Monday, 4 September 2017

3 Modern Ways to Wear a Classic Stripe Breton Top #iwillwearwhatilike

3 creative ways to style a Breton stripe top: Office chic/workwear, casual weekend wear and date night outfit | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
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Like many women, I am somewhat obsessed by the Breton top. It's an absolute classic - a garment that's synonymous with Audrey Hepburn and French style in general is always going to be stylish.

However, like many classic items, you see them styled the same way over and over... We all want a little inspiration when it comes to styling the staples in our wardrobes, don't we?

As I'm working with Seasalt this year - a brand that excels in striped sailor tops - I thought I'd show you a few alternative ways to style your Breton stripes: Not a trench coat in sight, in other words (that would be too easy, and too easy just isn't my style as you probably know)!

When I started writing this post I did wonder who exactly designed it and what the Brittany connection was. There are some pretty interesting facts I didn't know about the history of the Breton top. For example, did you know...

  • The top is called a Breton shirt because many sailors were from Brittany - a marinière (sailor) top was worn by quartermasters and seamen in the French Navy. It was originally made of tightly knit wool to protect them from the elements.
  • In 1858, the combed cotton jersey and sweaters officially became part of the French naval uniform, with strict specifications about the number of stripes and their size (it's said they represented the number of Napoleon's victories).
  • It was said that stripes made it easier to see sailors who had fallen into the sea.
  • Coco Chanel used to holiday by the sea and was inspired by the uniforms of local sailors. The marinières that she became so well known for soon became luxury items after she introduced them exactly 100 years ago in 1917.
  • The marinière has famously been worn by Pablo Picasso, Audrey Hepburn, John Wayne, Brigitte Bardot and Jean Seberg - it is a wardrobe staple of many French women (and men!) and closely associated with French style.
  • Jean Paul Gaultier, Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel are all fashion houses that have featured the Breton shirt heavily in their collections. Gaultier himself is known for wearing a marinière and his aftershave Le Male is shaped as a male torso in Breton stripes.

3 creative ways to style a Breton stripe top: Office chic/workwear, casual weekend wear and date night outfit | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

Why Seasalt is the go-to for sailor tops

Seasalt's been making Breton striped tops for years - it was actually the first garment they ever made, so they know what they're doing. Their sailor tops, shirts and t-shirts are made with 100% organic cotton, are incredibly soft and made to last (you can tell they're amazing quality at a glance).

They also have a wide selection of colours and sleeve choices (short, three-quarter and long) - not only that but they have a 2 for £40 offer on their sailor stripes. There's no end date on the offer yet, so you can indulge in two at a time to your heart's content (especially good when there's so much choice).

The offer also includes some plain tops and leggings so you don't have to go overboard (see what I did there!) with the stripes if you feel you need to reign in your Breton habit a little... Though is there such a thing as too many Breton tops? I don't think so...!


THREE OUTFITS FOR THREE OCCASIONS: OFFICE WORKWEAR, CASUAL WEEKEND WEAR AND A DATE NIGHT OUTFIT. IT GOES TO SHOW THAT A BRETON TOP REALLY IS THE MOST VERSATILE PIECE YOU CAN HAVE IN YOUR WARDROBE. 

As part of my Seasalt ambassadorship I was set the challenge to style three sailor tops three creative ways. As much as I love the classic Breton top/skinny jeans/ballet flats/trench coat look, it wouldn't be showing you anything you haven't already seen a thousand times before - so I tried to style mine a little differently.

It also made sense to style three outfits for three occasions: Office workwear, casual weekend wear and a date night outfit. I love all three looks equally - it goes to show that a Breton top really IS the most versatile piece you can have in your wardrobe. My outfits may still be a little on the preppy side, but (in the same way I tend to describe my style) these are definitely what I'd call "preppy with a twist" looks.

Hopefully they'll give you some stripey inspiration... Enjoy!

1. A creative office/workwear outfit

Ways to style a Breton stripe top: Office chic/workwear - with navy wide leg cropped pants, red block heels and layered with a print shirt | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

Breton Night Ecru Sailor Shirt

Ah, the most classic of classic tops: The long sleeve, navy Breton top. Navy is, of course, perfect for the office and this outfit is great if you work in a slightly more creative environment. I layered the top over another Seasalt piece: the Pepé print Larissa Shirt. This shirt is one of those shirts that you can wash and twist to keep the crinkle (though I chose to iron it for this outfit as it's workwear)... the pattern mixing works so well here.

