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Style over 50: How to Wear a Timeless Breton Top

Article by Ceri Wheeldon

how to wear Breton Top over 50 image

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.

brigitte bardot timeless style image

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:

john lewis breton top image

A simple every day Breton top from John Lewis £29



over 50 style drop shoulder breton top


Drop shoulder Breton top from John Lewis £45

style over 50 multi-cuff breton top image


Breton top with multi-coloured cuff from Boden UK  £28

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Navy and pink Breton inspired top from Boden UK £28


A versatile and timeless addition to your wardrobe to look stylish over 50.



Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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