No longer relegated to ugly holiday sweater parties, the turtleneck has hurtled back into the current style vocabulary with a vengeance. Fall’s latest offerings are packing plenty of handsome appeal and devil-may-care attitude à la Steve McQueen — not Santa’s workshop.
Despite boasting a decidedly uncool reputation among some style circles, the classic sweater staple is actually quite the wardrobe wonder. It not only delivers warmth in the cold winter months while subverting the need for a scarf, the newly imagined turtleneck is this season’s simplest and most striking substitute for a necktie.
As one of the most ubiquitous items of clothing on the fall runway, it was central to collections from Berluti to Costume National, Ermenegildo Zegna, Hermès, Kenzo, and many others, which were all up to their necks in freshly modern looks that had no need for a tie.
Those with a particularly strong distaste for the ties that bind will be happy to know that you no longer have to wait until casual Friday to unbutton the top collar of that dress shirt. For a more handsomely streamlined approach, the turtleneck is the business suit’s best friend for the chillier months — and it fits the bill on any day of the week. Or, skip the suit entirely. A well-fitted sweater lends an urban, trend-forward spirit to everything from trousers to denim.
Check out these five straight-from-the-runway looks that will help you cover up in style while simultaneously channeling the consummate King of Cool.
Taking a sleekly modern turn for fall, the house of Berluti applied a light hand to classically traditional suits paired with turtlenecks—no tie-ing required. But it was the nubby sweaters with wide and high necks in rich, autumnal hues that stole the show and held their own under brilliantly structured trench coats and layered blazers.
2. Costume National
The slim-fitting necks at Costume National had all the rakish attitude that you’d expect from a brand known for a bit of rock ‘n’ roll swagger. Studded trench coats and skinny trousers immediately took on a refined, wear-anywhere sensibility with the simple sweater peeking from underneath.
Meanwhile at Ermenegildo Zegna, green’s the thing with looser-necked sweaters rendered in mossy, monochromatic colour palettes amidst tonal velvets and corduroys. Backpacks, worn in the front, likewise provided even less of a reason to ever consider a tie as an accessory this fall.
The casual luxe vibe that reverberated throughout the Hermès show was the perfect setting for the iconic turtleneck that was as seamlessly paired with the proverbial suit as with a dark, monochromatic jacket and track pants combo that was surprisingly still appropriate for the boardroom—especially when styled with a briefcase.
Practically every third look that sauntered down the Kenzo runway was a turtleneck. Designers Carol Lim and Humberto Leon infused their renditions with nothing short of an extraordinary extraterrestrial bent; one even emblazoned with “UFO” lettering for the ultimate nod to outer space. Still, the end result was decidedly down-to-earth and wearable, with ribbed thumbholes and bold patterning suggesting sporty, urban flair at every turn.
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