Looking sharp and staying warm are two objectives that are often mutually exclusive. A fitted blouse and a pencil skirt aren’t going to give you the same level of comfortable warmth you’d receive from a flannel pajama set, and flannel pajamas aren’t exactly what you want to give your next presentation in.
However, there is one article of clothing that sits squarely at the intersection of professional appeal and day-off coziness, and that’s the classic turtleneck. Add one to your rotation, and you’ll find yourself looking sharp and staying warm throughout the fall season.
What makes turtlenecks for women so different from other fall layering essentials is the silhouette. Other women’s sweaters that end below the neck, like crewneck sweaters and v-neck sweaters, have a fundamentally more casual appearance. But because the turtleneck advances to just below the chin, it creates a striking silhouette that frames the face and appears more formal without being a formal piece of clothing itself. It’s this unique framing device that makes the turtleneck such a valuable tool for creating a sharp look without going to the trouble of wearing a formal dress.
Another aspect that helps explain the turtleneck’s elevated status is its appearances in literature, history, and cinema. Although it was originally a piece of clothing designed for sailors and working men, it was adopted by young, urban intellectuals in the middle of the 20th century, which in turn made it a favorite of beat writers and jazz musicians. But for all the appeal those mid-century bohemians gave to the garment, it was nothing compared to the chic factor bestowed to the turtleneck once Audrey Hepburn began wearing it as a personal uniform, on-screen and off.
Of course, all this talk of its aesthetic appeal and history is just one part of the equation. We wouldn’t be talking about the turtleneck in this context if it weren’t warm, which it most certainly is.
Foremost among the factors that give the turtleneck its unique insulating powers is the same aspect that makes it such a visually striking piece of clothing: that rolled neck (or mock neck). It’s not difficult to explain how this makes a difference: by covering the neck, which is among the most sensitive parts of the body to cold, the turtleneck provides extra warmth where it’s needed the most (particularly if you choose to go without a scarf).
Then there is the diverse variety of fabrics that you can expect a turtleneck to be knitted from. There are soft Supima cotton turtlenecks that you can count on wearing during the first days of autumn, the wool turtlenecks you can bundle up with as it gets cooler, and the cashmere and chunky cable knit varieties you’ll want to keep close as winter advances.
There are almost unlimited ways that you can wear a turtleneck in professional contexts. The beauty of a turtleneck is that it is one of the few items of clothing that pairs with jeans just as well as it does with a pencil skirt and a pair of pumps.
However, all this talk of the turtleneck’s inherent versatility will be for naught unless you know where to start. If you’re just now beginning the process of searching for a turtleneck you can wear professionally, we’d recommend that you start by selecting a turtleneck in a solid color that is knit from mid-weight wool. The solid color will allow it to be more easily paired with professional clothing, while mid-weight wool will provide warmth without causing you to feel too warm in an overheated office.
As mentioned, turtlenecks are so great to transition between seasons. They’re wonderful to layer under a vest in the fall because they’ll keep your neck warm and help keep the rest of your core warm as well. They also happen to look amazing with a fleece or jacket, as well. In the winter, they are great under a few layers, and they’ll work right into spring. Typically, you don’t wear turtlenecks in the summer. However, if you take a camping trip to the mountains, you might want a turtleneck to wear in the evenings and early mornings to keep you extra warm!
It might be shocking, but everyone looks great in a turtleneck. Since turtlenecks come in so many colors, you can always find a color that suits you, no problem. The sleek lines of a turtleneck are great for so many body types too. However, the most important thing is that you love how you look. So, if you aren’t sure about turtlenecks, give one a try! You might be surprised at how great you feel while wearing it.
As mentioned, turtlenecks come in so many different fabric types. You can go with a cozy turtleneck sweater. You can get something in cotton that will be more breathable. You can even find wick-away thermals for snow sports that have turtlenecks to protect your neck. It comes in so many other fabrics too, but the most important thing is you can find a turtleneck that will suit your needs and likes.
If you’re looking to play it safe, a turtleneck is a great option. Meeting the parents? Going to a job interview? Headed to happy hour? A turtleneck is a great option to wear for any occasion. It’s modest, classy, and sleek. So, if you’re not sure about the formality of a meeting, and you’re wanting to make a good impression, the turtleneck is something you can wear comfortably in formal and informal settings.
If you like wearing accessories, a turtleneck is a great option to wear with your favorite accessories. It’s the perfect base for necklace layering. It also looks equally great with stud earrings and dangly earrings. If you like headbands, they are a great complementary piece to a turtleneck. Turtlenecks also go well with almost any kind of boot. Turtlenecks are a great way to show off all of your accessories.
Let’s face it. Fall and winter weather can be really unpredictable. Layering can often be your best option if you aren’t sure how the weather is going to turn out. Turtlenecks can be the perfect classy base layer for your layering. Put on a turtleneck, a fleece, and a warm jacket over the top. You can add a hat, gloves, and boots as well. If it is super cold all day, you can change out your jackets if needed. If it warms up, your turtleneck will keep you cozy but not too hot without a jacket.