My Favorite Breton Shirt is Under $35

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Alison of Wardrobe Oxygen wearing her favorite Breton top under a red wool peacoat. She is standing outside, holding two bottles of wine and smiling at the camera
I recently wore this outfit, which included my favorite Breton top. The jeans are Chico's, the boots are La Canadienne, and the jacket is several years old from Talbots (originally seen in this post).

Anyone who has read Wardrobe Oxygen for some time or follows me on Instagram knows that I love a Breton striped top. I regularly recommend them in my capsule wardrobes as they are easily found at most every price and size and mix and match so beautifully. I often have posts discussing my favorite Breton shirt of the moment and I enjoy wearing Breton tops because they elevate wardrobe basics. Jeans and t-shirt: ho-hum. Jeans and Breton: classic yet fun!

Because I wear Breton tops so often, I purchase them often. I try to baby them, washing them on my machine's gentle cycle and line drying them, but I am not the only person who does laundry in the house. My other family members occasionally mistake my darling Bretons for a run-of-the-mill t-shirt and it ends up going through the wash and dryer with a load of other knits.

If you want to know if your dryer will truly affect the condition of your clothes, ask my Breton collection which over this fall and winter has come to look quite worse for wear… except for one. And it's the most unexpected shirt in the collection to survive a distracted teen's or a doing his best spouse's laundry day.

This is My Favorite Breton Shirt… and It's Less Than $35

After a Wardrobe Oxygen reader recommended this Breton striped shirt on Amazon, I ordered one “for science.” I actually ordered two, a Large and an XL to compare them and see which fit my busty size 14 body the best. I expected to return both, thinking they would be weird typical Amazon fast fashion. Shiny or see-through or sleeves too tight or… something.

I tried the XL first, and didn't even remove the Large from the plastic casing because the XL was perfect. Like really perfect. The white was bright, the black stripes were the perfect width and distance from each other. The neckline wasn't too high nor was it so wide my bra strap peeked out. It was long enough to tuck in and blouse out, and while the sleeves were a bit long on me, that is pretty expected being 5'3″.

screenshot of a white long sleeved shirt with black stripes as sold on Amazon.
A screenshot of the shirt on Amazon, showing how I bought it in March 2021, almost a year old and through the dryer (though it says do not tumble dry) likely a dozen times. Please note the price of my favorite Breton shirt changes over time but I have never seen it over $35.

This Breton's shirt's quality and style rivaled my Boden Long Sleeve Breton. In fact, in my drawer, I often would mistake the two if the light wasn't bright enough to distinguish Boden's navy stripes from this one's black stripes. But what really made this shirt shine was this past fall and winter of family doing laundry and using the dryer. A lot.

Three striped tops layered over one another
Sleeves of three Bretons – the top one is my white with navy GALATHEE from Saint James, middle is my MINQUIERS PRIDE from Saint James, bottom is the one from Amazon. All laundered the same way, about the same number of times through the dryer.

And this Breton from Amazon? It held up far better than any of my other t-shirt-weight Breton tops. It has been in the washer and dryer; it even went through with a load of denim and without any fancy laundry boosters; the white is still white, the navy stripes are still crisp, and the finish of the knit is still smooth enough to wear out for brunch with a blazer.

Alison in a navy pantsuit from Ann Taylor and a Navy and white stripe Breton top from Amazon, standing in her office
The other day, I wore my Amazon Breton top with a navy pantsuit from Ann Taylor and white Adidas sneakers.

I am updating this post two years later to let you know that not only is this Breton still in my wardrobe, but I have added a black and white version and a short-sleeved navy stripe version. I wore this original navy striped Breton just the other day!

Alison wearing a white with black striped Breton t-shirt untucked with jeans.
The shirt untucked to show the length.

In contrast, last month when cleaning out my closet, I ended up taking my beloved white with navy Saint James Breton and putting it in the donate pile. I was grateful when my daughter snagged it for her closet. It was laundered far less than this Amazon one because two trips in the dryer pretty much ended its everyday life. The third trip was the death of it, shrinking it and leaving it so grungy it was only good for wearing at home but too snug for casual comfort.

I regularly say to shop for quality, not quantity, but I also know that a higher price doesn't equal better quality. And this striped top from Amazon, which comes in dozens of different colors in sizes XS-XXL, is surprisingly great quality for a low price. Thank you to the reader who originally recommended it and dozens of you who have said you love it after my quick mentions on Instagram Stories and in recap posts on Wardrobe Oxygen. This top is so good, it deserved its own post!

