What’s the Best Way to Pair a Classic Breton Striped Jumper with Tailored Trousers?

April 17, 2024

French fashion is synonymous with effortless elegance and chic, and nothing embodies this more than the classic Breton striped top. Originating from the northern region of France, the Breton stripe has gradually evolved into a timeless wardrobe staple that speaks volumes about simplicity and style.

Here, we explore the many ways you can incorporate this French fashion classic into your wardrobe, with a specific focus on pairing it with tailored trousers. From casual to corporate, we’ll guide you on achieving that perfect balance of sophisticated and subtle.

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The History and Importance of The Breton Striped Top

Before diving into pairing options, let’s dig a little deeper into the history of the Breton stripe. This classic navy and white striped cotton jumper was originally introduced as part of the uniform for the French navy in the 19th century. The Breton top, with its characteristic 21 stripes, represents Napoleon’s victories and soon became a symbol of French nationalism.

The Breton top later found favor with style icons like Coco Chanel and Audrey Hepburn, who incorporated it into their signature look, making it a classic fashion statement. Today, it is a must-have in any woman’s wardrobe, offering a myriad of styling possibilities.

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How to Style a Breton Striped Top with Jeans

One of the easiest ways to wear a Breton striped top is by pairing it with jeans. This combination is a no-brainer, and it works for a variety of occasions, from a casual day out to a relaxed business meeting.

To achieve a stylish and casual look, opt for a classic Breton striped cotton sweater. Tuck it loosely into a pair of high-waisted jeans, preferably in a dark wash or classic blue. Finish the look with some loafers or white sneakers, and you’ve nailed the casual, French-inspired ensemble.

If you’re going for a more polished look, choose a Breton striped shirt and pair it with tailored dark jeans or black skinny jeans. Add some high heels and a statement handbag, and you’re ready to conquer the corporate world.

The Art of Pairing a Breton Striped Top with Tailored Trousers

Styling a Breton striped jumper with tailored trousers is a combination that’s both sophisticated and chic. It’s a perfect ensemble for office wear or a day filled with meetings.

A pair of tailored black trousers is ideal for this look. The dark colour of the trousers will provide a stark contrast to the striped top, enhancing the overall appearance. Opt for a Breton top with a slightly loose fit; this will balance the snug fit of the trousers.

To elevate your look, add a blazer or a trench coat over your Breton top. It’s a look that exudes confidence and charisma, and it’s perfect for a busy day at work or an early dinner date.

Accessorizing Your Breton Striped Jumper

No outfit is complete without the right accessories. When it comes to accessorizing your Breton striped jumper, less is more. The stripes themselves are a strong statement, so keep your accessories to a minimum.

A classic leather bag and a pair of suede loafers will give your outfit a laid-back yet polished vibe. For a touch of class, add a pair of pearl earrings or a delicate necklace. If the weather calls for it, a scarf in a solid color can add an extra layer of sophistication to your look.

Where to Shop for Your Breton Striped Top

There are numerous places to shop for a Breton striped top, from high-end fashion stores to online shops. Look for a top made from high-quality cotton to ensure durability and comfort. Brands like Armor Lux and Saint James are well-known for their authentic Breton striped tops. For a more affordable option, check out Uniqlo or Zara.

Remember, when it comes to a Breton top, the key is simplicity. Opt for a classic navy and white stripe, although red and white or black and white are also fantastic alternatives. The trick is to invest in a piece that’s versatile, allowing you to pair it with different bottoms and accessories. A Breton striped top can take you a long way, serving you well from season to season.

How to Transition Your Breton Striped Top from Day to Night

Transitioning your Breton striped top from day to night is a breeze if you know how to switch up your accessories and pairings. This iconic fashion piece lends itself to a wide variety of looks, making it immensely versatile.

During the day, a striped jumper paired with tailored trousers presents a professional image that’s perfect for the office or business meetings. A classic Breton striped top in navy and white, tucked into a pair of tailored trousers, creates a chic, streamlined silhouette. Pair this ensemble with ballet flats or loafers for comfort and style. Keep your accessories minimal and refined, with a delicate necklace or pearl earrings.

As evening approaches, transform your look by swapping your trousers for a pair of wide leg jeans. This change instantly adds a casual flair to your outfit, perfect for a dinner date or drinks with friends. Swap your flats for a pair of heeled boots to elevate your look. Bring along a knit sweater or a trench coat for those cooler nights.

When it comes to accessories, opt for statement pieces. A pair of chandelier earrings or a bold clutch can add a pop of drama to your outfit. However, remember that the Breton stripe is a strong visual element, so avoid over-accessorizing.

The Influences and Reflections on Modern French Fashion

The Breton striped top has had a significant influence on modern French fashion, and its timeless appeal continues to inspire designers and fashion enthusiasts globally. The simplicity of the Breton stripe resonates with the French philosophy of ‘less is more’, and its versatility makes it a quintessential piece in a capsule wardrobe.

Designers like Jean Paul Gaultier and Sonia Rykiel have often incorporated the Breton stripe into their collections, reinterpreting it in various ways while maintaining its classic appeal. Celebrities and style icons, including Queen Letizia, have been spotted wearing the Breton top, reaffirming its status as a fashion must-have.

The popularity of the Breton striped top among French women can be attributed to its ability to transcend trends. It remains relevant season after season, and its adaptability ensures that it can be styled with a variety of pieces, from tailored trousers to jeans.


The Breton striped jumper is not just a fashion item; it’s a symbol of French chic and a testament to the enduring appeal of simplicity. Its versatility means it can be paired with a variety of bottoms, including tailored trousers, and it continues to inspire modern fashion.

Whether you choose to wear your Breton top with a pair of loose, comfortable jeans for a casual look, or you opt for a more polished ensemble with tailored trousers and high heels, you can be sure that you’re making a powerful style statement.

Remember, the key to nailing the Breton look is simplicity. Keep your accessories minimal, choose high-quality pieces, and let the stripes do the talking. So, the next time you’re in doubt about what to wear, reach for your Breton striped top and embrace the French chic within you.