Updated: Sep 13
Breton or Striped Top is simple, classical, and yet fashion-forward. It made a grand transformation from a naval uniform into a fashionable wardrobe staple. For decades, the Striped Top has been a must-have piece in fashion shows, style magazines, and everyday fashions. The top unequivocally earned its stripes for being versatile, practical, chic, and inspirational.
How Has It Started?
The Breton top has a rich history that began in 1858 (source: www.bretonshirt.com). The French navy was ordered to wear knit tops with exactly 21 stripes. The clothes were comfortable, warm, and practical.
Later, fishers, seeing naval men wearing striped tops, adopted the piece in their daily lives, expanding the top's reach to the general public.
The rumor has it that Coco Chanel was inspired by the Breton top when she was on vacation. Coco was not the first designer who fell in love with stripes, but she actively incorporated them in her various shows and everyday styles.
Essential Characteristics Of An Awesome Breton
First, we need to consider the thickness of the lines. I'm not fond of narrow stripes. When I look at them, my eyes cannot focus. I feel dizzy, which is not the feeling I want to experience when looking at my clothes. On the opposite end, I am not a fan of thick lines either. I feel like broad lines overtake the outfit drawing all the attention to a top.
My favorite stripes style is somewhere in the middle. The lines should be between thick and thin. I know this is a very vague statement, but you will start noticing the difference next time you see a striped top.
Of course, there are endless color combinations when it comes to fashionable tops. But I like to stick to the classic pairings like navy & white or black & white. You can, of course, rock any color combination you would like. But the power of a Breton top is that it withstood the test of time with its navy & white stripes.
We should also consider the length of the sleeves. I like full-length sleeves. This way, I have total control over how I want to style a look. Sometimes I want sleeves to pick out of a blazer or vest; other times, I want to roll up the sleeves to expose more skin and give an outfit a slight edge.
Last but not least, the neckline. I am a big fan of a crew neckline; it is classical and practical. A boat neckline is another excellent option. I usually steer clear of a V-neck because I worry about leaning over or bending down when I wear it. There is no need to add unnecessary stress or complications when wearing clothes.
Striped top & jeans
Striped top and jeans have to be the most styled and iconic look. I prefer to wear pumps, but you will look stunning with round-toe flats. Adding on a blazer will most certainly upgrade your casual look. Don't forget to add a few accessories like sunglasses or a chunky necklace.
Striped top & a skirt
Same idea as above, but the look gets a different feel when you wear a skirt. Here we can go for a mid-length fitting skirt for a classic look. If you want drama, pair your Breton top with a voluminous floor-length skirt.
If you are worried about color pairings, stick with the colors of the top but in different shades and tones. Add complimentary color for a bit of fun.
Striped top & a dress pant
Remember Audrey Hepburn? One of my favorite looks is her striped top and fitted pants combination. It looks effortless yet so stylish. If you are not a fan of fitted pants, you can go for a wide-leg pants.
Striped top & a vest
For cooler weather, you can style a striped top under a vest. The vest is having a big fashion moment now. While keeping you warm, a vest will give your outfit a stylish upgrade.
The examples above are just a few suggestions on how to wear the striped top. But feel free to experiment with it to find more exciting combinations and fresh ideas.
The Breton top is one of the pieces that is worth your time and money. It will never go out of style or look dated. It is chic, classical, versatile, and easy to style. Invest in a fantastic piece that is made with quality material, perfectly cut, and expertly designed, and it will become your favorite in no time.