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As noted, the telnyashka is a traditional striped undershirt consisting of alternating white and black, blue, green or maroon stripes. Derived from the word telo, or "body," the telnyashka has become an iconic component of the uniforms for the Russian navy, the Russian naval infantry, the Russian airborne troops, the Russian border troops and the internal troops of the Ministry for Internal Affairs, or MVD, among others. For each of these service branches, the official uniform typically consists of a corresponding telnyashka, which is worn underneath a specially crafted jacket, making the telnyashka a visible part of the uniform rather than a simple undershirt.
Despite existing today as traditional Russian military garb, the telnyashka actually originated in the Brittany region of France, where merchants and fishermen wore them to distinguish themselves from other groups. Eventually, the practice was adapted by Russian sailors, as it made them highly visible when set against the dull backgrounds characteristic of the sails, sea and sky.
Today, in addition to serving as military uniforms, telnyashkas are extremely popular with civilians, both in Russia and abroad, and are often worn to convey either a sense of military pride or vintage fashion. Though single thread knitting is the standard military-issue variant, double, triple and even quadruple thread knitting is available for civilian purchase to provide enhanced warmth and comfort, making some telnyashkas suitable for year-round use.
The Russian navy striped shirt is the telnyashka available here today. This traditional, single-knit telnyashka features black and white stripes, and is part of the official uniform for the Russian navy, particular submariners and other deep sea troops. Each long sleeve shirt is constructed from 100 percent cotton.
It is also worth noting that each Russian navy striped shirt is an authentic shirt that is made in Russia. Each includes a sewn-in tag written entirely in Cyrillic, which presumably relays sizing information, care instructions and other basic information. This is in contrast to the many Chinese copies available on the market, which many collectors prefer to avoid.
Note: Sizing for the Russian navy striped shirt is as follows: Large (52-54), Extra-Large (54-56) and Double Extra-Large (56-58).