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Breton tops for every shape, style and budget. Shop our edit now...

If there’s one thing your wardrobe needs all year round, it’s the classic breton top. The humble striped t-shirt still remains a trusted, off-duty staple which will never go out of style.

Don’t believe us? Time for a fashion history lesson. The breton top was once the uniform of the French navy back in 1858, and in case you never noticed before, it had exactly 21 stripes, one to showcase each of Napoleon’s victories. The blue and white stripes also made sure that sailors could easily be spotted if they fell overboard.

Breton top history

But it truly made it onto the fashion map when Coco Chanel (who else?!) took the stripes and turned it into a staple no woman (or man for that matter) could live without, after incorporating it in her 1915 nautical collection. The rest, as they say, is history.

Fast forward a few decades and everyone from Kate Moss to the Duchess of Cambridge and sassy street stylers have one lurking in their wardrobe.

How to wear breton tops

It’s a go-to top for every occasion and is no longer limited to just weekend wear. Sure, it’s always great paired with a nicely cut pair of jeans and trainers, but it’s perfect to dress up too. Try throwing on a chic breton top with super-sized flares, skinny leather trousers or a sleek printed skirt.

New breton top trends

The breton style has much evolved from the traditional blue and white combo too. If you’re into your classics, red and white is also a winner, but this season, it’s had a bit of a makeover, with colourful slogans embroidered or stamped across long or short-sleeve styles.

The rules generally dictate that this fail-safe stripe top will work with pretty much anything in your current wardrobe, day or night, meaning you can afford to invest heavily in the trend.

In the meantime, here is a selection of our favourite breton tops, from investment pieces to high-street alternatives to shop right now…

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