Other Breton Tops Currently In my Wardrobe:

Four different breton tops layered over each other
The Boden one was in the laundry, so I replaced it with my discarded Saint James that my daughter took. It shows how the shirts have worn and how the J. Crew one is a much heavier weight than the other Breton tops.

Do know this isn't the only Breton striped top currently in my wardrobe. I am on the hunt for some variety, but I also have:

  • This one from J. Crew. This is a heavyweight Breton, not like a t-shirt. This must be 3-4 years old, but I go through stages where I love it, and then I don't. Lately, I've been wearing it again.
  • This one from Saint James. I think because it was bought a size too large and has always been a casual pullover, it doesn't look as grungy after going through the dryer a few times. In fact, I am wearing it as I write this!
  • This one from Boden. I have it with the navy stripes, but honestly, once it kicks the bucket, I'll replace it with a navy one from Amazon!
A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. STRIPES! JCrew used to be the go-to but agreed, quality has relaxed.

    I bought one of these for myself at holiday time and now they are now on super sale. A very relaxed fit but I liked how it looked on me — and they are very heavyweight, I’m hoping they wear well.

    1. Going to have to give this Amazon one a try. Great price, and I too have the JCrew one and now hate it with a passion.

      1. It’s funny I hate mine now as well. I keep it because this past late spring I did wear it with drapey linen and chino pants, and maybe this spring I’ll be a different shape or find a way to love it, but right now the proportions and weight feel all off. I think you may like this one from Amazon.

        1. Just got the Amazon one yesterday and it is actually really nice! Looking forward to wearing it and hoping it holds up in the wash.

      2. I love a good Breton shirt and we’ll have to try your most recent recommendation.

        Tip: My husband does the laundry in our house so anything that requires special attention, I put in a separate small, square laundry basket and he knows it is for permanent press.

  2. I don’t love a boatneck on myself, but I see that your Amazon favorite now comes in a v-neck. I think I’m going to give it a shot!

      1. V-neck for the win! I’m not quite 5’8″, bought the XL, and it’s GREAT – the sleeves are long enough, and it hits me mid-to-low hip, which is my preference for a shirt like this. I bought the white with black stripes and will likely go back for more. Thanks for revisiting this post, Alison!

  3. I clicked the first link and all the shirts said 95% cotton and went up to 3xl

    I clicked another link further down the page and the shirts were 95% polyester.

    When I clicked through again from the same link, the shirts were cotton again. So if you find the listing says “polyester” maybe just click back and then click through again? Amazon is so weird.

  4. I concur! After reading your original post I bought one (3/4 sleeves are perfect for my Petite arms), and bought 3 more since then. I love them. What always gets me is that the stripes match on the side seams — a detail that manufacturers often miss, even for expensive clothing. Now I’m reminded that I have to see if they have any new colors in…

  5. In case anyone is checking this out in 2023, it looks like the fabric content is 95% polyester and 5% spandex. I guess I have to splurge on Boden.

  6. Thank you for this post! I too love and live in Breton shirts, and my favorites are from Merona which tells how old they are, given Target stopped that brand a while ago. I am always looking for similar tops at reasonable prices, so I will try these Amazon ones with your recommendation.

  7. I have the Amazon shirt in black with white stripes and have been very happy with it! I bought mine in February 2021 and while it doesn’t get much wear in my Texas summer wardrobe, it’s still in great condition. It’s the perfect length to tuck, partially tuck, or leave out. The same size has worked through a 30 lb weight fluctuation (thanks spandex). I’m also impressed with the construction. The stripes match at the seams and the sleeves are well attached. Count me as another recommendation! In fact, I might get one of the red and white versions after this post reminds me how much I like this top.

  8. This makes me glad I didn’t spring for the $100 rainbow striped St. James Breton (although I was sorely tempted)! Would you say the Amazon one has a boatneck? I consider this essential for a Breton – one of the pics of you wearing it looks boatneck and one looks just crew-neck. Thanks!

  9. Your post reminded me I had this shirt in black, so I decided to wear it today. I also have an XL, but it fits me a bit looser in the bust and torso as I just don’t like clingy shirts around my midsection. After I put it on, I remembered why it was languishing in the back of my closet – I don’t like the fabric content of 95% cotton, 5% spandex. It seems like it has a lot more spandex/synthetic content than the label indicates. It’s very stretchy (but bounces right back) and it makes me too hot just standing at my home workstation with the temperature at 68 degrees. I have purchased a couple of other items from amazon that were described as “cotton” that seem more like synthetics to me.

