The Rise of the “Turtleneck”

I groaned when I heard that the Turtleneck had made a comeback for the AW2013-14 season.

Why? Because this neckline can be particularly hard to wear.

A polo neck, roll-neck (UK) or turtleneck (US, Canada) or skivvy (Australia) is a garment—usually a sweater—with a close-fitting, round, and high neckline that folds over and covers the neck.

A simpler variation of the standard polo neck is the mock polo neck (or mock turtleneck), that resembles the polo neck with the soft fold at its top and the way it stands up around the neck, but both ends of the tube forming the collar are sewn to the neckline. This is mainly used to achieve the appearance of a polo neck where the fabric would fray, roll, or otherwise behave badly unless sewn. The mock polo neck clings to the neck smoothly, is easy to manufacture, and works well with a zip closure.

Turtleneck-like garments have been worn for hundreds of years, dating back to the 15th century at least, and rose to popularity in more recent times, during the 60’s. Since the middle of the 20th century black polo necks have been closely associated with radical academics, philosophers, artists and intellectuals. Polo necks also became a big fashion for young wealthy men after they were worn by European film stars Marcello Mastroianni and Yves Montand…but the most memorable wearer must of course be Audrey Hepburn.

They’re a disaster for those with a large bust (too much material over-emphasises the chest area) and they’re not ideal if you’ve got any sort of turkey neck going on!

But the turtleneck is back and forms a statement whether it is gracing a poncho, knitwear, shirts, dresses or jackets.  I particularly like the looser stand up style shown at the “Celine” catwalk show.