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The Breton top was once worn by French Navy men as part of their official uniform, but it was Coco Chanel who brought the design into mainstream fashion in the 1920s.
For over 100 years now, the Breton stripe has been a staple of women’s wardrobes, but of course it’s been given plenty of modern updates - including splashes of colour.
In 2021, it’s more fashionable than ever. Boden has sold 70,000 Breton tops so far this season (they have 17 iterations, the red and blue the most popular), while online aggregate site Lyst reported a 109 per cent increase in searches for striped shirts.
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What’s so special about the stripe-y number? It’s both refined and egalitarian, casual and elegant. Jean Seberg wore one, so did Jackie Onassis, Kate Moss and Kate Middleton - even Kurt Cobain rocked the stripes in his time.
It’s beatnik and bourgeois all at once - the upper crust are as likely to wear one as an artist.
And it never looks bad: all you need is a pair of jeans or colour-matched mini, an over-sized jacket, and a gorgeous pair of shades, and you’re set for summer.
Cotton Striped Slash Neck Fitted Top
Break away from black and white with this colourful Breton top, featuring a slash neck and three quarter sleeves and made from sustainably sourced cotton.
It’s cut to be fitted and is also made of stretchy material to ensure a figure hugging, flattering fit. Great to wear alone during the day or under a jacket for a smarter evening look.
Available in sizes 6 to 24.
COMME DES GARCONS GIRL MULTI STRIPE T-SHIRT
Cute as all get-out, from cult French brand Comme Des Garcons Girls, this 100 per cent cotton multi-striped is delightfully easy to wear with jeans and sneakers.
A tee with a classic crew neck, the long sleeves offer added coverage.
Available in sizes XS-L
Ganni Stripe Cotton Jersey Top
Freddy Krueger - but make it fashion.
This gorgeous giddy number from Danish fashion brand offers an orange spin on the Breton.
Made with organic cloth, the lively print provides a touch of millennial carefree cool - perfect with a kilt skirt. Available in sizes XS & S
This beautiful Breton top is available in six bright and neutral colour ways, including ivory/navy, ivory/river and ivory/classic khaki.
The added puff sleeve to this top gives it a more ‘dressy’ and smart feel.
It’s made of breathable pure-cotton jersey fabric and the semi-fitted shape is comfortable to wear as well as flattering. Available in sizes 6 to 22.
Short Sleeve Breton
This short-sleeved Breton top is a good choice for those warm summer days.
It comes in a range of vibrant pops of colour, but if you prefer you can also stick to the classic monochrome.
It’s a great every day option that you’ll want to wear again and again.
Available in sizes 6 to 22.
Sandro Sailor-striped wool sweater
Nobody does a Breton like the French, so naturally this sweater from Parisian brand Sandro is the platonic ideal of the striped top: simple, classic, impeccably tailored.
Regular fitting with a chic collar for contrast, this wool jumper is available in sizes 6 -12.
Maje Striped Top
This beautiful Breton top gives a contemporary take on the traditional stripes. It is the perfect choice for dressing up or dressing down and can easily be paired with jeans or a skirt, and heels or flats.
Crafted with a flattering square neckline and slightly puffed shoulders, this gentle jersey silhouette is a style to be treasured season after season.
People Tree long sleeve t-shirt in breton stripe organic cotton
This Breton top, with its pink and white stripe design, has a relaxed fit so it’s made for those days when all you want is to be comfortable.
It’s made by fair trade fashion pioneers People Tree who support local artisans and promote organic cotton farming. It features a crew neck, drop shoulders and a loose cut.
Available in sizes 8 to 16.
Breton-stripe branded cotton-jersey top
This 100 per cent cotton jersey Breton top from ‘More Joy’ is the perfect wardrobe staple.
It features a round neck, dropped shoulders, long sleeves, rubberised branded patch at chest and back and is cut to a relaxed fit.
The branding makes the top unique but also provides a reminder to be positive.