How the Breton earned its stripes

Did you know that the original Breton striped shirt came with 21 stripes on it? We didn't either. Each stripe functioned as a numerical totem that tallied Napoleon’s militant victories. Don't say we never teach you anything. 

Although created in the mid-1800s for members of the French Navy, it wasn't until 1917, when style icon and the original influencer, Coco Chanel first introduced the work shirt into a resort collection that the shirt made its first foray into the sartorial vernacular of fashion. Chanel liberated the female form, setting it free by adopting a military garment into contemporary women’s style and in doing so creating a symbol of gender equality.  As Chanel once said “Fashion changes, but style endures” and that is the crux of the Breton’s success. In defiance of fashion's desired obsolescence, it remains a reliable wardrobe staple over 160 years later. 

Coco Chanel

Following Chanel's lead, Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot, emanating Gallic chic and easy cool, helped seal the Breton's fate. Today, if such current icons of style as Alexa Chung, Audrey Tautou, Kate Moss and Edie Sedgwick are an indication of anything, it's that the easy, achievable and accessible nature of these tees is what gives them their enduring appeal. 

The Breton stripe is the easy go-to outfit builder whether it be for a casual work day, Sunday morning stroll or a night out. Here at Maze we believe you can never have enough stripes. We like to have every colour-way and every variation of stripe at our disposal in the morning.

Our Breton top favourites:


M.i.h. Breton Top


Des Petits Hauts Gaston Top


Nice Things Stripe Top

£39 from £65

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