Might I Suggest: The Best Turtlenecks (+ Fun Ways to Style Them)

As a team, we’re often fielding fashion-centric quandaries via Twitter, texts, and Instagram DMs, so we figured, why not make it dot-com official? Welcome to Might I Suggest, a column wherein we attempt to solve your most elusive market searches and enduring style challenges. This week, Elizabeth answers a winter fashion query from community member, Jenny:

What do we do when all we have is turtlenecks for the winter? How can we make them exciting?

Jenny Slate recently made a joke on her new Netflix special about how she is “a turtleneck as a person,” which is incidentally a feeling that most of the human population can identify with come January. By the time cold weather is really in full swing, the season’s most logical base layer, i.e. a turtleneck, has become so prevalent in our wardrobe choices that it’s essentially like we become one, which makes it even harder to think of creative ways to wear them. Below are five styling ideas I keep tucked in my turtleneck to make sure things stay interesting all winter long.

#1: Layer Two of a Kind

I remember when I first started at Man Repeller, Leandra layered two of her J.Crew tissue turtlenecks with one color peeking out from under the other and–not to be dramatic–it was life-changing, the perfect hack for adding intrigue to a stale turtle. I suggest taking it one step further by layering with a sheer turtleneck so the other is more visible underneath. I love this one and I suggest wearing it over a J.Crew tissue or jersey turtleneck.

#2: Pair With a Dickie

For the uninitiated, a dickie is basically a bib for adults, and makes for an extremely fun winter accessory. I suggest wearing a knit one like this over a turtleneck (knit dickies often have their own neck built in, so the two layers are super cozy). I like playing with the textures of dickie vs. turtleneck, i.e. pairing a ribbed dickie with a thin knit turtleneck or T-shirt turtleneck or a printed dickie (I love this one) with a patterned turtleneck for some intentional clashing.

#3: Spread on a Shirt Like Jam 

Two very simple sartorial layers that together create a perfect partnership are not unlike toast and jam, especially since turtlenecks are the ultimate neutral toast and your favorite shirt can act as the ideal jam for jazzing one up. My two shirt-over-turtle styling suggestions are as follows: 1) Button just the top two or three buttons of your shirt so the bottom flares out kind of like beetle wings (this shirt from Everlane is great for this option because it’s nice and boxy, but I also love this ribbed thick one from Uniqlo) or 2) Wear a high-neck shirt (like this) and roll the turtleneck down over the collar of the shirt so that the two become one. A perfect partnership indeed.

#4: Garnish the Neck

Wear a couple of chokers to highlight your turtle’s neck. Or! A strand of pearls. Or layers of chains. The world is your oyster and your turtleneck is the pearl. You could also use a looser turtleneck (like this one from Kule) and wear it with longer necklaces, or a tighter, stiffer-necked turtleneck (like this one from Uniqlo) and wear it with a couple of mismatched chokers or collar necklaces. I also suggest wearing bracelets on either wrist if you want to really make this a full-on jewelry MOMENT.

#5: Opt for a Dramatic Draping Situation

Elizabeth Tamkin
Land's End turtleneck and Kule sweater styled with Moussy jeansLand's End turtleneck and Kule sweater styled with Moussy jeans

Wearing a sweater as a scarf is another great way to punch up a turtleneck. Any turtleneck works here, but I love this one from Lands’ End because it’s thin and stretchy. As for the “scarf,” I like using a cardigan so the buttons peak out, however other viable options include this checkered one, this vintage fair isle one, and this striped one. Your grandfather’s closet is always a good bet, too.

Any additional ideas for making turtlenecks feel consistently exciting? Drop them in the comments.

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