The Dos and Don’ts of Wearing A Turtleneck

Categories Fashion

This ’70s favourite is back with a vengeance — and these are the five tips you need to follow to pull it off.

Do have a neck

There’s the golden rule of wearing a turtleneck: you need a long, tall neck that won’t be swamped by the jumper and make it look like you’re confined by one of those medical neck braces. Use Sesame Street as a guide — little orange Ernie with the football-shaped head and squat neck stuck to a crewneck jumper, whereas tall yellow Bert could afford to don a fetching white roll-neck.

Don’t be afraid to keep it simple

Departing from the traditional shirt and tie to accompany your suit is a big enough statement in itself, so if you’re incorporating a roll-neck into your formalwear, stick to a thin knit in dark, neutral colours — a simple, tight-fitting black or navy in a light cashmere or wool beneath a well-tailored jacket helps build a sleek, flattering silhouette.

Do go casual, too

A black turtleneck beneath a suit jacket is quite a mature, austere ensemble . . . but the recent resurgence in the popularity of the style has given rise to a new wave of designer roll-necks featuring detailing that deserves to stand alone as outerwear. Look for a print, a stripe, a pattern, or a loud colour that departs from Steve Jobs’ standard black.

Don’t forget the classic combinations

The appeal of the turtleneck lies in its simplicity — being able to throw it on beneath a jacket rather than fussing around with a shirt, tie, scarf, and the rest — so it looks great in simple all-black ensembles like a pea coat, slim jeans, and boots, or with a dark suit for a less stuffy smart-casual outfit.

Do embrace chunkiness

If the turtleneck is your standalone piece of outerwear, then work with texture — a toasty thick cable knit or rib knit, for example. Again, you need a pronounced neck to pull it off — the extra bulk doesn’t flatter no-necks, who can skip the roll-neck altogether or stick to thinner materials and lower necklines if they insist on embracing the trend.