Adding smart culottes and a punch of colour with red heels, bag and lips (very matchy matchy I know, but I think it works because the shoes have bands of different colours) makes it the perfect office look that's far from being just a boring navy and white outfit.

Ways to style a Breton stripe top: Office chic/workwear - with navy wide leg cropped pants, red block heels and layered with a print shirt | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
Ways to style a Breton stripe top: Office chic/workwear - with navy wide leg cropped pants, red block heels and layered with a print shirt | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
Ways to style a Breton stripe top: Office chic/workwear - with navy wide leg cropped pants, red block heels and layered with a print shirt | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
Top: Seasalt c/o
Shirt: Seasalt (on sale!) c/o
Trousers: Marks & Spencer
Shoes: Lotus c/o
Bag: Old, unknown

2. A casual weekend wear/walking the dog outfit

Ways to style a Breton stripe top: Casual weekend wear - with dungarees (overalls) and white Stan Smiths | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

Seasalt Breton Ecru Dill Sailor T-Shirt

Apart from the fact that dungarees are the best thing since sliced bread for weekend dressing, can we just address how adorable Riley looks in his yellow dog neckerchief? Seasalt are big fans of dogs (they're welcome in all Seasalt shops) and I love the fact that they sell gifts for pets and feature the co-founder's cockapoo Pepé on their website a lot - he appears on the print of my shirt in the first outfit if you look closely!

As I mentioned earlier Seasalt sells Breton tops with different sleeve lengths, and this t-shirt with short sleeves and a green stripe is quite unusual... you don't often see green Breton stripes but that's what I love about their range: choice. Dungarees, a Breton t-shirt and Adidas for comfort is really all you need for easy weekend wear - I think this outfit makes a (much more comfortable) change from skinny jeans.

Ways to style a Breton stripe top: Casual weekend wear - with dungarees (overalls) and white Stan Smiths | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
Ways to style a Breton stripe top: Casual weekend wear - with dungarees (overalls) and white Stan Smiths | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
Ways to style a Breton stripe top: Casual weekend wear - with dungarees (overalls) and white Stan Smiths | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
T-shirt: Seasalt c/o
Dungarees: La Redoute (similar)
Sunglasses: Vintage
Riley's bandana: Seasalt c/o

3. A date night outfit

Ways to style a Breton stripe top: Date night/dressed up elegant outfit - with black collar necklace, graphic print full circle midi skirt and mules | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style

Seasalt Breton "Duet Bucket Paddle" Sailor Top

Breton tops don't have to be for daytime or casual wear only. I thought I'd try dressing up my blue/orange/ecru sailor top (love the three-quarter sleeves) by creating a date night outfit round its bold colourway. It was a no-brainer to wear it with my full graphic print midi skirt that I actually got last year but haven't yet worn - I now have the perfect "going out out" outfit!

The colours of the stripes couldn't have been more perfect with the colours of the skirt, and as it was quite an almighty pattern mix I kept all the rest of my accessories black (even I know when to hold back a little).

My favourite part of the whole outfit is the addition of the Peter Pan collar-style necklace (which I've had for years) to the top - it takes it from being a casual daytime top to suitable for an evening out in one fell swoop. Second only to the red lipstick, of course. Adding a statement necklace to a Breton top is a great tip to make your stripes look far dressier than just a jersey t-shirt.

Ways to style a Breton stripe top: Date night/dressed up elegant outfit - with black collar necklace, graphic print full circle midi skirt and mules | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
Ways to style a Breton stripe top: Date night/dressed up elegant outfit - with black collar necklace, graphic print full circle midi skirt and mules | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
Top: Seasalt c/o
Skirt: LK Bennett SS16 (love this one)
Necklace: Marks & Spencer (this is almost identical)
Heels: Madeleine c/o (similar)
Bag: House of Fraser (love this one)
Sunglasses: Lulus (similar)

So that's my three looks for styling your Breton stripes in ways that I hope have inspired you to switch things up a little as well as getting the most out of your wardrobe. Sometimes we have to experiment a little to find ways to wear classics in different ways - it would get boring to wear them exactly the same way every time, wouldn't it? Don't be afraid to try new ways to wear your stripes as well as new places to wear them.