    The universe doesn’t like the shirt on me either – I promptly dribbled hot sauce on it and it went in the wash.

  10. Man, I wish it went up one more size — I usually need to size up one smidge from you! Boden’s are still my go to, because of their size range, and they last 2 years in the washer and dryer, usually.

  11. Count me in as another order! I think I’ll try the navy w/ white stripes w/ 3/4 sleeves first. I’ve got the J Crew version from years ago & agree that it’s very heavy & I end up not wearing much these days. Stripes are just the best!

    1. I don’t think I wore it for over a year straight and lately I’ve been wearing it… but I wonder if it’s because my other Bretons are beat up or because I’m vibing with it!

  12. Thanks for the post I ordered before I finished reading the post. Hopeful. Ordered 3 from J Crew last year (on sale) and was not impressed with the less than standard quality. Hopefully these will be better than average and I will keep both sizes. 🙂

  13. Not super glamorous, but I can attest to the awesomeness of this shirt. I bought the 3/4 sleeve solid grey to wear under my scrub tops and it is seriously one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. As you can imagine, these shirts get washed and dried a lot, and still look great.

        1. Umm, not saying that. But they look very similar.
          I have had lots of luck with Simons. They have great delivery and returns if it’s not as expected.

          1. Thanks! I know Simons very well, I’m originally from Quebec City where Simons is an institution, even my grandmother used to shop there! I checked and although this shirt looks nice, I was looking for a navy on cream stripes, which they don’t have. Plus I realized recently that striped shirts are not the best for Zoom calls, the stripes turn into some type of psychedelic pattern on screen, I will keep my striped shirts and scarves for when I return to the office I think!

  14. I’ll have to give this shirt a try. My current favorite is from LL Bean but it’s 3/4 sleeve, so it’s sitting in my closet right now and waiting for warmer weather. I wonder if the Saint James bretons just aren’t made for the washer and dryer, as Europeans don’t seem to wash their clothing nearly as often as Americans do. But at their price, you’d think they’d hold up for a good long time. At the price of these Amazon tops, if I have to replace it in a year but I loved it while I owned it, it’d be worth it.

    1. L.L. Bean seems to have (temporarily, I hope) stopped carrying those 3/4-sleeve French sailor shirts. I have owned many over the years. I ended up buying a striped pima one that received high ratings. Seems nice enough and has long sleeves, but the boatneck on it is slightly strange IMHO. Still, it’s a pretty good value for 100% cotton. I haven’t bitten yet on a St. James or Breton Company “mariniere,” but one of these days . . . I’ve also taken to washing everything in cold water and air drying on a rack and then tossing in the dryer on low for a few minutes just to soften it back up. The Laundress has a lot of great products, both for washing and touching up. Highly recommend.

  15. Thank you for sharing this! I am always on the hunt for the perfect French striped t-shirt and have experienced the shrinking, shredding, dulling of expensive shirts just like you described. I’m also not a small girl, so it’s helpful to find new resources. I just popped on to Amazon and ordered. Can’t wait.

  16. My eyes popped when I saw all those colors! I try to go with other retailers before shopping Amazon, but I haven’t seen any of those options elsewhere.

  17. My all-time favorite Breton is a heavyweight cotton one from LL Bean. The fabric is 100% Peruvian cotton and has a texture and heft. Not made any longer, of course. I do have multiples and keep a search set on ebay for more. Obsessed!

  18. Putting this one on my list to try! Interesting Boden comparison and it made me think of something – I have a 6yo and there are a number of dresses on Amazon that are Boden dupes. Similar or almost identical prints and styles, but significantly cheaper. I haven’t bought one yet because I love Boden and the Amazon ones feel a bit like plagiarism. But maybe not? Is it possible that they’re made in the same place and rebranded (ala brand-name Cheerios vs. store-brand Toasty Oats)? I welcome any insight on this! (Amazon examples under the ‘Vikita’ or ‘Hileelang’ brand)

    1. It’s probably plagiarism. You can’t patent or copyright clothing designs, so there is free range to copy them and sell cheaper versions. Shein is notorious for this; it wouldn’t surprise me if retailers on Amazon are similar.

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