The NYT has been celebrating the Breton shirt, the classic blue-and white striped long-sleeve T worn by French sailors. I’ve loved this shirt for years and years, though my Breton is actually Italian (it’s from Benetton and is over 20 years old). So I guess it’s not *really* a Breton, just as Champagne is sparkling wine if it doesn’t come from France.
That’s OK, though, because when I think of Breton, the first image that pops into my mind is not this funky reimagined Balmain (above; love it!!),
nor is it Pablo Picasso in his Breton,
but rather, it is Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, home of the gorgeously treacherous Cabot Trail. I drove this with my father when I was but a wee lass and my heart was in my throat the entire time, so steep, so winding, and sans shoulder lane was it.
If I think a little more, though, I’m reminded that I just love Hemingway’s writing on Bretons in his Garden of Eden. Catherine, the creatively frustrated young bride, wears one on honeymoon with her writer husband, and reinvents herself (rather extremely) in part because her gender stifles any other kind of creativity.
Every time I read it, I want to crop my hair a la Seberg, color it white blonde, develop a golden tan, and wear that blue-and-white Breton. And, being fortunate enough to have writerly choices that Catherine didn’t, I might then go and blog about the whole enterprise.