With Memorial Day weekend in our rear view and the official kickoff to summer style underway, bold stripes have made their annual return to our closets. Here, we talk the past and present of three of the season’s most iconic renditions.

What are you really wearing? Stripes.

What are you really wearing? Stripes.

Nautical Stripes
This alternating pattern of blue and white began in the 19th century as the standard issue uniform for the French Navy. Their goal? To help the crew spot sailors who fell overboard. Today, it’s hard to retreat to any summer locale without spotting this timeless navy-inspired design.

Rugby Stripes
Comprised of thick, horizontal stripes in bold, alternating colors, contemporary rugby stripes are inspired by (you guessed it) the sport’s traditional polo-style jerseys. The stripes went mainstream in the 1950s, as Americans borrowed this sporty look from friends across the pond.

Chevron Stripes
This eye-catching zigzag stripe ranks high among patterns with military roots. By definition, it’s an inverted V-shape used on military badges to indicate rank or denote length of service. Today, it’s ever-present in the world of fashion (thanks, Missoni). Find it splashed everywhere, from sundresses to pillows.

By Jillian Hudon, Staff Writer

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May 28, 2013