It’s a ubiquitous wardrobe item, but chances are you style your Breton top the same way every time. Which is why we challenged Style & Living womenswear editor Sophie Hines (pictured) to wear this classic piece every day for a week, devising different outfits to take it to the next level…
Day one and I’m in my Breton top comfort zone, pairing this Autograph number with a classic pair of jeans. Made from cashmere, this Breton feels super soft, and a denim shirt adds extra interest, as well as tapping in to the double denim trend in a non-scary way (perfect if you’re daunted at the idea of going full Justin ‘n’ Britney).
I love a high-waisted skirt, but it’s not something I would normally pair with a Breton. However, I love the result – a stylish skirt smartens up my top for work, and the khaki and navy provide an interesting contrast (turns out the old adage ‘blue and green should never be seen’ is simply not true). I’m constantly carting half my possessions around with me, so of course a big handbag is a must – this red faux-leather hobo bag has space for everything.
Work-from-home Wednesday means ultimate comfort (and a proper breakfast) is called for, and this linen jumpsuit is ideal. Layering the Breton underneath gives a cute but cool look, with the chunky leather trainers adding a tougher edge if I need to head out. I’m starting to realise that in the past I’ve been playing it very safe when it comes to the Breton – it’s an incredibly versatile item.
Thursday night drinks call for a more experimental look; after all, my girlfriends are the people I always want to impress with my sartorial choices. Despite feeling wary about a double stripe, when I pop on this gorgeous skirt I’m amazed how well it works. With so much print going on, I keep things simple with the rest of my outfit, opting for a navy blazer and plain clutch. It gets the friends’ stamp of approval, so I’m happy.
Accessorising France’s most famous top with a pair of baguettes is a no-brainer, but the question is: can you wear a striped Breton with a checked coat? The answer, it turns out, is yes, as long as you keep everything else about your outfit pared back. These navy chinos work perfectly.
If there’s one item that has been a staple of any fashion lover’s wardrobe for the past few seasons, it’s the grey checked blazer, and this trend shows no signs of abating any time soon. Luckily, it works wonderfully with a Breton, producing a compliment-worthy outfit for my coffee-shop jaunt. A cappuccino and fashion kudos? Yes please.
The great British weather has turned, so I’m reaching for a trusty trench, which, just like the Breton, seems to go with absolutely everything. If there’s one thing I’ve discovered this week, it’s that a challenge like this really pushes you out of your comfort zone and makes you realise just how many style combinations you already have lurking in your wardrobe. I’ll definitely be more experimental with my outfits in future, although it might be a few days before I reach for the Breton again.
Photographer: Stephanie Sian Smith / Stylist: Louise Carmel Hall
Hair stylist: Leigh Keates / Make-up artist: Lindsey Poole