garment usually had a boat neckline.
It has been since adopted by all those who frequent the sea: fishermen, sailors and boaters.
When Coco Chanel opened her first boutique in Deauville selling a jersey version of the striped Breton top in 1917, Chanel's nautical-inspired elegance became quite the thing for the well-dressed woman, both on and off the beach.
The shirt was then made popular by famous personalities. To name just a few: Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick, Audrey Hepburn, James Dean, Jean Seberg.
The design is now synonymous with chic seafaring style on dry land.
The shirt has been recreated in collections by fashion houses like, Balmain, Gucci, Givenchy and Jean Paul Gaultier. The top is now worn by the likes of Kate Moss, Olivia Palermo and Alexa Chung.
Rarely a year goes by in which stripes are not among the offerings in New York, London, Milan and Paris.
Be nautical… Be chic!