Best Breton tops to achieve effortless Parisian style

Posted by for Fashion

A Breton top is the Parisian classic that adds and immediate je ne sais quoi to any outfit. We have rounded up the best Breton to add to your wardrobe now. 

It takes time for a classic to become a classic, it must withstand years of vigorous trends and meandering tastes remaining true to its authentic aesthetic. Along with a white shirt, a camel coat, and straight leg jeans, the Breton top has managed to achieve such classic status.

Breton has become a word synonymous with simple but serious French style. The low-key wardrobe staple has a perennially chic appeal that has ensured the popularity of this classic striped top has never wavered.

First worn in 1858 by the navy in Brittany, these nautical stripes were named after the region they were first created in. From such humble beginnings the Breton top went on to star in some of fashion’s most iconic wardrobes: Coco Chanel wore hers with masculine tailored trousers, Brigitte Bardot styled hers with capri pants and ballet pumps, Kate Middleton likes her with neat skinny jeans and loafers. 

Audrey Hepburn packs a sartorial punch in Funny Girl with her Breton top.
Kate Middleton is often seen in the French classic.

As much as Breton has been purposed by some of the world’s most stylish women, it has had the same appeal with men. Kurt Cobain wore his Breton with jeans and busted up Converse trainers, James Dean drank milk in his, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol were constantly in a variety of Breton tops. 

James Dean proves that the Breton is not just limited to T-shirt styles.
Artist Pablo Picasso was a favourite of the classic style.

A true Breton top is boxy in shape, long-sleeved and with a slashed neckline but the French classic now has an even broader spectrum to add to your wardrobe. From coloured Breton to T-shirt styles, these pieces will be your effortlessly cool essentials to wear now and forever. 

  • La Ligne

    Best Breton tops: La Ligne

    La Ligne was in part started by former Vogue editors (I told you it had the fash pack’s seal of approval) The Breton is a wardrobe staple, up there with your trench coat and jeans.

    Shop top, £120, La Ligne

  • Arket

    Best Breton tops: Arket

    If you already own a classic navy or black striped Breton, why not mix it up for summer a go for green. Wear with casual chino’s and your white trainers for a simple yet stylish off-duty look. 

    Shop top, £25, Arket

  • Seasalt

    Best Breton tops: Seasalt

    Channel those sailor vibes in this nautical style; wear with your white denim and tan sandals for the perfect British summer time look. 

    Shop top, £29.95, Seasalt

  • Boden

    Best Breton tops: Boden

    This lightweight jersey Breton is a great layering piece. Wear under your shacket for the perfect style solution for those changeable weather days. 

    Shop top, £28, Boden

  • Saint James

    Best Breton tops: Saint James

    Favourite of Alexa Chung Saint James knows how to do the Breton. With multiple different styles on offer the ‘Meridame’ is our favourite; it’s thick heavy duty cotton is made to last, go up a size for a more slouchy look.

    Shop top, £65, Saint James

  • Cos

    Best Breton tops: Cos

    Play around with this traditional style with by trying this contrasting collar tee from fashion fave Cos. Wear with your denims and a colour pop sandals in a primary colour to continue the trend from head to toe. 

    Shop top, £25, Cos

Images: Courtesy of brands / Getty 

Share this article