80sfashionworld.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
The Breton top takes its name from its homeland – the area of Bretagne (Brittany) in Northern France. The style started as a uniform for sailors, who needed thick tops with a design that made them easier to spot during an emergency.
Now, this striped design (usually in black/navy and white) has become more than just a useful uniform. In recent years, it has transcended into a signature French style that is happily embraced by the whole world. Previously reserved for men, this style is now an integral part of women’s fashion as well.
Thankfully, it’s easy to find a Breton top – and style it in the way Parisians do. To learn more about how you can do so, then make sure to read the following tips on how to style your Breton top.
How to Wear a Breton Top
Contrary to popular beliefs, the styling options for a Breton top are not that limited. In fact, you can create a variety of looks – even if you only have 1 Breton top in your closet! As long as you follow the tips above, you can achieve a multitude of styles – as if you’re a real-life Paris native.
More often than not, the best Breton top outfits are those that embody the classics.
Such is the case with this model, who channels the true Parisian vibe by placing her cardigan around her shoulders.
She also keeps true to her color palette, as seen on her wide array of camel-colored accessories. Like her cardigan, her belt, bag, and shoes are in the same tone – thus helping her achieve a very cohesive look.
Fast and Loose
Most Breton tops are fitted, but there are more looser designs that you can wear now. One such example is the model’s top, which comes with oversized, bell sleeves.
To balance the voluminous sleeves of such tops, you should wear a fitter bottom underneath. A sleek leather skirt, just like what the model wears, is a good example. With a skirt like hers, you can embody the Breton style in a modern and edgy manner.
Casual + Chic
Think that you can’t wear your Breton top with more elaborate items? Think again. As this model will show you, you can mix casual and formal elements easily.
Here, she wears her Breton top with a luxe peach skirt. Coupled with a gold belt and shoes, she has taken the finest elements she can wear with her striped blouse.
What’s great about this casual + chic look is that it works in most settings. That said, it’s an outfit idea you can take to work – and the late-night drinks that come after it.
While Breton tops are usually worn with sleek, polished pieces, you can push the fashion envelope by pairing it with more rugged pieces. Remember: fashion is all about balance, so picking the right pieces is important.
A leather jacket, for example, is a good topper to wear with your Breton top. When paired with jeans (even the ripped ones) and stylish flat shoes, you can create a casual look that has a hint of Parisian chic.
Since the Breton top was made for Navy men, it’s a must to adopt this fashion style as well.
To achieve a Nautical chic look, you can follow what Kate Middleton did – and that is to pair your Breton top with high-waisted, Navy-inspired pants.
It’s important to keep this low-key though, as you wouldn’t want to be mistaken for a sailor about to embark on a ship. Like Kate, you can keep things classy with a red clutch and a pair of black heels.
A Breton top may be a polished item, but this does not mean that you can’t wear it with your athleisure pieces. This model is proof that the fusion of both style philosophies is possible.
Complimenting her cropped Breton top is a light sweater, a leather pencil skirt, and a pair of athletic sneakers. The combination of these elements makes for a girly yet athletic look that you can wear whenever, wherever.
A Breton top is an elegant item that’s usually worn with other sophisticated pieces. Do note, however, that a little contrast won’t hurt. As proven by the model, you can sport this lovely top with a more casual piece – like a denim romper.
Like her, you can pull off this look with either a blue or black denim romper. For an edgy style, go for a pair of chunky shoes in a complimenting color. As you see, her oxblood red shoes go well with her black and white ensemble.
Rad in Red
You shouldn’t limit your Breton top outfits to dark or neutral colors. If you’re looking to make a statement, then the best way to do so is to pair your top with a loud color such as red.
Even with its bright nature, the color red works great with black and white. It also adds a hint of passion – thus making this outfit a great choice for date nights with the hubby.
Stripes – and More Stripes
Wearing stripes with another style of stripes? As you see, it’s entirely possible – and surprisingly amazing!
She pulls off the look by wearing a thin-striped Breton top with a thicker-striped pair of shorts. And, like any other fashion maven, she kept the look unified by staying within the navy and white palette.
As for the shoes, it’s good to keep them as minimalistic as possible. You can go for your outfit’s color – white or navy – or a more subtle one such as nude/camel.
The Breton top’s stripe may be hard to pair with other prints, but this model goes out to show otherwise. Here, she wears her blue and white sweater with a skirt of floral and gingham prints. And while some think that it won’t work, she shows that it could.
You can pull this look off just like the model by staying within the top’s tonal range. Since both items belong to the blue palette, she was able to create a chic, cohesive look.
