The Eternal Allure of Stripes


A Breton top is a wardrobe staple, but what is it about the simple stripe that seduces us so?

One white stripe and one navy (or black or yellow, you can go on...) in repeat. That's all it takes to make a Breton, but there's something about this perfect simplicity that just looks right. As soon as you put on a Breton - be it long or short sleeved - you instantly look pulled together, chic, dare I say stylish. Google any fashionista worth her designer salt and sooner or later you'll find a picture of her (or him) in a Breton. Whether they are an ultra-feminine dresser or lean more to an androgynous style, the Breton just works. It's just so easy. A Breton doesn't try too hard, it doesn't scream 'trend', it's ageless and shape blind. Everyone - whatever size or age - suits a Breton.

Equally, a Breton suits everything. Wear it casually, flung over a pair of denim shorts or jeans, or under dungarees. Go smarter with heels and a midi or pencil skirt. Or dabble with a pattern clash (a look I love) teaming stripes with a floral skirt, or a texture twist wearing it with sequins or faux fur (preferably leopard - it's a really great combo). Whether you want to look undone or put together, a Breton will help you get there.

As with so many things, it was Coco Chanel who first shone the style spotlight on the Breton, adapting the classic sailor style into a top to be worn with palazzo pants. Brigitte Bardot, Jane Birkin and Edie Sedgwick soon followed, all putting their own unique stamp on the Breton and making it their own, something the Breton easily allows you to do. These days the likes of Alexa Chung, Emmanuelle Alt and Jenna Lyons are the new Breton icons, each one making the Breton look as modern and as desirable as ever.

Whether you are 8 or 108 a Breton will always look good, will never age you and will go with just about anything. For just a simple set of very chic stripes, that really takes some beating. How do you wear yours?

1. Tusk earrings; 2. Out of Office tee; 3. Pom pom earrings; 4. Sequin skirt, Zara; 5. Denim shorts, Gap; 6 Wide leg trousers, John Lewis; 7. Snakeskin effect leather cuff; 8. Espadrilles, Soludos; 9. Sienna tote.

Ella from Coco's Tea Party (wearing the leopard scarf and Breton). Alex Steadman from The Frugality in stripes and a leopard coat. All other images from Pinterest. 


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