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Would You Wear… a Turtleneck?


Turtleneck on the Anna Sui runwayEmma Roberts at The Row wearing a turtleneckTurtleneck on the Christian Lacroix runway
From left: On the runway at Anna Sui, Emma Roberts in The Row, On the runway at Christian Lacroix

I remember turtlenecks in the nineties – plain, dumpy, perhaps neon velvet – certainly nothing I would care to think about now. Like many trends passed and dismissed, however, the turtleneck has become revamped, both in the ways we wear it and in the way it looks.

Embellishments such as puffed sleeves, ruffles, or the fitting of the bodice make the turtleneck significantly more stylish, intriguing and wearable than it was a few years ago. Changes in the way a turtleneck is adapted into an item of clothing are also apparent. A turtleneck mini dress like Emma Roberts’ is a sophisticated way to show off skin, and a sleeveless turtleneck like the one Kristin Cavallari wore to one of Bebe’s collection previews is sexy and simple.

The key to pulling off a turtleneck is the way you wear it. Shorter, sleeker, or flirtier skirts make the look chic and pretty instead of plain or dumpy. Breaking the look up is also important, especially for us girls with larger chests. While this may just involve a print or two thrown into the look for some, turtlenecks are utterly unwearable for others unless worn creatively, such as under a dress or a vest. This breaks up the top visually and prevents one from looking larger than necessary or lumpy.

Check out a couple of looks inspired by the runway below.

Outfit #1: Broken Up

Turtleneck outfit

Product Information: Turtleneck: Balenciaga, Floral Dress: Miso, Brown Tights: Relish, Strappy Sandals: Michael Antonio, Gold Bracelet: Kate Spade, Flower Earrings: Old Navy

Outfit #2: Surprisingly Chic

Chic Turtleneck Outfit

Product Information: Keyhole Turtleneck: Gloria Vanderbilt, Suede Booties: Charlotte Russe, Earrings: Amrita Singh, Floral Miniskirt: Miss Selfridge


Would you wear a turtleneck? Do you find the look sleek or does it just send you on horrible flashbacks of your childhood? Let me know in the comments!

Posted on on March 2, 2010 / Filed Under: Would You Wear? / Tags: , , , , ,

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50 Responses to “Would You Wear… a Turtleneck?”

  1. 1
    March 2nd, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Thanks for providing tips for us girls who have a larger chest. I know that I will keep them in mind. I really like turtlenecks – and this post! :)

  2. 2
    March 2nd, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    My mom gave me a couple turtlenecks for Christmas… while I love the colors on them, they’re definitely the lumpy variety :(

  3. 3
    March 2nd, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    I wear turtleneck already. it’s always a classy. since Greta Garbo. in Hungary we call it garbo :-)

  4. 4
    March 2nd, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    I only like them when worn very classy and sleek- it has to give off a sexy undercover agent/spy vibe rather than the kindergarden look.

    So, for me only with something formfitting to make up for the lack of skin and some fierce heels and definitely not like the first outfit- that *does* give me flashbacks to my childhood. Argh, how I hated those things.

  5. 5
    March 2nd, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Heck yes, I wear turtlenecks all the time. Mine are all very fitted and cute. I’m wearing a short puff-sleeved one right now, in fact! They’re great for layering dresses over too.

  6. 6
    March 2nd, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    I think I might have to pass on this trend. Besides, with spring approaching, it’s hard to find the appeal in winter sweaters!

  7. 7
    March 2nd, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    I like black turtlenecks, they can look really classy if you dress them up right

  8. 8
    March 2nd, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    I was never able to wear turtlenecks, even when I was a kid. I always felt really hot and constricted lol.
    I can’t even wear a lot of normal tees because the neckline is too high …
    I had to wear a high neckline for a bridesmaid dress a few years back (UGH!!) and it was horrible. I was uncomfortable the whole night, and I felt like I looked like a fool.

  9. 9
    March 2nd, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    As a girl cursed with a very round face, I tend to avoid wearing turtlenecks as they inevitably make my head look like a beachball. =P

    However, it works on occasion if the turtleneck itself is very form-fitting (and preferably black), and the streamline quality of the garment is broken up by a long attention-grabbing dangly necklace or bright, narrow scarf, loosely draped. ^_^ A flattering hat to complete the ensemble helps too.

