What’s the one item you probably already have in your wardrobe, that can be worn by a one month old baby as well a 90-year old grandmother and everyone else in between? A Breton stripe top, of course. Here, Fashion Director Arabella Greenhill shows us just how versatile this perennial favourite is.

It all started in Brittany, France, on the 27th March 1858. A decree introduced the now-iconic striped shirt as the French seaman’s official uniform. It even stated that the white stripes had to 2cm, and the blue for 1cm.  The style of the top was made soley or practicality; the length of the top was intended to cover the lower back of the seafarer and the top was not too loose so as not to get caught on anything during work.

It was the introduction by Coco Chanel of the striped pattern to a nautical inspired collection in 1917 that made it fashionable.  And countless designers since have had a long enduring love of the simple but chic stripe.

Over the years this stripe style was made even more popular by icons such as James Dean, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Edie Sedgwick, and Brigitte Bardot, wearing it. Just as popular today the top is now worn by style queens like Kate Moss and Alexa Chung.

The Breton stripe is iconic and timeless; an everyday, all year round staple; a classic that every woman should own (probably several actually)

Read More: the best striped tops to shop for instant Breton chic

Watch the video above for five super-chic ways to style a Breton top, but as a super quick guide, pick one of the easy options here:

1. Layer the Breton over either a plain or pattern slim-fitting shirt and push up the sleeves.

2. Tuck into your skirt and add some heels, plus sparkly earrings for a night out.

3. Go bold and wear with a clashing print. Try another stripe, a floral or perhaps a bold abstract.

4. Keep it simple but add a pop of something extra with a bright colour accessory or some leopard print,

5. Layer it over this season favourite: the skinny polo neck.

Chanel styled the Breton look with a flared trouser. How do you style yours?