The turtleneck and blazer combination is a timeless look. Sure, it may have been popularized by Lord Snowdon and Steve McQueen, but it's a look that works remarkably well as part of a woman's traditionally tie-free tailored wardrobe.
However, pairing a turtleneck to a blazer isn't as easy as two-plus-two. To ensure its success, a variety of factors ranging from the cut of the turtleneck to the formality of the blazer can determine just how successful that pairing is. For best results, consult our handy guide below to become a pro at matching your turtlenecks with a blazer.
There is no universal cut for the turtleneck. Some options are cut closer to the body, and others tend to have a looser cut or even a tunic shape.
If you're planning to wear your turtleneck under a blazer, you'll want to opt for a turtleneck that falls on the more fitted side of the spectrum. You don't need to wear something skin-tight, but a turtleneck with a more tailored touch will be easier to wear under a blazer without billowing and can help to create a more polished look overall.
Pay attention to what material the turtleneck is made from. While we love a fuzzy, cable-knit cardigan in the middle of winter as much as the next person, we realize that it's not the best option when you plan to layer a tailored jacket over it. Instead, seek out a turtleneck made from a fabric or fabric blend that has a lighter weight, a more uniform texture and a slight sheen. All of these factors will go a long way to ensuring that the turtleneck works as part of your tailored ensemble.
A turtleneck made from a lighter weight fabric will prove useful both because it is easier to wear below a blazer and because it will prove more comfortable. Today's world of heated offices, commuter trains and cars can make overheating a greater concern than catching a chill, and selecting a turtleneck with a lighter weight can keep you from breaking a sweat before the meeting starts.
Some of the best options in this range are cotton-modal blends or turtlenecks made from 100% Supima Cotton. Another great option to consider is the 100% silk turtleneck. The unique properties of silk allow it to insulate the body while wicking away moisture, and its slight sheen adds a dressier, modern touch.
We don't have to tell you that a sleeveless mock turtleneck isn't the best candidate for pairing with a blazer. However, you'll want to pass on ¾ sleeve turtlenecks as well. Turtlenecks with full-length sleeves are the ideal choice, as they can add an extra "pop" to your look by extending slightly beyond the sleeves of a blazer, in the same way that a bit of shirt cuff would.
Of course, the turtleneck shouldn't be the outfit's only consideration. Depending on the blazer you choose, the look can have an entirely different sensibility and level of formality.
If you plan to wear the turtleneck and blazer to a business occasion, you may want to select a wool blazer in blue or black, two colors that can go with almost any turtleneck you match them to. For a classic preppy look that's well suited to an evening out or special occasion, match the turtleneck to a blue hopsack blazer with gold buttons. And if you have a holiday party on your calendar—or simply feel like being a little festive in the colder months—a velvet blazer may prove a great companion to your turtleneck.