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30 Ways to Wear it this Summer: The Black Turtleneck

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Any fashionista knows that the black turtleneck is a wardrobe staple, but what many women don’t know is that it doesn’t have to be reserved for just cooler weather days. A turtleneck, otherwise known as a polo neck, roll-neck in the UK, or skivvy in Australia, is a garment—usually a sweater—with a close-fitting, round, and high collar that folds over and covers the neck. Turtlenecks are made in a wide variety of fabrics, ranging from cottons to poly-blends, and most often have long sleeves but don’t always in some cases. 

Young designer Timo Weiland is a seasoned vet in the turtleneck
Designer Rolando Santana uses black turtlenecks on his runway

Turtleneck-like garments have been worn for hundreds of years, dating at least to the 15th century.
Since the middle of the 20th century black  turtlenecks have been closely associated with in the world of radical academia, philosophers, artists, poets and other intellectuals. Turtlenecks also became a big fashion statement for young wealthy men after they were seen worn by European film stars Marcello Mastroianni and Yves Montand.

Yves Montand
Marcello Mastroianni 

In the United States, their adoption by Noël Coward in the 1920s turned turtlenecks into a brief middle-class fashion trend, and feminists made them into a unisex item. In the 1950s the black turtleneck became a distinctive mark of existentialists. Absorbed into mainstream American fashion by the mid 20th century, the turtleneck came to be viewed as an anti-tie, a smart form of dress for those who rejected formal wear. 

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis wearing the iconic black turtleneck
Over time it grew and as a women’s wear, it became a fad, among teenage girls, especially in a lightweight form that emphasised their figures. It was not long before Hollywood was also exploiting this image as part of the 1950s “sweater girl” look. 

Marilyn Monroe even got in on the trend

Of turtlenecks, legendary designer Halston once said “Turtlenecks are the most comfortable garment you can wear. They move with the body, and they’re flattering too, because they accentuate the face and elongate the figure. They make life so easy: you can wear a turtleneck to work and then afterwards throw on a jacket, and it becomes very dressy. You can go anywhere you like.”

Designer Halston wearing a black turtleneck
When choosing this enduring basic, look for a high quality fabric that stretches to fit the body without losing its shape. Choose fabrics such as cashmere, merino wool or even natural cotton and you will have a closet essential that you will wear with every season in years to come. An investment in quality is one that will surpass years of stylish wear. If you are already smitten, then this homage verifies your devotion. That said, if you only possess one turtleneck among the ranks of your wardrobe attire, make it as black as night. Check your neck because black is back.

LOOK 1: Mallary Marks earring, Balmain blazer, Rick owens turtleneck, Etro shorts, Casadei heels
LOOK 2: Oscar de la Renta earrings, Ralph Lauren turtleneck, Valerie Nahmani necklace, Carmen Marc Valvo skirt, Christian Dior heels
LOOK 3: Dolce & Gabbana headband, Lanvin necklace, Viktor & Rolf turtleneck, Kenzo skirt, Sergio Rossi heels
LOOK 4: Irene Neuwirth earrings, Shourouk necklace, Diesel turtleneck, Tory Burch cuff, Jeffrey Campbell heels
LOOK 5: Sophia Kokosalaki earrings, Erickson Beamon necklace, Erdem turtleneck, Ostwald Helgason skirt, Casadei heels

LOOK 1: Kenneth Jay Lane earrings, Matthew Williamson scarf, DKNY turtleneck, Persy cuff, DSquared2 heel
LOOK 2: Erickson Beamon earrings, Gabriele Frantzen necklace, Gfase cuff, P.A.R.O.S.H. turtleneck, Rosie Assoulin skirt, Schutz heels
LOOK 3: Givenchy earrings, Diane Von Furstenberg scarf, House of Fraser turtleneck, Hermés cuff, Hermés belt, Chloé shorts, Kate Spade shoes
LOOK 4: Express earrings, Shourouk necklace, Diesel turtleneck, Hipanema bracelet, Dolce & Gabbana shorts, Brian Atwood heels
LOOK 5: Givenchy earrings, Jewel Be Mine necklace, Ralph Lauren turtleneck, Carmen Marc Valvo skirt, Balmain heels

LOOK 1: Bijoux Heart earrings, Rosantica necklace, Michael Michael Kors turtleneck, Acne Studios shorts, Balmain heels
LOOK 2: Kate Spade earrings, Betsey Johnson necklace, J.W. Anderson turtleneck, Valentino cuff, Cédric Charlier skirt, Kenzo heels
LOOK 3: Andrea Incontri headband, Bottega Veneta necklace, Tomaso turtleneck, See by Chloé shorts, Sergio Rossi heels
LOOK 4: Aurélie Bidermann earrings, Emporio Armani turtleneck, Peter Pilotto skirt, BCBG shoes
LOOK 5: Kendra Scott earrings, Jigsaw necklace, DKNY turtleneck, Roksanda Ilincic skirt, Forzieri heels

LOOK 1: Erickson Beamon earrings, Bijoux Heart necklace, Pinko turtleneck, Isa Afren skirt, Lanvin heels
LOOK 2: Dolce & Gabbana earrings, The Elder Statesmen + Wear scarf, Viktor & Rolf turtleneck, Haider Ackermann shorts, DSquared2 heels
LOOK 3: H&M headband, Marni necklace, Pinko turtleneck, Aurélie Bidermann bracelet, Milly skirt, Luichiny heels
LOOK 4: Rosantica earrings, Alexander McQueen scarf, Bottega Veneta turtleneck, Giambattista Valli shorts, Casadei heels
LOOK 5: IAM by Ileana Makri earrings, Lulu Frost necklace, Joseph turtleneck, Kenneth Jay Lane cuff, Mason by Michelle Mason skirt, Casadei heels

LOOK 1: J. Crew earrings, Tricot turtleneck, Alice + Olivia skirt, Dolce & Gabbana heels
LOOK 2: Marc by Marc Jacobs scarf, Balmain jacket, Michael Kors turtleneck, Valentino shorts, Balmain for Giuseppe Zanotti heels
LOOK 3: Chelsea Doll earrings, Barbara Bui turtleneck, Shourouk cuff, Balmain skirt, Saint Laurent heels
LOOK 4: Bijoux Heart earrings, Bijoux Heart necklace, Victoria Beckham turtleneck, Peter Pilotto skirt, Balmain heels
LOOK 5: Aurélie Bidermann necklace, Emporio Armani turtleneck, Roksanda Ilincic skirt, Saint Laurent heels

LOOK 1: Lagos earrings, Fedeli turtleneck, Ashley Pittman cuff, Mary Katrantzou skirt, Miista heels
LOOK 2: Kenneth Jay Lane earrings, Marni necklace, Blumarine turtleneck, Kenzo skirt, Giambattista Valli heels
LOOK 3: Givenchy earrings, Gucci necklace, Erdem turtleneck, Balmain skirt, Christian Dior heels
LOOK 4: Jennifer Behr headband, Valentino necklace, Gfase cuff, Rick Owens turtleneck, Ann Demeulemeester shorts, Marni heels
LOOK 5: Marni headband, Marni necklace, Rick Owens turtleneck, Talitha Pia shorts, DSquared2 heels

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