We like to think that all clothing is ageless. However, we have to admit that some styles are more suited to certain periods of our life's journey than others. For just two examples: printed tights and skinny jeans.
But there is one article of clothing that we'd recommend to wearers of any age in a heartbeat, and that's the tried and true turtleneck. Whether you're a college student, a professional reaching middle age, or a retiree making the most of those well-earned golden years, there are myriad ways to make the turtleneck work for you. Here are a few ideas for outfits with turtlenecks that all ages will love.
Start them young with a classic turtleneck. Both boys and girls will look amazing and stay toasty warm in turtlenecks. You can get turtlenecks for babies as young as a few months old all the way up into toddler and children’s sizes. Turtlenecks are great for layering. They look super cute peeking out from under the top of a dress. They can also be layered under a sweater or jacket.
Keeping your arms and neck warm can be great for wear in everyday outfits. However, turtlenecks can also be worn for activities like skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. There’s nothing worse than a cold kiddo in the snow. So, make sure they’re sporting their turtlenecks next time they need some extra warmth.
Turtlenecks might seem a little old school to 14-18-year-olds. They find a lot of things “cringe” these days, but a sleek turtleneck is nothing to cringe about. If they have an event for school where they don’t want to look too dressy, but they want to look polished, a turtleneck with a pair of jeans is a great solution.
If they’re competing in or attending a more formal event (academic decathlon, science bowl, a job interview, etc.) that same turtleneck will pair great with dress pants or a pencil skirt. They’ll look polished, mature, and confident. So, as much as they might want to, they shouldn’t rule out the versatile turtleneck.
Figuring out what to wear on the college campus in today's world can be a challenging experience. Many students prize comfort first and foremost, which explains the popularity of bookstore-bought sweatpants and sweatshirts emblazoned with school colors and mascots.
We're not advocating for a formal wardrobe by any chance (and if you wore a school uniform from K-12, the ability to finally make your own clothing choices in college may feel like a breath of fresh air). But it's still possible to put more effort into your look and create a sharper appearance without sacrificing comfort or ease.
One of the best aspects of the turtleneck is the low level of maintenance needed to wear one. You won't have to worry about it appearing wrinkled thanks to its knit nature, so no ironing before class is required. For an outfit that's guaranteed to look good and get you in a desk before roll call, simply throw it over a t-shirt tucked into your favorite jeans and finish off the get-up with a pair of your favorite and most comfortable boots.
Dress code ambiguity is something that extends well beyond the college years. The paradox of today's more casual workplace is that an environment where more casual dressing is encouraged also makes for an environment where there are fewer rules to follow—and greater room for error.
That's why we like to advocate for the turtleneck as an essential piece of the middle-aged professional's wardrobe. The turtleneck is remarkable in its ability to be dressed up or down and can form the foundation of a polished, professional look without appearing too dressy.
For this look, consider wearing it over a pencil skirt or a pair of slacks, matched with pumps or professional flats. Look for a solid-colored turtleneck that is knit from finer, mid-weight wool, which serves to formalize its appearance and ensures that you won't find yourself sweating in an office where the thermostat is set just a little too high for comfort.
Congratulations: you've paid your dues and entered the golden years, which should be filled with rest, relaxation, and the occasional visit from the grandkids. During this time of well-earned freedom, dressing should be about comfort and practicality—but that doesn't mean you shouldn't present your best self.
The turtleneck provides an easy way to fulfill both objectives. To experience maximum comfort, look for a loosely cut tunic in a mock neck style. This is the piece you'll reach for again and again on sunny mornings that begin with a warm cup of coffee, a crossword puzzle, and an agenda that's blissfully requirement free.
Of course, you'll still have the occasional event that requires more elevated dress—for instance, the high school and college graduations of the aforementioned grandkids. When this time comes, look for a long-sleeve Supima cotton turtleneck that you can slip under a blazer or wear with a cardigan.