    But the second outfit is VERY chic… I love the twist of the keyhole design, and the skirt is flirty and feminine and totally wearable.

    <3 from

  10. 10
    March 2nd, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    lol I never knew they went out of style…I love wearing black and gray turtlenecks, I always thought they were so classy.

  11. 11
    March 2nd, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    I think that turtleneck’s look classy, and sleek, and I love them… but I can’t wear them. I feel constricted and like I’m being choked. I love them, but I just never feel comfortable in them! :(

  12. 12
    March 2nd, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    I never thought about wearing turtlenecks! but this is such a good idea…unfortunately, a bit too late in the season to really start wearing them now

  13. 13
    March 2nd, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    I like turtlenecks for ski trips, but I’ve never considered them to be particularly chic before. I love outfit 2 – its given me a new perspective on turtleneck potential! Nice post.

  14. 14
    March 2nd, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    I use them a lot lol, and I never thought they were out of style..
    I think they could be even sexy very tight with some jeans, boots, etc..

  15. 15
    March 2nd, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    As for me I have one in every color not a fan of them because they bother me but I still wear them during the winter time its always classic can dress them up or down

  16. 16
    March 2nd, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Well, I love turtleneck. I think is so chic (well, with the right skirt/jeans)… OMG!!! I feel in love with those Emma’s shoes…

  17. 17
    March 2nd, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    I love to wear turtlenecks to work because they make non-appropriate-for-work dresses okay! I also wear them around my boyfriend’s family because they can be cute and chic yet still modest. I hate showing a lot of skin around his little brothers and cousins (it just seems inappropriate) so turtlenecks are perfect for that!

  18. 18
    March 2nd, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    I have a dark gray turtleneck sweater that should look fine, but I always feel like it makes my face look really fat! I also have a short sleeve turtleneck that I rarely wear for the same reason. Blah!

  19. 19
    March 2nd, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    I have childhood memories of turtlenecks feeling like they were choking me. The outfits are cute, unfortunately it is already getting too warm where I am for winterish clothes.

  20. 20
    March 2nd, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    I like turtlenecks. I agree with Maya, I like them worn classy, spy like. And always formfitting. Sometimes they do look awkward because of a moderately large chest.

  21. 21
    March 2nd, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    i actually never thought of turtlenecks as a trend!
    ive been wearing them since i was little=) if its worn properly they look classy and elegant.

  22. 22
    March 2nd, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    I love turtlenecks & wear them all the time!

  23. 23
    March 2nd, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    I personally really like turtlenecks. I definitely agree with the others that say they are more of a winter trend. I like long sleeve and 3/4 sleeve turtlenecks, but for some reason I really dislike short sleeve ones. I had never thought to wear one under a dress like you show, but I really like it! I have never tried turtlenecks under dresses because I guess I had only ever seen them worn under jumper-esque dress and that seemed dowdy to me. I love how you have shown this trend!

  24. 24
    March 2nd, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    I have a super-short neck (Tyra would NOT approve) so I feel like turtlenecks only make it look shorter. I do love both outfits thougj!

  25. 25
    March 2nd, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    I have a round face just like Miss Tofu. It’s not a curse, though. It just means that I can never ever wear turtlenecks.

  26. 26
    March 2nd, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    yes..yes…and more YES! Turtlenecks are great. I have a couple turtleneck t-shirts that I wear with or in a ton of different ensembles. They are the perfect thing to tie together an outfit, and a black turtleneck can do wonders to camouflage a tummy when cleverly layered or worn with a high waisted skirt. Honestly ladies if you’ve steered clear of turtlenecks till now, get acquainted with them…try one on and you might just like it more than you thought!

  27. 27
    March 2nd, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    When I was little I always felt too constricted in a turtleneck, now that I’m older that is so not the case. I currently only own one turtleneck, but it does a great job at keeping me warm and stylish.

  28. 28
    March 2nd, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    end of story.


  29. 29
    March 2nd, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    So this has nothing to do with turtlenecks, but I just had to say that I fell in love with the sandals in outfit one. Like pure love. I need to get some now. Too bad I am low on cash :[

  30. 30
    March 2nd, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    YES!!! Turtlenecks are the bomb! LOL – especially in where I live (Toronto) woot. Its a nice way to look put together while being bundled up at the same time.

