‘Tis the season! Turtleneck season, that is.
It’s probably safe to say that the majority of the United States is experiencing weather where a turtleneck is suitable. You know, snuggly sweaters and hot cups of coffee (I know that’s a daily for some) or cocoa. Live in (or spending the season) in a cozier climate and still want the chic look of the normcore trend without sweating your sweaters off? Don’t fret because I’m about to share with you how to style and work a turtleneck in any climate which means you really can wear these all year round!
If you are strictly a low-neck sweater type of gal and this is your first trip into the world of turtlenecks, I’d like to give you a warm welcome! I also would like to dissolve your fear of looking like a sixteenth century queen (you know, those big ruffle necks), and tell you a little about why I love this style.
Turtle Necks You'll Want in Your Closet
Turtlenecks are iconic in a plethora of ways, but I love that it was a real icon for the women's equality movement. I know, a history lesson, some BUT turtleneck sweaters became a staple closet item for those passionate feminists that really propelled us forward in the movement and in fashion. A well known look that greatly boosted this style's popularity is Audrey Hepburn's turtleneck take on the normcore trend in a monochromatic dancing outfit in the 1957 film "Funny Face." An oldie, but goodie. Who doesn't admire Audrey Hepburn anyway?
So, let's get started. Here I'm going to cover a few basics: how to wear a turtleneck with jeans, in the winter, as a sweater, as a dress, and with a scarf.
How To Wear a Turtleneck With Jeans
Thanks to Audrey’s basics (the sleek black turtleneck, black skinny jeans, and matching penny loafers) there are so many outfits to build from that one look alone.
If the monochromatic Audrey look isn’t your go-to for winter, check out this outfit above. She is rocking a long sleeve turtleneck bodysuit with denim high waist “mom” jeans rolled at the bottom, a thick belt, and shiny black pleather heeled boots. This look can be changed by adding red heels (check out some of my OOTD blogs to see my favorite red heels), some pretty red lipstick, and a felt beret if you’re up to channeling your inner sexy French girl with only a couple accessories. (Psst! If you don’t have a beret, tie a bandana in your hair instead!)
Don’t be afraid to wear a camel colored wool-blend trench coat (see next image), or your favorite color/ pattern, and add finishing touches with statement earrings and belt for a chic Instagram worthy cooler weather look! Realistically though, the jeans that can be worn with a turtleneck is endless. Try a strong flare to bring a retro aspect to the turtleneck. Maybe you have a favorite pair of colored skinny jeans in your closet, or a cute pair of overalls- YES I said overalls. The turtleneck is like your favorite basic t-shirt that goes with everything.
How To Wear A Turtleneck In The Winter
Turtlenecks are mostly seen during the cooler months because they help keep us warm! They are so fashionable to wear beneath a jacket, a vest, a cardigan, and a sweater. It gives your look an extra layer. During the winter you can layer your turtlenecks underneath and above other clothes!
If you look at the image above, she is wearing a chunky long sleeve turtleneck beneath her coat. She has pulled the neck above the collar of her coat, and her sweater sleeves past the cuff of the jacket sleeves. Isn’t it amazing?
Another layered winter look often seen is by placing a tighter fit turtleneck underneath a lower neck cut. You can have a really cool peek-a-boo party happening on your neck. Similarly, you can achieve a like look if you’re into the collared sweater style (you know, a button up collared shirt beneath a sweater) if you wear a turtleneck beneath a crew neck sweater. I like to have my take on this look by wearing a chambray or white cotton collared shirt beneath a chunky sweater and pull the collars up. Depending on how large the actual turtle neck aspect of the sweater is you could fold down the collar or keep it straight up for a fun “undone” look that would pair wonderfully with a messy bun, skinny jeans, and booties. If you wanted to pull from the “dad” look, add a pair of chunky white sneakers. If you’re really going for 80’s street style add a fanny pack on the waist to give some form to the sweater. (Fanny packs are making their way back!)
