I have decided that it is the day to tackle a very important fashion question. Are you, have you ever been, do you hope to be, a wearer of the turtleneck? For the last week I have been ensconced in the fashion world (well, my little fashion world, a blog for another time) and it made me realize how each individual has very definite feelings about certain articles of clothing. The turtleneck is at the top of that list. Both women and men have very definite opinions about the turtleneck. There does not seem to be much middle ground. Myself? From a young age I have enjoyed the joys of the turtleneck. I grew up in Denver and walked to school every day so I always enjoyed the practical comforts offered by the cozy neck warmth of a turtleneck. Also, it came in so many colors, styles, textures, sweaters….need I go on? To this day, when in doubt, I grab a turtleneck!
Steve Jobs, professional turtleneck wearer.
Justin Timberlake, ok not everyone should wear a turtleneck.
What is it about the turtleneck? Is it something Freudian? Does passing through the neck remind some of their Mother’s birth canal? Forgive the visual.
If it is to be believed, the turtleneck was born during the medieval ages. Knights were riding around in chainmail armor (I just adore chainmail) like they were knights or something, and as a result, developed rashes from the chafing. Chaffed necks made it impossible to turn their heads quickly during battle, which meant an opposing soldier could and would, turn it for them. A little turtleneck worn underneath solved the chaffing issue and helped make an easier “knight to night” transition if you catch my drift.
Despite its not so cool reputation, the turtleneck is one of the most wearable trends of 2013. Designers like Victoria Beckham, Donna Karan and Rochas all showed turtlenecks in their fall 2013 shows.
Victoria Beckham. Fall 2013. Photo courtesy of Victoria Beckham.
Rochas, Fall 2013. Photo courtesy of Style.com.
Remember when Sharon Stone wore the Gap turtleneck to the Oscars? It was the power of the turtleneck! Truth be told, it was probably because she was covered up, no one could see her um…ta-ta’s. Maybe it was because she dared to wear something off the rack… from suburbia. Sigh.
Diane Keaton. Huge lover of the turtleneck. Has the neck width altered so it fits her neck just so. Probably the leading authority on turtleneck wearing. She is probably president or at least an ambassador of the world renowned turtleneck club. Ok, I am pretty sure there really is a club I just don’t know what it’s called, where they meet or how many members they have. I am guessing there are thousands, probably millions of members. Just saying…Diane knows a thing or two about the turtleneck.
Diane Keaton in one of her many turtlenecks. Photo courtesy of Loreal.
A friend of mine says turtlenecks are for babies. Say what? Who would put a turtleneck on a baby? I actually tried that on my first baby, not a great idea if they are well fed. Their little necks kind of disappear and they are impossible to get on and off. I think my friend actually meant to say fashion novices, fashion “enfants” if you will. I always THOUGHT we were friends…..maybe she was trying to tell me something?
Another friend told me that the sleeveless turtleneck does not make sense. Why? Because it is winter time around the neck and summer time on the arms. She says it does not compute. Ok, see below. It’s Armani and it computes. Timeless. Classic. Elegant. Need I go on? Hello?????
Armani sleeveless turtleneck dress. Photo courtesy of Armani.
As an adult, I prefer the dark turtleneck. A good quality fabric, tight around the neck, long or short sleeve with a great skirt or pant. It can be like a uniform of sorts. Sleeveless works in the in the summer, backless for evening, cold shoulder…I could go on. Every few years or so, Ralph Lauren brings back a perennial favorite, a long, sleeveless, clingy, turtleneck dress. Perfection.
My friend Bonnie says “no one wears turtlenecks anymore, turtlenecks are for sheltered adolescent girls from Minnesota”. I was wearing one of my favorite turtlenecks at the time. My husband, Mr. Jones says “I hate them, they are uncomfortable, they make me claustrophobic. Turtlenecks on men should only be worn by nerdy professors or sea captains”. Sea captains? No strong opinion there. By the way, I don’t think Tom Hanks wore one in his new movie but he could have rocked one.
Number three daughter says “only doctors wear turtlenecks”. What? I don’t think I have ever seen a doctor wear a turtleneck. Where did that come from? I think I know all the doctors she knows and I have never seen one wearing a turtleneck. Although, they probably all SHOULD be wearing turtlenecks for health reasons. I can’t tell you those reasons but I am pretty sure 9 out of 10 doctors would agree.
Daughter number one, (you know the one) was clearly traumatized by her early foray into turtleneck wearing. She says “the ONLY time turtlenecks should be worn is for skiing”. I disagree, but given her history, I will let that one go.
Well, guess what people? THE TURTLENECK IS BACK!!! Go forth and cover thy neck!
With the holidays coming, one thing is for sure….turtlenecks for everyone!