Gone are the turtlenecks worn to school for picture day. The sartorial staple that swings in and out of style has now been given the modern edge that allows it to transcend time.
Despite their recent popularity, turtlenecks actually date back to the 15th century. The most iconic predecessor to the modern-day turtleneck was a high-neck knit first worn by fishermen to keep warm on the British Isle of Guernsey — the Guernsey sweater. In addition to these seafarers, naval officers and polo players were also seen sporting a variety of turtlenecks for many years. Now on racks everywhere, this cozy investment piece can channel your inner Audrey Hepburn or Steve Jobs and also be the stylish answer to your desperate queries for fall outfits.
In this season’s collections, turtlenecks appeared on the runways, announcing their return for the colder weather. Rendered in monochrome or prints, the high-neck knits featuring exaggerated collars have mainly been worn in the traditional sense this season as seen at DKNY and Stella McCartney.
Zara’s striped polo-neck ($30), monochrome polo-neck ($40) or patchwork sweater ($60) in neutral colors can be worn alone without any layering. The turtlenecks then stand out and become the focus of the entire outfit.
The simple cable turtleneck in white also goes well with just about anything. J.Crew’s Cambridge cable-knit ($98) hugs the waist yet holds a relaxed fit to give you the illusion of an elongated torso. Pair with a skirt or flared pant for a standout look. A fuzzy, black sweater goes well with faded ripped jeans for a casual, nonchalant look. Brandy Melville’s Mabel model is the perfect piece for $42.
A high-neckline mini dress from BCBGMaxAzria is great for formal occasions, as it provides a sophisticated and mod New York look ($118). For a chilly yet fancy night out, ASOS ribbed sweater dress complete with a high neck also adds a touch of understated elegance ($43).
Turtlenecks are not only great for keeping warm, but they also provide a streamlined and sleek effect when they are worn in a tight-fitting and thin knit. Focus on the cut, fabrication and proportions for a snug fit like those at Mara Hoffman. Zara’s openwork sweater in brown or grey marl provides the perfect layer for just $40.
October can present a contradiction when it comes to fashion. Although some people hate giving up their summer staples, many are excited to delve into the untouched portions of a closet that hide away fall and winter clothes. Transitioning into autumn entails balancing an outfit into one that both accentuates some details and covers others. The turtleneck is an extremely versatile piece that can be worn as such, so embrace the autumnal mood and stay warm.
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