How To Wear a Turtleneck Sweater
A chunky knit, cropped turtleneck sweater like this is an easy piece to wear. Here you see it paired with high waist mom jeans, but you could make it sweat and seasonal by partnering it with a corduroy or suede skirt! Try adding a pair of colored tights and a scarf that has similar colors to add more color and brightness. Bring a little happy to those cold and dreary winter days, right?
There are several opportunities to add an abundance of textural elements to a look with other apparel items. A fashionable way to incorporate texture to a turtleneck sweater is with a leather skirt, which would add an extra layer to the outfit. (You can't have too many layers when it's chilly outside!)
If you like the layered look, try wearing a turtleneck sweater underneath a slip dress or a pair of overalls! Yes, I know I talked about overalls earlier, but they're that great and this would even work with overall pants, overall shorts, and overall skirts!
How to Wear A Turtleneck Dress
Lets talk about turtleneck dresses. There is never a time that isn’t a good time for a turtleneck dress (90°F or more and you’re running a marathon, I suppose). But seriously, if you don’t have one be sure to treat yourself to one. There are a ton of ways to dress up (or down) in a turtleneck dress.
A turtleneck LBD (Little Black Dress) is a great option if you’re wanting that sexy or sleek look but also want to keep warm on those chilly girl’s night out or a date! Wear your favorite pair of colored pumps or strappy heels. (Patterns, glitter, and studs not to be excluded!)
An oversized turtleneck dress can be pared with some black opaque tights and thigh high boots with a faux fur cape draped over the shoulders is a way to be cozy and warm while still being chic! If the tights aren’t in your plan, a simple oversized turtleneck sweater dress and boots (like you see above) will do the trick! Pair with ankle booties if you’re wanting to show some leg or over the knee boots are fashionable! Check out my Long Sweater with Red Boots OOTD post or my Neon Sweater Dress Outfit with Black over the knee boots for more examples!
I would like to mention that there is an abundance of cocktail dressed that have turtleneck cuts that are made with thinner material that breathe better than the average sweater dress. This makes the turtleneck dress an all-year wardrobe piece- AND there are also sleeveless turtleneck dresses that are incredibly flattering. This is my favorite way to wear the turtleneck in the summer because. Varied lengths provide a nice touch of skin and hardcore lady boss vibes when you dare to bare those shoulders!
If you like the look of a turtleneck dress but want the shoulders not exposed- wear it over a tunic for a faux vest look, or pair it beneath your favorite cardigan or jacket. Lets be honest for a moment… not much is more annoying than when you put a jacket or cardigan over a long sleeve and your sleeve bunches up and is stuck at your elbow. It’s the worst, and the sleeveless turtleneck helps avoid that dilemma.
How To Wear A Scarf with a Turtleneck
Lets talk about scarves. There are so many types of scarves, that come in so many types of material, with so many patterns, in so many lengths, and so many shapes- you get the picture, right? Lots of scarves means lots of options.
Ladies, it’s okay to wear a scarf with a turtleneck. Yes, it may get warm so maybe save this one for those cooler days. Don’t you love this look though? She is wearing a cream chunky knit turtleneck sweater with a camel colored skirt. Her scarf pulls the color of her skirt and adds some black plaid stripes to the look and it is adorable! Where would you wear a look like this? Girls day out? To lunch? To a family dinner? A date? Add some boots, maybe some legwarmers, you’ve got yourself an adorable fall outfit.
Something that I love about the scarf, is it helps take up space. If you’re wearing a blazer or jacket with a turtleneck and need that gap between the jacket and neck filled a cute scarf is a perfect way to do that. It can add extra texture, or an extra color element to your look. Scarves create a perfect opportunity to give your look that extra pop! Don’t forget a bag that compliments your outfit!
Don't be afraid to wear a turtleneck with shorts or a skirt, either. You can see how I style a turtleneck sweater with a denim skirt in my Mustard Sweater Outfit. They are so versatile year round. If you don't have any turtlenecks in your possession yet, I suggest finding a tighter fit black turtleneck, a chunky knit cream or oatmeal colored turtleneck, and perhaps a classic knit gray turtleneck to start! These earthy neutrals make building outfits much easier!
There are a ton of ways to style these. Comment below to tell me how you like to wear your turtlenecks! What do you think?