Article by Ceri Wheeldon
Some things in our wardrobes never go out of style. The Breton top is one of them. At the time of writing we are 5 weeks into Lockdown and spending more time in our own homes than ever before. What we wear on a daily basis has changed to reflect that.
The Breton top is one of those versatile basics that works at so many levels- and for so many different style personalities . In the film Les Mepris, Brigitte Bardot was captured in a timeless Breton top, worn with a headband and casual cardigan- an iconic look that anyone could wear today.
Originally designed as a uniform for sailors in the French Navy, it is said that the stripes made it easier to spot and rescue sailors who fell overboard! Not that any of us should need to wear for that particular reason!!
The Breton top entered mainstream fashion when it captured the eye of Coco Chanel, who incorporated Breton stripes into her 1917 nautical collection. They have remained a mainstay in women’s wardrobes in the century that has passed since.
How many stripes does your Breton top have?
They have been reinvented consistently on the catwalk – with stripes varying in width, number and colour (the original Breton top had 21 stripes to symbolise Napoleon’s 21 victories against the British) and incorporated into a variety of clothing in different fabrics.
Now seen very much as a fashion ‘neutral’ Breton tops can be worn conservatively with jeans or cigarette pants – or paired with bright prints for an edgier more contemporary look. A neutral that works across the generations. Popular with the Duchess of Cambridge, the Breton top can be dressed up or down, a timeless classic to form part of a capsule wardrobe to look fabulous over 50.
Where to buy:
A simple every day Breton top from John Lewis £29
Drop shoulder Breton top from John Lewis £45
Breton top with multi-coloured cuff from Boden UK £28
Navy and pink Breton inspired top from Boden UK £28
A versatile and timeless addition to your wardrobe to look stylish over 50.