Turtlenecks are seeing a resurgence as one of this Fall’s must-have wardrobe items. What was once a standard nondescript sweater for fall/winter has now become a full-on industry-wide trend. Celine and Jil Sander are the two fashion houses that initiated the revival. As modern and minimalist brands they heavily influenced the this season’s interpretation of the turtleneck.
Turtlenecks were first spotted in fashion history back in the 1860s. English polo players pioneered this style of sweater which was known back then as the ‘polo neck.’ From the 1920s onward, those who are perceived to be against the grain, those who are unconventional, have adopted the turtleneck. From feminists to beatniks, artists, and philosophers, the turtleneck became an iconic fashion item that expresses rebellion from the norm. It’s no wonder why one of the most visionary creative of our time adopted the black turtleneck as his own personal uniform. Who am I talking about? None other than Steve Jobs, of course. Other than Steve Jobs, the turtleneck enjoyed an iconic fashion moment when Audrey Hepburn donned it in true gamine style in the movie Funny Face.
Turtlenecks have been around for years and have been consistently worn by the masses as part of a casual wardrobe. Though they have fell out of favor for a while being associated with 80s and 90s fashion, turtlenecks are now back with a vengeance and are chicer than ever.
When and Where to Wear
The great thing about turtlenecks is that they are a wear any time, any where item – it just depends on what you wear it with, and how you style it. Turtlenecks of the 80s and 90s were of a more casual style in loose silhouettes and oversized funnel necks. The turtlenecks of the Audrey Hepburn era, it’s sleeker and more sophisticated. These two depictions of how turtlenecks can be worn is a testament to the fact that this piece can be worn for day or evening, for formal or informal occasions, and for work or play. Take a look at the first set of two images below; both ladies are clad in black turtlenecks with one outfit being for evening formal and the other daytime casual. To make the black turtleneck formal, it’s paired with a lace pencil skirt. On the other hand, when paired with jeans it instantly becomes easygoing casual. In the second set you can see how the bulk and fitting of the turtle necks make a world of difference to the formality of the total outfit. Close fitting, fine gauge, close set necks will always trump loose, textured styles in the formality stakes.
When cool weather prevails, a turtleneck is a great work wear wardrobe staple. Striped or neutral, the turtleneck can work wonders in elevating your existing office closet basics like trousers, blazers, and solid colored pumps. You can even try monochromatic work ensembles with your turtleneck for extra chic points. Opt for fitted styles since that tends to look more dressy than large, oversized silhouettes. If your turtleneck has a little slouch in it, pair with a sleek pencil skirt and sleek pumps to keep it office appropriate. Also keep the neckline in mind when selecting your turtleneck, avoid oversized necklines as well.
Your trusty turtleneck can save you from having to freeze in a cocktail dress and comes in handy to make an even summery dresses transition into fall. It also adds a downtown vibe to your glitzy evening pieces. Take a look at how Zendaya styled her grey turtleneck to perfection for a red carpet event; you can learn a thing or two from her styling prowess.
Turtlenecks are a marked upgrade from a slouchy sweater, hoodie or long-sleeved tee. Elevate your casual and everyday uniform during the fall/winter season by swapping out those wardrobe staples with a modern and fitted turtleneck. A fitted and smooth turtleneck will add some more polish to your daily looks, and give it a bit of panache.
To recap, here are a few styling reminders to keep in mind when wearing turtlenecks:
- Fitted styles and tailored fits tend to be more flattering and appear dressier. Oversized turtleneck sweater styles and loose fit turtlenecks are more casual and can be less flattering due to its tendency to appear shapeless. This same rule applies to the fit of the neckline itself of turtleneck pieces.
- When choosing the fabric of your turtleneck, remember that chunkier textures like large open weave knits appear more casual while those that have smooth body fitting materials will look more polished and formal.
- Length, i.e. where the turtleneck ends on your leg, is another factor to consider. If you’re going for an evening formal look, select a turtleneck that ends above your hipline. Anything below the hipline will be seen as casual.
How to Accessorize
Accessorizing turtlenecks are easy. The high neckline provides the perfect canvas for statement jewelry up top. Think bib necklaces or multiple layered delicate necklaces, or even a shoulder-grazing pair of statement earrings to accessorize your turtleneck with. Steer clear of wearing neck scarves since that will prove to be too much fabric around your neck area. Finish off your look with your necklace or earrings of choice; it’s all up to you.
Modern Turtleneck Styling
There are so many options on how to style your turtleneck. Allow us to shine the spotlight on 3 modern ways to style your turtleneck. Whether you prefer trendy or classic, these styling ideas can be your source of inspiration and outfit ideas too!
Commonly believed to be too racy to wear outside the house, a turtleneck worn under a slip dress is a refreshing way to style this trendy piece. The classic and conservative feel of the turtleneck balances the sexiness of the slip dress. Finish off this ensemble with either sneakers or boots.
Fur is a definite must-have for the fall/winter, add a turtleneck into the mix and you’ve hit the sartorial jackpot.
Overalls and pinafore dresses can feel too youthful and it might skew a little bit too summery. When you wear it with a turtleneck, though, it tones down the playfulness of the overalls and pinafore and makes it look more polished and grown up too.
Are you excited with this trend?
Which styling tips you’re eager to try!