Throughout History, This Is the One Item Everyone Should Own at Any Age

The fashion industry can be frustratingly cyclical sometimes. There are so many items currently in my closet that my mom “used to wear in high school.” I roll my eyes because she says this so often. And if she had only saved them, I wouldn’t have felt the need to buy them. It’s hard to predict which trends will come around again and therefore even trickier to decide which items to hold onto and which to get rid of.

Then there are the items we consider to be timeless. They are closet staples that will never go out of style and can be worn at any stage in your life. Today, we’re highlighting one definitive wardrobe piece, an item that editors across the board agree everyone should have in their closet. Enter the Breton striped shirt.

Now, before this casual cotton tee became a sartorial classic, it was introduced as the uniform of the French navy in the 1850s. Coco Chanel then made it popular in the fashion industry in the 1920s, and it took off. It has been an iconic fashion item for celebrities like James Dean, Audrey Hepburn, Kate Moss, and Alexa Chung, to name a few. The now-off-duty uniform is appropriate for people of all ages and will truly never go out of style. Below, we share our favorite classic takes on the Breton striped shirt, some updated versions, and styling ideas.

The Breton is said to have 21 stripes in navy and white. While I didn’t count every line, on these styles, they pay homage to the traditional sailor uniform while giving off that cool, casual vibe. You can never go wrong pairing these with clean denim and white sneakers or loafers. Add a straw hat or bag for that extra je ne sais quoi. 

The colorful twist on the nautical classic is fun, eccentric, and modern. Even in rainbow and Lurex details, it remains eternally in style. Go for one of these pieces if you prefer to make a statement, and pair with a colorful skirt or white denim.

We’re used to seeing this classic style in a crew-neck or boatneck. These silhouettes each create a different vibe in the Breton world. The mock-neck is more sophisticated and sweet, while the added collar makes it elevated and sporty. Lastly, the shoulder-baring square-neck adds sass.

Next up, check out eight items influencers can’t get enough of right now.

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