25 Striped Tops Spring 2024 ideal for older women

Every wardrobe needs a simple white tee and one or more striped tops once the sun comes out.

To save you hours of scrolling I’ve found the best striped tops and Bretons for you, whatever your age or size. None are expensive.

This selection is curated for women from around 50 to at least 80. Although most of the retailers’ images show young women, I’ve chosen these items because we can happily wear them too. I would wear any of the tops and I am mid-seventies, short and 25% overweight.

All these tops are available online from US retailers – or other retailers who have a dedicated US site with American sizes and prices. For details click the caption below the image. Note, these are affiliate links so I may get a commission at no cost to you if you buy. Thanks!

Are striped tees still popular?

Striped tops have been very popular for years now. They are so versatile. You can happily wear them over wide linen pants for a walk along the seashore or add a jacket and step into a business meeting.

If you love the French Chic style then you will definitely want to have at least one Breton or some similar striped tops in your wardrobe. Striped tops are an iconic item in the wardrobes of stylish French women, from 5 to 95!

Scroll down below the images to learn where this style came from.

Sleeve length of these tops

I haven’t included striped vests (which are great under jackets). All these Bretons and striped tops can be worn by an older woman as the top layer – so at least a short sleeve, and no low necks, you get the idea.

If you have poor muscle tone in your upper arms, you should wear a sleeve to at least the elbow. If you are short, try choosing a short or three-quarter sleeve.

What size top to buy

I have not included fitted or very waisted tops. Most of us over 50 or so have lost our hour glass figures and so we should only wear wider cut tops unless we only ever wear them under another layer.

If you select a longer, tunic style striped top, then consider buying one size up so your tummy is not highlighted.

Striped tops at Gap

Striped tops at Lands’ End

Striped tops at Talbots

Striped tops at Marks and Spencer (US)

Striped tops at Target

Striped top at Sezane

Striped tops at Chico’s

Striped top at Old Navy

Striped tops at Macy’s

Striped tops at Boden (USA)

What is a Breton top and where does it come from?

Most retailers call most of their striped tops ‘bretons’. In fact a Breton started as a warm sweater worn by sailors. Breton means ‘from Bretagne‘ (or Brittany as we call it in English). The northern coast of France is cold. On the Riviera they didn’t need heavy sweaters!

In the middle of the nineteenth century the Breton became the official uniform of the French navy and the unofficial uniform of most men working in the docks and fishing areas along the coast of France.

The official Breton had 21 stripes. Half were white and 20 mm wide. Half were blue and 10mm wide. That’s why some people still only use the word ‘breton’ for tops with alternating wider and narrower stripes.

Just before the First World War France’s innovative style guru Coco Chanel, made the breton chic. Many of Coco’s designs were adaptations of military styles giving women more freedom of movement. She made the military cardigan chic too – you can read about this in my post on styling cardigans.

The Chanel take on the striped top is lightweight, wide cut, not fitted. Paired with wide straight pants in linen or similar. She started an unstoppable trend with this new ‘uniform’ for French women on holiday at the seaside from rugged Brittany to the sunny Mediterranean.

Today the French call the striped sweater a breton and the striped tee a mariniere (meaning ‘sailor’).

If you enjoyed this post, read this one next:

25 Floral Tops for Spring through Summer

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