Might I Suggest: The Summer Equivalent of a Turtleneck

Might I Suggest Turtleneck Man Repeller

As a team, we’re often fielding fashion-centric quandaries via Twitter, text and Instagram DM, so we figured, why not make it dot-com official? Welcome to Might I Suggest, the style advice column that solves your most elusive market searches and enduring style challenges. This week, Harling answers this question posed by a community member via Instagram:

What is the summer equivalent of a turtleneck?

This inquiry has prickled inside my frontal cortex with a sense of urgency ever since I first came across it, because I felt that I knew exactly what the asker meant by “the summer equivalent of a turtleneck.” Not the literal equivalent, like a long-sleeved shirt with a high neck, but rather the emotional equivalent — the non-boring basic that goes with everything and looks great every time you wear it. The top you buy in every color because it’s such a staple. The thing you put on when you want to look like you tried just the right amount. You know?

I’ve conducted some research based on tops I can already surmise I’ll gravitate toward all summer long, whether in my actual wardrobe or in my online shopping cart. Below are six possible contenders for the turtleneck of the season.

1. Entireworld Tank, Type C, Version 1

I have this tank top in the toothpaste green color and I’ve already worn it twice in the same weekend (once with ripped-knee jeans and once with a linen skirt and espadrilles). Much like a turtleneck serves the function of a winter layering piece but cool thanks to the visual interest of what is essentially a fabric necklace, this tank serves the function of a tried-and-true summer staple (see: T-shirts without arms) but cool — or rather, unique — thanks to its distinctive square neckline. It also comes in saturated variations of blue, cobalt and yellow that stray from the typical smattering of summer pastels. If you’re in the market for a more basic-in-a-good-way, white, slightly boxy tank, this one is also excellent.

2. Reformation Mason Top

If your interpretation of summer staples veers more in the direction of a crisp doily, might I suggest this top from Reformation? I acquired in in 2017 when it was decidedly the top of the summer, but unlike most garments that have “blown up” on Instagram, this one never ceases to appeal. Two years later, and I’m still excited to wear it every time I pull it out of my closet. There isn’t a pair of high-waist pants it hasn’t improved with spontaneous aplomb.

3. Vintage White Pleat Poet Blouse

The long-sleeved older sister to the above is undoubtedly something like this, which hails from a vast collection of vintage white blouses ready and waiting to be scooped on Rawson Chicago’s Etsy page. For those in the 3/4-sleeve camp, this veritable cream puff option is a sight for sore eyes (and $76 at that). I can picture either with denim shorts and penny loafers, or maybe white linen pants and strappy high-heel sandals?? It honestly goes with anything, which is why it’s a possible SUMMY TURTLE (cool if I call them that?)

4. Bonobos Riviera Short-Sleeve Shirt

Men’s short-sleeved button downs are a well-documented hero of summer wardrobes across all genders and most certainly deserve a place amongst tops in the running for summy turtle status. I like this one from Bonobos because it’s $88 and 100% cotton and machine-washable and has the perfect yellow stripes and — need I go on? If you want to up the ante, go with a brighter version; if you want to chill out, how about a subtle navy? Put any of the above over a swimsuit with kitten-heel flip flops and you’re golden.

5. Rita Row Caya Knit Polo

To me, polo shirts feel like a very true cousin to turtlenecks. They are both old-school silhouettes that transcend time and place, which I suppose is the definition of a classic garment. I have a hard time styling more structured versions of polo shirts, though, because I find they almost always make me resemble a camp counselor. That’s why I was immediately drawn to this semi-sheer number from Rayo. I love that it’s thin and ribbed and looks equally great buttoned or not. I’m very eager to wear it tucked into a midi-length silk skirt. But that’s just the first of many things that come to mind.

Any votes on which of these contenders are best fit to carry the turtleneck torch from June through August? Please deposit in the comments below, or submit your own suggestion. There’s no such thing as too many summy turtles.

Might I Suggest identity by Edith Young; Painting by Photo Josse/Leemage via Getty Images. 

Harling Ross

Harling is a writer and was most recently the Brand Director at Man Repeller.

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