Turtlenecks have long been a staple in men’s fashion wear. They’ve been championed by actors, philosophers, and tech moguls alike. Now, they’re a symbol of sophistication and fashion awareness.
While they might seem intimidating, finding the best turtleneck for men isn’t hard. Once you figure out what you need and what fits you, you’ll start pairing turtlenecks with all kinds of outfits in chilly weather.
Are Turtlenecks in Style?
Turtlenecks are definitely one of the hardest pieces of men’s clothing to pull off.
Are they in style? Sure – when done correctly it can make you look great because it’s not a piece of clothing you often see. But when done incorrectly you can look a bit silly.
So if you’re looking to pull off a turtleneck, you need to be very cognoscente of the style rules to abide by.
How To Style A Turtleneck
Turtlenecks come in many different styles and fabrics. A thicker turtleneck in the fisherman style works great as a standalone piece in and of itself whilst a thinner turtle neck made with merino wool is a great base to layer your jackets on top of.
Casual: for a more casual yet still put together look pair your turtleneck with a jean jacket or down coat.
Our Top Five Most Stylish Turtlenecks
For those of you who are fashion-illiterate or in need of new ideas, here are some options to consider.
Editors Pick: Wahts Merino Cashmere Rollneck Sweater
The Wahts Walton merino cashmere turtleneck was our pick for the best turtleneck because it checked off all the boxes in terms of quality, style and affordability.
The sweater comes in a more traditional cut but it does lean towards a more slim fit. The design of the turtleneck is such that it is made to be layered over top with a casual or formal jacket of your choosing.
The piece itself is very soft to the touch being made with merino cashmere and comes in multiple colorways from black to a more camel color. Overall a perfect pick for a stylish, high quality turtleneck that will last you for years and will always remain fashionable.
Uniqlo: Cashmere Turtleneck
Sold in deep luxurious colosr, this no-itch cashmere turtleneck sports a classically rough rugged cut.
It offers just enough roominess without being too oversized, with a soft neck that rolls smoothly and keeps you warm up to your chin.
S.N.S Herning: Fisherman Roll Neck Knit
S.N.S Herning is a brand that’s sole focus is to create luxurious knitwear ever since their founding back in the 1920s. If you’re looking for a more traditional turtleneck ~ The fisherman rollneck is absolutely the best pick for you. You’re getting an expertly made piece from a company that has been around for over a 100 years.
This turtleneck works great as a standalone piece. Why wouldn’t you want to show off this knitted pure wool master piece?
At a very reasonable price for such a luxury item, you can’t go wrong.
J.Crew: Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater
Cashmere turtlenecks are popular for a reason. Besides being incredibly soft and warm, they’re ideal when it comes to layering because they’re breathable and lightweight.
Being the most expensive of our options, J Crew’s cotton turtleneck is available in deep dark colors such as inky navy, black and charcoal. It’s also true to size with an accurate slim fit.
For those of you who are eyeing formal attire, this turtleneck is the perfect garment to be worn under a fancy blazer or a luxurious coat.
COOFANDY: Ribbed Slim Fit Turtleneck
Turtlenecks can often be a bother to those who suffer from ultra-sensitive skin due to all the irritable fabrics.
However, this cotton-blend is a lightweight cozy wonder. Extremely soft and made with care, it resists any kind of irritation to your skin.
The obvious choice for this turtlenecks is for our readers that are regular gym goers that want to show off their physique in a subtle but sophisticated way.
Comfortably slim, this turtleneck will leave be much-appreciated for those of you who find a tight fit desirable.
As for those of you who find a tight budget desirable, you won’t have to worry about any money with its affordable price.
Slim fit yet, it still remains comfortable and unrestrictive around the neck. In addition, it’s still incredibly cozy and suitable for layering in colder temperatures.
How Did Turtlenecks Come About?
Originally popularized as sportswear for polo players in the 1860s, the turtleneck had crossed into the realm of working-class fashion when it was donned by fishermen and fellow laborers alike by the 1920s.
In fact, it was in that very decade in London when playwright and actor Noël Coward iconically wore a black turtleneck to a performance of his 1924 play the Vortex.
Coward’s pairing of the turtleneck with a blazer quickly started a fashion trend among the middle-class in London.
“I took to wearing coloured turtle-neck jerseys,” he said of his wardrobe, “….more for comfort than for effect, and soon I was informed by my evening paper that I had started a fashion.”
Following this, academics, chorus boys, and fashion-conscious intellectuals quickly began to champion the turtleneck due to its functionality and chic rejection of formal conventions.
Hollywood and the Turtleneck
Female film stars caught on. Marlene Dietrich channeled her androgyny and glamour into outfits featuring turtlenecks and men’s trousers in early photoshoots, and Greta Garbo followed suit in sharp, sultry coolness.
In 1957, Audrey Hepburn sported a sleek, black turtleneck in her film Funny Face. Set in France, it teasingly recalls real-life Parisian bohemian culture with its fashion references.
In fact, the black turtleneck was pioneered by chanson singer and popular French muse Juliette Gréco. With her frequent wear, it quickly became a signature item reserved for those free-spirited individuals who lived on the left bank in post-war Paris.
Why Are Turtlenecks so Popular?
When the 80s rolled around, turtlenecks mellowed out of style. However, with their cool practicality and effortlessness, they’ve been witnessing a huge revival in recent years.
Steve Jobs is one example. Black turtlenecks have now become synonymous with the late American investor. A figure of the turtleneck revival, Jobs proudly embodied the garment’s long history in his innovative nature.
American minimalist fashion designer Halston asserted: “Turtlenecks are the most comfortable garment you can wear. They move with the body, and they’re flattering too because they accentuate the face and elongate the figure. They make life so easy: you can wear a turtleneck to work and then afterward throw on a jacket, and it becomes very dressy. You can go anywhere you like..”
In short, the turtleneck is popular because of its dismissal of rigid norms. It asserts a coolness supported by a long history of popular male couture. It’s sleek, comfortable, and fashionable.