Full disclosure: I love a Breton stripe. So does my mom. (And while we’re on the subject, so does my toddler—a sartorial choice so far inflicted mostly by me.) I wear one so often and dress my son in similar fashion so often, my husband frequently cracks a joke every time we accidentally twin and wear the iconic (and French-inspired) design on the same day: “Ah, I see I didn’t get the memo about the family uniform. Let me go change my shirt.”
But here’s the thing: The Breton stripe—in shirt form especially—is a wardrobe staple so classic and timeless, it’s been in style since the 1920s. (It was first known as la marinière, a nod to the French naval uniform of the mid-1800s, and so in vogue that everyone from Coco Chanel to Jacqueline Kennedy had a piece with nautical stripes in their closet.) Better yet, there are so many ways to wear one—to brunch, to school drop-off, on a Zoom call—that a polished attempt at style is effortless and practically guaranteed.
Still, with so many options to choose from this fall, which Breton stripe top is best? The most flattering? The one you have to have in your closet to mix and match with a blazer, a long coat or a cute scarf? I put 7 to the test in an effort to find the best fit. Here, my top choices, reviewed.