Friday, November 11, 2011

How To Wear a Turtleneck

I’ve been a fan of turtlenecks for years. (See Exhibit A, at right: my 9th grade yearbook portrait.) Despite the disdain they receive from style experts, I wear turtlenecks every winter. They make unseasonable garments wearable, showcase jewelry, and, most importantly of all, keep your neck warm!

The two main complaints against turtlenecks are that they are shapeless and that they visually shorten the neck. These obstacles are easily overcome through garment choice and styling.

Two Types of Turtlenecks

Like any knit top, choose your turtleneck carefully. There are two types of turtleneck garments: those meant to be worn as an outer layer and those meant to be layered underneath.

Outer layer: Usually a thick, substantial knit.

Look for a garment with interesting detailing. The sweater on the left has slighty puffed sleeves and a subltle empire waist. The mini poncho on the right is embellished with decorative cables.

Avoid loose, shapeless, and/or plain knit pieces.

Generally, the chunkier the turtleneck, the slimmer the bottom half of your outfit should be. If you’re concerned about bulk on the upper half, choose a finer-gauge and fitted knit.

Under layer: Light, jersey knits meant to be worn under something else.

This is the garment that is vilified on What Not To Wear. Styled and layered correctly, though, it can add interest and warmth to an outfit.

Under a dress:

Under something sheer:

Under something sleeveless:

Treat the jersey turtleneck like long underwear. It shouldn’t be worn on its own. Use the outer piece to create structure.

Lengthen the Neck

Granted, I have a long neck, but even I use a few tricks to elongate my neck when wearing a turtleneck:

Add a pendant necklace (or two):

Draw the eye down with a scarf:

Layer it under a v-neckline:

Pull your hair up:

Jewelry Showcase

Use the turtleneck to its full advantage: as a canvas for spectacular jewelry. The expanse of fabric is a perfect showcase for dramatic earrings, a sparkly brooch, or a statement necklace.

Stay warm and stylish this winter!


Chrysta @ said...

Huzzah to turtlenecks! Truly thanks to your blog I started layering short/sleeveless/sheer over turtlenecks and I love how I look at feel! I'm warm, cozy and appropriately covered for the office.

My favorite are shirred mock turtlenecks and I have them in a variety of colors.

Thanks for inspiring my style! Your blog has had a hug influence on my style and I now get tons of compliments. So much I'm thinking of starting a style blog in addition to my current blog.

Have a grateful day!


Michelle {Jarrah Jungle} said...

Oh my gosh is that you!
I like the black turtle neck it's quite slimming and sleek under dresses.

Kasmira said...

Yeah, that's me! Maybe I should use that old yearbook photo in my profile!

maryeb said...

What a lovely yearbook photo. You were pretty back then too!

These are some great suggestions. I usually avoid turtlenecks because I think they look boring on me and make my neck look super squished. I now have some new options to work with. I especially like the jewelry showcase idea. Thanks.

Glenda said...

This is a great entry -- I love the advice aspect of it and would love to see more of your suggestions and teaching.

Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping] said...

They look good on you, still not convinced they work on me though. Is there a difference between a turtleneck and a polo neck or is it just a US/UK thing? Is a turtleneck just high but without the roll-over?

Your yearbook pic still looks like you, you're just a little more polished now. You had great hair then too!

Kasmira said...

I believe turtleneck DOES equal polo neck. Both have a fold-over. A mock turtleneck does not fold over.

Hannah | The Outfit Repeater said...

This is excellent! Thanks for the post, Kasmira.

I own just a couple turtlenecks, and though I like to claim myself as a fashionista, I often stare at them and can't come up with any ways to style them. They look the same every time I wear them. I see a few looks here that have sparked ideas in my head. Thanks for inspiring!

Juanita Gilbert said...

I absolutely love your "What I Wore Today" blog and I check it once weekly for inspiration. This post on turtlenecks inspired me so much! Thank you, so much, Kasmira, for being YOU!

Juanita Gilbert said...

I absolutely love your blog! This one on turtlenecks is so inspiring! Thanks for all the advice!

The Tote Trove said...

I love turtlenecks too (even if the one I sported last week was kind of itchy)! This was a really fun post. I almost didn't recognize you in your high school picture! I think it was the hair. I also enjoyed all the photos from past outfits, especially the one with the purple tights and the one with the kimono top and pointy lime shoes.

Anonymous said...

I love your past blog photos of you with platinum blond hair. I think you should go back to the blond shade. It is very striking with your skin tone. : )

Catherine said...

Style experts disdain turtlenecks? And here I've been feeling bad because I just can't wear them. I love how they look but can't stand the tightness on my neck--I blame thyroid issues. You do an awesome job with them and they obviously work for you!

Isa said...

I've always loved turtlenecks! Thanks so much for this post.

estrella said...

Great post! I'm also a turtleneck lover but I didn't think of using them to showcase jewelry. I'll try it tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

I'm lucky I have a neck that's perfect for higher collars. I've happily worn them every Autumn through to Spring since I was a kid and I tend to add two or three to my collection annually :)

I don't understand style critisim of them ( unless the wearer has a short or wide neck ). I mainly wear them for comfort's sake ( but I do love how they look on me :) ).

I'm not much of a jewellery wearer. I tend to team a skivvy ( lightweight t~neck shirt/sweater ) under a thicker V~neck or crewneck sweater and/or a jacket.

The heavier t~necks I wear with jeans.

Thanks for your insights, Kasmira :)