The fashionista is in: The best thing you will ever wear

A heartfelt ode to the turtleneck.

The fashionista is in: The best thing you will ever wear

Sarah Harper

Turtlenecks aren’t universally beloved. “Wearing a turtleneck,” the late one-liner king Mitch Hedberg once said, “is like being strangled by a really weak guy all day.”

And that’s by far one of the more generous things that’s been said about the t-neck.

While Heddies had a point, the turtleneck has suffered an unnecessarily bad reputation.

Can I change that in one day, with one little article? No. I can’t.  But here we are anyway, so let’s talk about why turtlenecks are the best, and an incredibly key wardrobe staple for the fall, winter and early spring.

You wanna know why you think turtlenecks are uncomfortable? My best guess is that the last time you wore one, you were 7 years old and it was too tight and you had a cold. Just a guess.   

It’s time to wake up and smell the wool/polyblend. We’re adults now! It’s time to do things like eat breakfast and chat warmly with our dental hygienists. Right? Alright.

Let’s get some inspiration:


Inspiration #1: Audrey Hepburn in “Funny Face” (1957) and Beyonce in the “Countdown” music video (2011)

Wear a light-weight black turtleneck with black pants and black loafers for a dramatic, playful look.


Inspiration #2: Ernest Hemingway (and Jennifer Lawrence)

The best friends you’ll never have wear ‘em chunky. The thick wool turtleneck is practical for fishing, posing, surviving the winter, etc., etc.


Inspiration #3: Jane Fonda in “Klute” (1971)

A turtleneck minidress and thigh-high boots will make you the hottest thing since Fonda in this detective/prostitute classic.


Inspiration #4: Rihanna and young Barack Obama

They’ve been spotted wearing turtlenecks under jackets for a smart, fresh look. Both get my vote!


If you’re not convinced by these fashionistas (I hear an echo of “You had me at Fonda!”) consider the following about turtlenecks:

1. They’re perfect for outdoor workouts and bike rides, because they keep your neck warm like a built-in scarf.

2. They can be dressed up or down.  Think grungy under a flannel during the day, fancy with jewelry at night.

3. They’re versatile — any color, any weight, any brand. We’re all welcome here.

4. Worn under a v-neck sweater or a blazer, they’ll make you feel like a Nobel Prize winner.

5. A good turtleneck will grant you membership into the unofficial Cool People Club (see image).


One cautionary note before you go for it: Here at Fashionista HQ, we strongly discourage short-sleeved and sleeveless turtlenecks. You can ignore this if you’re a female district attorney or play one on TV. But the rest of us? We can’t. I can’t. It’s the fashion equivalent of running with a backpack on.  

Turtle on, y’all.