Breton Top – and Button-Down
A Breton top is a versatile piece that you can use for work – and play. As for the former, the Breton top helps provide a blueprint for many stylish office outfits.
One of the simplest looks to assemble is this model’s outfit. Here, she layers her white button-down top with a Breton sweater. And to accentuate her inner layer, she popped up her collar and rolled up her sleeves.
After a day of work, you can casualize this garb by doing a half-tuck – just like the model.
Speaking of work outfits, you can use your Breton top together with your suit. Instead of the usual button-down top, you can use this striped piece to add a hint of Parisian style into your overall outfit.
Like the model, you can go outside the box and wear a less conventional pantsuit color. A baby pink shade, in her case, helped create a soft look that’s perfect for the office. PS: You may want to skip the sneakers though and use pumps instead, especially if your boss is particular about footwear.
Cozy in a Cape
There are many ways to style your Breton top during the colder months. But if you’re looking to achieve a sophisticated Parisian look, then you should go for a cape coat.
As seen on the model, a cape can keep you comfy and chic. It’s very elegant, which means there’s not much need to accessorize – though you can do so freely. Like the model, you can finish the look with a pair of statement earrings, well-fitting pants, a tailored bag, and your sexy statement shoes.
Apart from wearing printed bottoms, another way to channel the print-on-print trend is to don a cute coat. As seen on the model, a Breton top goes surprisingly well with a brown printed coat.
To get this look, make sure that the designs don’t create chaos. One of the best ways to do so is to opt for prints that are small and refined. Going with bigger prints may be trickier – add to that, they can make you look bigger than usual.
Like the model, you can add some spice to your look by donning a printed coat together with your low-key Breton top outfit.
Similar to the print-on-print trend, plaid is a style that will fit your Breton top surprisingly well. The key to successfully pulling it off, however, is sticking with shapes that complement your Breton stripes.
As seen on the model, she went with a red plaid top – a color that complements her monochromatic black and white outfit. Like her, you can layer it on top. Better yet, you can tie the ends up for a summery look.
Just like the model, you can wear the outfit with leather boots. On the other hand, you can channel a more elegant look by donning nude or black pumps with this outfit instead.
More Layers Please
You can work your Breton top as a sweater – just like what the model did.
To do so, you need to pick a bigger or oversized top just like hers. From here, the layering part is unbelievably easy. You can take a casual outfit – just like what the model wears – and use the Breton top to add a bit of elegance.
Another option is to wear it over your office attire – like your trusty white button-down top and trousers. Given the Breton top’s flexibility, it’s sure to look lovely – either with casual pieces or more formal ones.
The Best Accessories To Pair With a Breton Top
The Breton top works well with many accessories. So whether you’re looking for a Parisian vibe or an edgier look, know that you can achieve any of them with the help of the following accessories.
Nothing screams Parisian chic more than the beret. Previously known as a peasant’s hat, this headwear has become one of the best complementary pieces to wear with a Breton top. In fact, this item is enough for you to single-handedly achieve a signature French style.
Even if you’re not a painter, putting on a beret can give you such feels. It’s also a stylish alternative to the usual hat, which of course, is another thing you can don with your Breton top.
Hide in the Shade
Like the beret, your sunglasses are vital for perfecting the Breton top look. It doesn’t matter if the sun is up or not – it’s guaranteed to look outstanding with your outfit.
Glamorous, oversized shades are classic choices – though you could be like Cara Delevingne and opt for a more modern style.
With a great pair of shades, you’re sure to look chic – even as you try to hide your puffy eyes from an all-night party.
Scarf in Style
You don’t have to wear a lot of navy-inspired items to get a Nautical chic look. With a scarf like that of the model, you can assemble an outfit that’s perfect for yachting!
Although minimalistic designs work best with a Breton top, you can go for brighter colors and unique prints – such as this one. As you see, it can give your outfit a hint of color – which is perfect if you really want to stand out.
While a Breton top doesn’t need much frou-frou, there’s no stopping you from embellishing your outfit as much as you can. The key, however, is to keep everything peeled back as the stripes are commanding enough by themselves.
As such, it pays to keep your jewelry on the delicate side of things. Like the model, a gold necklace and some bracelets are perfect for your casual outfit. Should you need to go to a more upscale event, you can break out your more ornate baubles – like the pair of chandelier earrings you’ve wanted to wear for a long time.
Get the Parisian chic look – without leaving the comfort of your own home – with the help of a Breton top. As you can style it in several ways, it’s a fashion investment that’s worthy of your hard-earned money.
Other Articles That May Also Interest You