The fabric behind the Breton Top – and why it’s amazing.

The fabric behind the Breton Top – and why it’s amazing.

The first thing I noticed when pulling the Les Sublimes Breton Top from its package was that the fabric was unlike any other I’d worn. It was firm but not abrasive – it was warm but breathable – it felt soft on the skin but crumpled stiffly. It was a paradox, and it wore beautifully.

I had to know more about this fabric. Of course I could read the tag and see it was cotton – that wasn’t difficult. But I wanted to know more about why the maker had chosen to craft it exactly this way. Why this knit? Why this feel? So I dug more into the history of the Breton Stripe.

France Today gives some great detail on the original French Navy breton tops from the 1800s:


A genuine Breton sweater is knitted on a circular loom with pure, double-twisted sheep’s wool. The resulting extremely tight stitch made it resistant to both wind and cold. Wool has always been highly sought after by seamen for retaining warmth even when wet. The wool’s lanolin adds a touch of waterproofing to keep sailors warm and dry at sea.


Only a few companies today make Breton Tops to the original specifications, and of course are all made in France. Les Sublimes actually crafts their Breton Top in Bretagne, France – where the Breton Stripe was born. The factory (Grammatico) has been in family operation since 1965 and is proudly the last factory to produce authentic Breton Stripes. Les Sublimes’ Breton Top is 100% cotton, but feels authentically original with its tight-woven fabric that is beautifully high-quality.



So there you have it – my biggest question, answered! The fabric is woven this way because this is the way it was meant to be. Quality, craftsmanship and tradition. Delving deep into every aspect of this shirt has given me such a genuine appreciation for every stitch and design element. After all, it’s been in the making since its origins in 1858. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!




Want a classic Breton Top? Check out French company Les Sublimes here, and get 10% off any item in the shop with code PETRA10 until October 6, 2018. #partner

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