First stop date night, next stop... wedding dress? I'm sure Gaultier has already been there and done that...!

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Onto the #iwillwearwhatilike link up: Do add your outfits below - and if you've added a link to here or my button to your post you may be featured next week!

HOW MANY AH BRETON TOPS DO YOU OWN, AND WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE WAY TO STYLE THEM? COMMENT BELOW...!

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The #iwillwearwhatilike link up with Not Dressed As Lamb
Thank you for joining the #iwillwearwhatilike link up! This started as a campaign on Instagram in August 2015 where women over 30 wore everything on a journalist's list of "inappropriate" items for 30+ women (including leopard print, short dresses and oversized sunglasses. Yes, really). It was so popular that I decided to carry it on weekly where women of all ages link up their fabulous style, never mind what anyone tells them not to wear!

The link up goes live every Monday at 3pm UK time and will stay open for a week. Whilst the original article was of course aimed at the 30+, you can be ANY age to link up. The only criteria is that you're wearing whatever you damn well like!



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CLICK HERE to read the rules of linking up (and to grab the #iwillwearwhatilike button). Basically it's just good manners to link back to here - to leave a comment is even nicer!

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My favourite outfits from last week's link up:

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Catherine

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Disclosure: The post was sponsored by Seasalt (click here for my full disclosure)This post may contain some affiliate links which means if you click through and buy I may receive a small commission. All content is original, however, and opinions are my own and 100% honest.
3 creative ways to style a Breton stripe top: Office chic/workwear, casual weekend wear and date night outfit | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
Ways to style a Breton stripe top: Office chic/workwear - with navy wide leg cropped pants, red block heels and layered with a print shirt | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
Ways to style a Breton stripe top: Date night/dressed up elegant outfit - with black collar necklace, graphic print full circle midi skirt and mules | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
Ways to style a Breton stripe top: Date night/dressed up elegant outfit - with black collar necklace, graphic print full circle midi skirt and mules | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
Ways to style a Breton stripe top: Date night/dressed up elegant outfit - with black collar necklace, graphic print full circle midi skirt and mules | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
Ways to style a Breton stripe top: Date night/dressed up elegant outfit - with black collar necklace, graphic print full circle midi skirt and mules | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
Ways to style a Breton stripe top: Casual weekend wear - with dungarees (overalls) and white Stan Smiths | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
Ways to style a Breton stripe top: Casual weekend wear - with dungarees (overalls) and white Stan Smiths | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
Ways to style a Breton stripe top: Casual weekend wear - with dungarees (overalls) and white Stan Smiths | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
Ways to style a Breton stripe top: Casual weekend wear - with dungarees (overalls) and white Stan Smiths | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
Ways to style a Breton stripe top: Casual weekend wear - with dungarees (overalls) and white Stan Smiths | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
Ways to style a Breton stripe top: Office chic/workwear - with navy wide leg cropped pants, red block heels and layered with a print shirt | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
Ways to style a Breton stripe top: Date night/dressed up elegant outfit - with black collar necklace, graphic print full circle midi skirt and mules | Not Dressed As Lamb, over 40 style
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26 comments

  1. Oh I LOVE a breton top and you look amazing in each and every outfit here. But my goodness. Lucky Keith!!!!! Your date night outfit is to die for. The pattern combo is perfect and the beaded collar necklace has taken it from day to date in one fell swoop. Gorgeous! Thank you for hosting the link-up my lovely xxxxx www.whatlizzyloves

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    Replies
    1. Aww Liz thanks!! I think the collar necklace worked beautifully too, I must admit! x

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  2. Striped tops are a marvelous classic to have in your wardrobe and you've done such a wonderful jacket b of providing some history regarding its origins. I'm also a firm believer the nearly all items in our closets can be worn for any occasion and for the last year, I've been posting a very similar post once a month showcasing a different piece from my wardrobe and styling 3 ways; for work, for play, and for fun. I added my last one to the link up. Thanks for the inspirations of wearing what we like and for hosting.