  31. 31
    March 2nd, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Turtlenecks can form a unique canvas upon which you can build your outfit. If layered properly a turtleneck will help to give you an elegant silhouette, but you have to be cautious because of the unique property of the turtleneck—the illusion of elongating the neck. In the first photograph the runway model for Christian Lacroix is wearing a herringbone necklace and this serves to highlight everything from the necklace to where the neck meets the jaw line…her neck appears unnaturally stretched. In my opinion the use of jewellery with a turtleneck would be more ideally suited to the turtleneck worn by the model for Anna Sui (top image, model at far left). If you notice the base of the turtle neck is wide, and tapers up towards the base of the jaw…a much more flattering design for a lady don’t you think?

  32. 32
    March 3rd, 2010 at 2:59 am

    yuck X(
    When I was a kid my mom made me wear them and it always felt like it was gonna kill me. I don’t like anything tight around my neck.

  33. 33
    March 3rd, 2010 at 4:13 am

    im not a huge fan of turtle necks….iv been told that i hav a slender long neck and and nice prominent collar bone so i prefer to show it of(i dnt even wear jewelry)
    but i really like the second outfit u put together(bt still dnt like turtle neck)

    do u think it would look good id i tuck a brown or black tank top with the mini skirt? i have one that look like it

  34. 34
    March 3rd, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Turtlenecks are CLASSIC! I’ve been rocking them all winter…to the ladies wanting to give it a shot, try the ones at The Limited. They’re really fitted and feel delicious, and they always have unique details and colors. Plus, they’re under $50.

  35. 35
    March 3rd, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    I haven’t consider turtlenecks as a trend either ;) They are my winter staple, but now, when spring is just around the corner, I replace them with some lighter clothes with relief. I don’t plan to wear them until september!

  36. 36
    March 3rd, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    i am soooo in lovw with the lantern skirt in the second outfit
    looks like its gonna be huge this yeah

  37. 37
    March 3rd, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    I love turtlenecks! I have a short, mid, and long sleeved one for whatever weather I might face! Victoria Secret’s online store has really cute ones that were 2/$25 last time I bought from them…and they’re nicely fitted/made as well.

    Skirt or pants they work with everything! =D

  38. 38
    March 3rd, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    I like the solid black turtle necked dress that Emma Roberts is wearing, but otherwise it’s not really my forte.

  39. 39
    March 3rd, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    It’s not that I can’t pull off turtlenecks but it’s so uncomfortable. I always feel like I’m getting a rash or being suffocated!

  40. 40
    March 3rd, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    It’s funny that there are so many negative turtleneck comments. Honestly, if you aren’t from a cold climate (AKA most of the US) you are probably not interested in turtlenecks. For the rest of us… especially a girl like me who is from the WIndy City… turtlenecks can be very sexy, and a great piece for layering! I love turtlenecks, they’re actually quite versatile and everyone should have at least 1 black turtleneck in their closet as a basic piece.

  41. 41
    March 3rd, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    like some people have said before – i never knew turtlenecks went out of style. :) i absolutely love them & find they make a great layering pieces, provided they are fitted enough.

  42. 42
    March 9th, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    Emma roberts would’ve looked even better if she had her hair down and in some curls though

  43. 43
    July 12th, 2010 at 7:06 am

    How could you wear a short sleeved turtleneck? It’s not a sweater, it’s made of cotton.

  44. 44
    March 18th, 2012 at 12:10 am

    I love the idea of wearing a turtleneck under a skirt or dress. I never tried this before and I will.:)

  45. 45
    June 14th, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I hated them as a child but love them now :)

    I prefer the lighter skivvy style and a good ol’ cashmere polo/turtleneck.

  46. 46
    January 8th, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Turtlenecks are so cool!!! They are especially great for layering since they smoothly stick to the body. Great post!!!!!!!

  47. 47
    January 31st, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    I like to layer them too :)

    When it gets cold enough to wear layers it’s usually the time I break out the t-necks from summer storage.

    My favourite combos is a brown tweed blazer over a cashmere turtleneck in black, marle grey or camel and when I’m walking or playing golf a cream skivvy under an argyle V-neck looks great and is cozy without being too cumbersome.

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