The iconic Orcival shirt designed for the French Navy
Orcival’s most recognizable item is the 21 stripe Breton shirt that was originally developed for the French Navy and later popularised by cultural icons such as Pablo Picasso, Brigitte Bardot and Coco Chanel.
This iconic piece has been the main item of the company until the late 70s when Orcival clothing has been introduced to a wider market. Originally made for the navy as a traditional piece of clothing, first developed for sailors so they’d be easy to spot if they’d fallen overboard, this iconic item is now widely recognised as a wardrobe essential.
Orcival fabrics playing the first fiddle
One of the things Orcival pride themselves on is the quality of their fabrics and production process. From the very beginning to the end, the production process takes place in France using methods they have used for the decades since the company has been established.
The cotton used is very special to Orcival. It is a special type of heavy cotton, knitted together on a circular loom. Orcival pride themselves on creating fabrics where the stripes stay horizontal, no matter how many times they’ve been worn.
The loom-like knitting machinery Orcival uses is allowing them to be more experimental with their styles. These are called Rachel machines, which is where Orcival's Rachel fabric gets its name.
Unlike in a traditional loom, these methods allow their stripes to be of different sizes. It is for this very design detail that the likes of Picasso were drawn to Orcival, thus making it as well-respected as it is.
Orcival products at HANSEN Garments
At HANSEN, we stock the classic Orcival Breton striped T-Shirts, with the iconic marine striped design. These lifetime pieces are destined to be the core of your capsule wardrobe.
We have the classic Orcival Marine Nationale Striped T-Shirt in the iconic Navy 21 white stripe design, available in 5 different colourways and two unique styles.
From the most classic ecru marine to its alteration of slightly wider stripes in marine ecru, to classic blue white style and its lighter variant, until we reach the absolute classic of ecru indigo blue with thin stripes. All these designs are made of 100% cotton and weaved in Orcival's french atelier, where the most skilled artisans are looking over the quality and precision with which each of these items is made.
Last but not least, in the HANSEN Orcival collection you can find the Marine Nationale Irregular Striped T-Shirt with its white-blue colouring where the white is being the more predominant colour, therefore creating the irregular design of this Breton t-shirt and this collection.
Orcival Breton T-shirt turns iconic item
The Breton striped tops get their name because of their link back to the clothing that navy members in France had to wear as part of the uniform. Many sailors were from Brittany, a region in the northern part of France.
A genuine marinière, the alternative name for this style, has specific measurements of stripes. These are 20-21 navy blue stripes that are 1cm wide, with a 2cm white space before the next stripe. On the sleeves, which were three-quarter length, stripes would be positioned with the same spacing between them, but with only fourteen in total.
This style of shirt has become much more than just a naval uniform. It is now a symbol of French culture, it’s often used as a reference point for France around the world. Orcival is carrying this rich tradition.
Nowadays, the humble Orcival style from the Auvergne region is globally popular and has become a wardrobe staple. Brands such as Comme des Garçons have based their whole image on this particular French style. Orcival's designs are widely popular throughout summer to winter collections due to their versatility and undying elegance.
Frequently asked questions about Orcival
What is Orcival sizing like?
We stock Breton t-shirt men's sizes, but encourage our female customers to embrace these as unisex designs since Orcival tend to come a little on the smaller size. In fact, on the Orcival website, they say that ‘French elegance is based on slim fit’ so you can decide for yourself if the slim fit is what you want.
It is always possible to try on items in-store at HANSEN so that you know that you are going for the correct size.
How should I take care of my Orcival T-Shirts?
The garments are machine-washable at 30 degrees centigrade or can be washed by hand. You must separate clothes that have white stripes from colour washes as the dyes can run.
Make sure you check the label before you wash the garment, just in case that a different blend of cotton requires a different washing technique. Breton T-shirts should be left to dry flat so that they retain their shape. When ironing, turn the garment inside out so that it does not get damaged.
What other products are popular from Orcival?
The Orcival Breton stripe shirt men and Orcival Breton stripe shirt women are the prized items from the brand. However, Orcival produces different clothing items as well, such as tops or men's and women's cut shirts.
The Orcival bag, made of canvas material, is another favourite. This too screams classic, French charm, as well as being haplessly practical. For a more casual look, check out Orcival's tote bags.