Back To Basics: Breton Tops

Image: Pinterest

As part of our weekly Back to Basics series, we are shining a spotlight on great wardrobe staples that are made to last. Because timeless basics are the most sustainable pieces you can buy.

Beloved by style icons such as Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot, the breton has long been a stylish wardrobe staple. Ever since Coco Chanel appropriated the sailor’s striped ‘mariniere’ jumper, the once practical French naval uniform became the epitome of casual style. After Chanel began wearing the tops in 1913, they have morphed from tightly woven, waterproof jumpers to easy cotton tops. French brand Saint James is proud to create the original breton and still produce beautiful quality tops in a variety of styles and colours.

We love that the breton is totally timeless, yet can be picked up for a very reasonable price. Of course we lean towards pieces that are created from organic cotton, bamboo or sustainably sourced viscose. They are easy to take care of and will last you for years.

How To Style Your Breton Top

Rock N Roll

For a little rock n roll edge, pair your top with a neat blazer and black jeans. 


Pair an oversize breton with worn in denim and tennis shoes. Throw a knit on top.

Parisian Chic

An elegant trench coat and matching red accessories will never look old fashioned.

Boyish Charm

Layer your stripes over a shirt with mannish trousers to give your breton a modern feel. 

Best Breton Tops

Peopletree create the cotton basics we want to wear and everything is organic. This perfect navy striped breton is so simple to throw on with a pair of trousers for an easy weekend style.

For something a little more traditional, we love this style from Mudd and Water. Little buttons accent the shoulders, while the sleeves are slightly cropped and wide making them easy to roll up. 

Seasalt Cornwall are proud organic fabric pioneers. Their bretons are amazing value but also amazing quality. Wash after wash, the colours stay bright and in place.

We love this twist on the classic. This roll neck means you can sport your stripes on colder days. It’s also a great layering piece. Team it with a floral or other patterned dresses for a cool pattern clash.

For a more masculine look, we love this oversize, heavy cotton top from Kowtow. It slouches in all the right places and it’s boat neck is a little nod to tradition. 

Disclaimer: The people and models in the images featured are not associated with The Vendeur and do not endorse it or the products shown. This post may contain affiliate links. Prices correct at time of publishing.