Why wearing Breton tops could actually be bad for you

Sad news

breton tops
(Image credit: Rex Features (Shutterstock))

Sad news

We’re very sorry, but we have some tragic fashion news to bring to you today: Breton tops could be bad for your health.

Ok, so tragic is perhaps a tad dramatic, but if you have approximately 394,827 striped tops in your wardrobe like we do, it’s very distressing indeed.

According to researchers at University Medical Centre Utrecht (UMC) in the Netherlands, there is apparently a potential link between stripes and headaches.

Looking at static parallel lines could increase brain activity in some people, leading to severe migraines and even seizures and epilepsy.

Scientists conducted an experiment where they monitored participants’ brains while they looked at different images. They found that looking at stripes caused an increase in ‘gamma oscillations’ in the brain, which are linked to headaches and even seizures in some cases.

And it’s not just stripes either, it’s a whole lot of other static patterns that could confuse the brain.

Dr Dora Hermes, head of the research, said, ‘Our findings imply that in designing buildings, it may be important to avoid the types of visual patterns that can activate this circuit and cause discomfort, migraines, or seizures.’

You’ll never look at a Breton top the same way again.

Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at MoneySavingExpert.com, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.