    Rena
    http://www.finewhateverblog.com

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  3. OH WOW Catherine you've out done yourself with the tri-coloured breton styling. This is a sensational look, I'd wear in a heartbeat. How long is that name though? ;-)
    xx

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  4. I have Breton's in all colours! I wouldn't be without them! Riley needs a stripe neckerchief too. You look great in all of these outfits Catherine xx
    www.vanityandmestyle.com

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  5. It's so interesting how stripes can make an outfit seem so much better....I mean they are just stripes. But for some reason they are so obsessively wonderful!!
    XOXO
    Jodie
    www.jtouchofstyle.com

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  6. Wowza, I didn't even know it was possible to take a Breton to a date night look, but that's my absolute favourite here! Well done, lady! xx

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  7. I love Breton tops and these are all great looks for different occasions. And thank you for the history! I have always wondered about that. And by chance I happened to wear a Hepburn/Tautou outfit for this linkup too. Thanks for hosting.

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  8. I particularly like the addition of the black beaded collar necklace on the evening outfit with the skirt. Great pieces together.
    Greetje

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  9. Love Breton stripes - I've had at least one in my wardrobe ever since I was a teenager - I'm now 71 and still have several, latest bought last year in France. Your styling shows just how to get the best of these tops.

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  10. I love mixed print look! That skirt is gorgeous and looks great with a casual top!

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  11. Can't beat a stripe tee. I love mine with a tulle skirt and heels for date night

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  12. I love how you styled all three looks!! I think the last might be my favorite, the mix of patterns is so fun!

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  13. I love all of these options but the last one is so terrifically creative it's difficult not to pick it as a favorite. This bverdion is work friendly too!!
    Hating my unknown status, as I am subscribed to your posts via email. Not sure what to do... judegramith@gmail.com

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  14. I own a TON of striped pieces - everything from tees to skirts to jeans! - but I don't believe I own a single genuine "Breton" top, dearest Catherine!! All your sweet outfit options have me thinking I need to change that, though...and maybe also add a pair of overalls/dungarees to my wardrobe while I'm at it!! P.S. So nice to see handsome Riley making an appearance on your blog again!! :D

    www.StyleIsMyPudding.com

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  15. I love striped tops, and your post made me realize why I need more! ;-) I love all three outfits, especially the date night one as it's not something I would necessarily think of.

    Thanks for the link up & I hope you are having a great week!

    Andrea
    Andrea’s Wellness Notes

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  16. These looks are fab Catherine!
    I would wear all three in a heartbeat.
    The dungarees outfit is my favourite though... I love the green striped top. A little different but still classic.
    A fabulous trio!
    XXX
    Samantha
    Fake Fabulous | Fake it until you make it | Style & Fun with Fashion!

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  17. Great ideas and so versatile Catherine. Love the cropped pants the most, I suppose.:) Thank you for the link-up and have a great week. xo Sabina

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  18. I love the print mixing! I have quite the collection of striped tops so this inspiration is right up my alley!

    Heidi || Wishes & Reality

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  19. I love how you styled these Breton tops. My fav is look #3! Thanks for the inspo :)

    xo,
    Janise

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  20. You look beautiful in all three, but I'm especially impressed with how well you pull off those overalls! Thank you for the inspiration. :)

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  21. I am indeed partial to a Breton! Ooh la la to you - three fab looks here. I haven't tried the Seasalt ones, I must have a look. I have some good ones already (Boden, M&S) but want to upgrade the cheaper ones. X

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  22. Red accessories with stripes always looks so good! I love third outfit with the patterned skirt and Peter Pan collar necklace too. I have loads of Breton tops, they just go with everything. My dad lives in Brittany, which is where my step mother is from, and the classic navy and white striped tops are sold in all the shops. I thought it would be a bit of a cliche to wear Breton stripes in Brittany but it's not at all - my step mother wore a striped top and trousers on her wedding day to my dad!

    Emma xxx
    www.style-splash.com

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  23. So gorgeous! I love a Breton stripe and need to buy some more pieces! Love how versatile it can be as you've proved in these gorgeous looks x

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