I Can't Stop Buying Breton Tops And I Don't Want To Because They're The Best Fashion Item EVER

The Breton is a sort of visual shorthand for classic Parisian style, clean and chic in its graphic simplicity.

Jan 22, 2013 at 1:00pm | Leave a comment

You might have noticed by now that I love a good Breton top. Sometimes a friend will email me to say "I'm dressed like you today!" which inevitably means they're wearing a Breton.


In my fondness for the classic striped top I am in good company, counting Alexa Chung, Coco Chanel, Pablo Picasso and, er, Marcel Marceau among my fellow Breton-fanciers.


My Breton-wearing brethren

A quick scan of the office reveals that many of my colleagues also agree that sometimes the easiest thing to pull on in the morning is a striped tee. It’s a sort of visual shorthand for classic Parisian style, clean and chic in its graphic simplicity.

I like to think pulling on one of my many, many Bretons infuses me with some kind of Gallic, gamine charm – all I need is a dash of red lipstick and I’m good to go. It’s the lazy way to look pulled together in a trice. And they’re so versatile!

Here’s my ever-growing collection…


And my latest acquisition:


Boden’s ‘Guernsey tee’ from £11.60 in the sale friends! boden.co.uk

And here’s how I wear them:

Weekends/Casual Work Days


Levi's Made & Crafted jeans, APC biker boots, vintage silk scarf from Urban Outfitters (a fiver!)

“Oh heyyy I’m just a fabulously disheveled, bohemian Parisienne running around the Left Bank, sipping café au lait, buying second hand books and wittily referencing traditional Gallic style with my Breton and APC biker boots…”

Summer Hols


Banana Republic capris, Toni's Got Sole espadrilles

Think the French Riviera and Brigitte Bardot or Audrey Hepburn looking cool on a yacht or walking barefoot on the sand in capri pants, espadrilles slung over their shoulder, hair blowing in the salty breeze. The seafaring Breton returns to its roots when you wear it to the beach.



COS skirt, Falke tights, H&M Conscious Collection Mary Janes

I wear this to fashion shows and events a lot. Alternatively you could do it with slim black jeans or trousers, pointy pumps and a tailored blazer. Either way, the Breton carries itself with a sharp, androgynous elegance that will make you stand out in a sea of fussy frocks.

I've found Bretons in Uniqlo, H&M, Dorothy Perkins and Boden, but a spot of Googling just introduced me to The Original Breton Shirt Co. - be still my beating heart!

Oh and lest you need even more convincing, watch the trailer for Coco Avant Chanel to catch a glimpse of Audrey Tautou as Coco watching fishermen on the beach in their stripy jerseys, which she incorporated into her own masculine-influenced wardrobe and designs.

Is there one piece of clothing that you can never own enough variants of? Share so I don't feel like such an obsessive loser please!