The Breton stripe: possibly the most iconic and persistent trend ever to have graced Planet Fashion. A favourite of Coco and Audrey, having survived the atrocities of Nineties argyle and Noughties velour, its appeal endures.
Despite this, however, the quest to find the perfect top is never ending. There’s hardly a brand that doesn’t have a version, but most of them are all wrong: the stripes are too thin or too thick, the cut isn’t right or the neckline is totally off. Ill-fitting options mount up in your wardrobe as you despairingly continue the search for The One.
‘Who cares?!’ others will cry, ignorant of the beauty that a simple Breton top can bestow upon its wearer; but those that continue the search will know: this is a mission worth undertaking.
You’ll be pleased to hear that we’ve trawled the high street to find the best ones out there, so that you don’t have to.
It’s finally time to call off the search.
The Boden brand is synonymous with Breton: comfortable, classic and wistful. No surprises, then, that their Breton range is extensive. Our favourite is the long sleeve, short line one- it’s made from 100% cotton, so is suitable for wearing all year round- music to Breton lovers’ ears, no doubt.
£19.60, Boden, Buy it now
2. Lavender Hill Clothing
Whether it’s a scoop neck, loose fit or three-quarter-length sleeve, we all know what makes our perfect t shirt. Lavender Hill gives more options than most, so if you’ve ever had that dilemma of finding the perfect Breton but in the wrong cut, you’ll love the flexibility of its designs. Our favourite was this striped crew neck, which has a flattering scoop hem that sits comfortably on the hips.
£40, Lavender Hill, Buy it now
3. Mon Breton
Our favourite thing about the Mon Breton tops is the option you have to monogram them. Yes: you can initial your top so that no one- no one- can borrow and forget to return it. If you have magpie-like sisters or best friends, we’re sure this will be a huge appeal. Aside from that, there’s a variety of stripe styles so you can tailor yours to your heart’s content.
From £55, Mon Breton, Buy it now
4. The Original Breton Shirt Company
When it’s named ‘the original’, you can breathe a sigh of relief. There are no gimmicks, modifications or frills on these tops- just the simple, classic design made in high quality organic cotton. Thick enough to be worn as a summer jumper or winter long sleeve t-shirt, like a fine wine, they get better with age.
£36.95, The Original Breton Shirt Company, Buy it now
Ah, COS. What a delight it is to shop there. The clean and boxy cuts are both comfortable and flattering- as seen here on its version of the stripe. If you don’t like tops that cling to your tummy, this is the one for you- the sleeve length is flattering on everyone (not just those with Michelle Obama biceps) and the body is slouchy without being tent-like. Perfect.
£25, COS, Buy it now
6. J Crew
The bateau neckline of this J Crew one is perfect for the nautical theme. Made in the St James factory in Normandy, you know this is the real deal. If you like Breton that has a child-like playfulness, go for this one- the clashing sleeves and body are typical of the style you see in old photographs of little boys wearing sailors’ outfits. The cut is similar to the one favoured by Coco Chanel, too.
£99, J Crew, Buy it now
If you want a crisp white rather than cream background, this one from American brand, Kule, fits the bill. We love the black stripe around the neckline as well as the colour pop of the label- this is the one people will be asking for the details of because of its striking simplicity.
£76, Kule, Buy it now
8. Phase Eight
The cut and stripe style make this a more budget friendly version of the J Crew one- it’s fresh and simple and made from a lightweight jersey fabric. It’s also satisfyingly longline, so perfect for hiding the bloat (if you should so wish) after an overindulgent brunch.
£39, John Lewis, Buy it now