Release the Turtleneck From Its Shell!
Many a day I spend assessing sweaters with clients- it is a huge category. Not to overstate it, but when a client starts gathering, she’s gone for a while – gone on a search-and-find involving closets, cubbies, cedar chests, boxes, bins and basements!
Once gathered, we break it down by style so we can assess for fit, flattery & function.
The turtleneck category is usually the first victim. The reason is simple – I ask the telling question – when was the last time you wore a turtleneck? The usual answer – when I went skiing! And when was that? 10 years ago. That is why the ‘victim’ reference – because the usual consequential action is the dreaded purge!
Funny thing though…the one or two that make the cut, survive the dumpster and get reintroduced to the wardrobe, are the black ones! No surprise there. Face it; the iconic black turtleneck has a strong, sleek presence. It hugs your body, your arms and your neck, accentuates your face and gives the illusion of a long lean frame, what’s not to like?
Today’s turtlenecks are in fact sleek, stylish and sophisticated. Gone are the days of ribbing that created uneven vertical lines around your bust line. Yes, as a teen we wanted uneven vertical lines so it looked like we had boob-ettes, nowadays we certainly are not looking to over accentuate the boob-ettes, so over that!
The turtlenecks of yester-year first emerged in the late 1800s, as an undergarment worn by college athletes and, later, the military. They have stood the test of time periodically rising and falling.
We tend to remember those who wore them more than any other article of clothing except perhaps the little black dress, think Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. But oh yes, it was Audrey again doing her modern dance in “Funny Face” while donning those long black sleeves and that sky high turtle! Some people just look memorable in anything!
In the 60’s Pierre Cardin and YSL made menswear history by pairing the turtlenecks with suits, simply dashing.
Then of course there was Gloria Steinem who made a statement by just showing up, turtleneck or no turtleneck.
Over the years it took on descriptions such as sexy (think sweater girls – did I just say weather girls) and preppy (think Camelot) and suave, think Bond, James Bond.
Here are a few of today’s recognizable turtles that come top of mind. Be sure to add your 2 cents at the bottom if I have missed any notables!
Steve Jobs – Apple co-founder – a no nonsense kind of guy – wore black…no surprise there.
Will Farrell – Anchorman – a total nonsense kind of guy – wore white – no surprise there either.
Samuel Jackson – too cool for words – wears black – accessorizes it sometimes with an eye patch!
The Monkees – white of course – seriously they called themselves the Monkees.
Snoop Dog – always accessorizes it with cool shades – however often seen topping it with a Mr. Roger’s cardigans – can you spell oxymoron?
Other lovers of turtlenecks – Princess Kate, Liam Neilson, Colin Furth, Dylan McDermott, Molly Ringwald, Cyndi Lauper and of course Barbara Streisand – only in black!
There are pros and cons to turtles, but quite frankly it’s personal! Some like to be toasty, some could cook their own toast from the heat they emit. Some like to cover their neck, some barely cover their cleavage. Some like to be creative with layering, some prefer not to think about getting dressed. Some like to fuss about what to wear, some couldn’t care less.
My feelings…everyone should own a black one! Simple, once and done. The only decision now is what fabric, what weight and what price point?
Here are my favorites so far this season and I know it’s early but if it hits the mark – stop the madness – just buy it!
A refined jersey knit shapes a wardrobe-staple turtleneck. The fabric here is body shaping, cool, comfortable, non-itchy, sleek, and perfect for layering. Are those enough reasons? Here’s more: machine wash warm, air dry. Seriously this is one of those items that the cost-per-wear (and yes it is pricey for what you will term as ‘just a turtleneck’) however why have several when you only really need one fabulous one! http://bit.ly/1oSRBZy
If you remain a rib girl – meaning you just won’t don a turtleneck unless it has that classic vertical ribbing, this ones for you. Why? Because ribbing doesn’t have to add volume in all the wrong places – this is ribbing with purpose, it’s there for detail, not to take over the style!
Sleek texture and a streamlined silhouette define a turtleneck sweater cut from a lightweight fabric, blended with a hint of cashmere. Hand-wash cold, dry flat. http://bit.ly/1o0vHc1
For the purists, or non-menopausel women, who prefer wool – here you go! Fine-gauge merino wool imbues a classic turtleneck sweater with next-to-skin softness. Merino wool; dry clean http://bit.ly/1uE6hRT
For those of you who just want to try the trend but don’t want to invest in the trend – here’s the $39.00 option. An essential turtleneck is layer-ready with a lean, curve-hugging silhouette. Raw edges at the neck and cuffs are a casual touch. 95% modal, 5% spandex. http://bit.ly/1y9wdre
Shop on, but before you do…edit and revise. Don’t just add more sweaters to what you already have. Do a cleanse, it will do you a world of good, and seriously there are lots of people in need when the temperature drops. Be kind, and donate. Our needy neighbors will appreciate the sweaters way more than your cedar closet!
Doreen Dove empowers women to use style as a tool to take strategic control of their image. She is an image consultant, personal stylist and professional speaker. Her extensive background in all aspects of retail has uniquely qualified her to work with women of all ages and professions, coaching them to personal style success. www.DoreenDove.com
Book a complimentary Boost Your Image Breakthrough Session with me. We’ll chat about buying the perfect trench! Then we’ll move on to your closet, your image and whatever else comes up! I look forward to ‘meeting’ you on the phone!