How to Style a Turtleneck for a Timeless Look

How to Style a Turtleneck for a Timeless Look

There’s something oddly alluring about turtlenecks. Though they’ve been around for centuries, we can credit some of their timeless quality to celebs like Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, who helped make the look A Thing.1 While some might act like they’re a look that is best left on the vintage store shelves, the truth is that this style of sweater is adaptable, timeless, and oh-so-fashionable. 

That said, there’s a huge difference between wearing a turtleneck and styling a turtleneck. So what’s the best way to wear one of these pieces?

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution—just as there’s no single best turtleneck. Some are chunky and knit, and some come with dramatically oversized necklines. Still, others are actually dresses! Needless to say, fall trends and outfit ideas for turtlenecks are endless. While there may be as many ways to style a turtleneck as there are actual styles, we’ve listed a few of our favorite techniques for how to style a turtleneck below.

#1 Supersize It

Don’t feel like wearing a skintight shirt? Totally fine! Grab a slouchy high-necked oversized turtleneck sweater for a look that combines couture with comfort. Push up those sleeves and balance the look with some dainty accessories, like:

  • Bracelets
  • A watch
  • Your favorite gem-laden rings 

Too much bulk? Add a belt to bring some shape to your waistline and you’ll be good to go.

#2 Get the Emily in Paris Look

Deep down, we all want to be Parisian—and now we can at least look like one, thanks to the sleek, chic, neutral tones of a cream-colored knit turtleneck. Channel your favorite character with this fall fashion trend statement. Throw on a pair of black tights to keep the autumn chill at bay and go the extra mile by adding a beret.

Top off your look or mix and match with the following:

  • A bold red lip
  • Your favorite dark denim
  • A pair of stylish sunnies
  • A cute clutch purse
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#3 Go for Consistent Color

We love all things monochrome—when done correctly, that is. What do we mean by that? For starters, monochrome is often more successful when used with a bright, statement color like aqua or kelly green. Make sure the turtleneck and pants match exactly, and add big chunky jewelry if you feel like going for it. 

Bonus points for matching kicks—but you can also choose to add a bit of contrast here. If your statement turtleneck color is bright, try finishing the look with a neutral bootie.

#4 Pair It with a Blazer

A turtleneck-and-blazer combo is a superb look for work. The tall neckline elongates the figure and looks completely professional. We think a black turtleneck beneath a wool or tweed structured jacket—or even a corduroy option, like our Kaison Pocketed Corduroy Blazer—is both a wonderful white-collar look and a fine way to change things up from the regular button-down blouse. 

Complete your ensemble with some work-chic accessories, like:

  • Some dangly earrings that brush the shoulder
  • A pencil skirt in a matching or contrasting color
  • A pair of pointed-toe faux-leather booties

#5 Try It with a Skirt

This is a perfect example of work-to-weekend wear. Start with a slim-fitting turtleneck that fits smoothly beneath the hem of your skirt and include a gold necklace on top for some texture. Ta-da—you’re ready to transform from professional to party girl in a snap.

If the look feels too stuffy come happy hour, you can always dress things down by switching to a French tuck (instead of all-tucked-in) for an easygoing effect. Our Latte Lover Knit Sweater is perfect for this.

For a more cozy turtleneck outfit, pair an oversized or cropped turtleneck sweater with a mini skirt, and finish off with knee-high boots as your statement piece. Knee-high boots are fall shoes women adore, which also happen to be warm for those extra chilly days.

#6 Go Back in Time with a 90s Vibe

This one is a tribute to all the moms who rocked white sneakers and high-waisted boyfriend jeans—the true turtleneck stars of yesteryear. Start with a roomy pair of denim—the lighter wash, the better—and add a thick brown belt. Add a loose-fitting turtleneck and don’t forget to tuck it in. Roll those pant legs to finish the look.

For extra points, add a touch of today to this look with:

  • A high, tight ponytail or bun
  • Some suede boots instead of white sneakers
  • A shiny glazed-donut manicure

#7 Become Brunch-Ready with a Fancy Turtleneck Sweater

More fall outfit ideas with different styles of this staple? We love a puffed sleeve turtleneck. It’s the perfect combination of sophisticated and surprising, and often the only statement piece you need. Add a pair of dark jeans and ankle boots, and voila—this outfit is all but complete. 

Style our Adamant Puffed Sleeve Sweater with a crossbody bag and satiny lipstick to achieve the official Mimosa Drinkers of America uniform.

Fall in Love with the Versatile Turtlenecks with VICI

Whether you're styling a tight turtleneck, a cozy oversized turtleneck, or a turtleneck dress, the importance of any outfit idea is making it your own. When we sat down to round up our favorite turtleneck-centric looks, we quickly realized that the key to making this piece look timeless is making the look your own. There are many ways to include this kind of shirt in your outfit, but our top tip is this: 

Wear it with confidence. 

After all, it’s the only accessory that’s a must with any outfit.

Turtlenecks are for everyone, but mastering the secret art of styling them can take time. Check back this fall for more warm and cozy essentials, or get in touch with one of our stylists to learn more about how you can take this look into the office and out on the streets. Shop our women’s online boutique to find your own style this fall. 


Sources: 

  1. Refinery29. What Actually Happens When You Put On A Black Turtleneck. https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/black-turtlenecks 
  2. Startup Fashion. Fashion Archives: A Look at the History of the Turtleneck. https://startupfashion.com/fashion-archives-a-look-at-the-history-of-the-turtleneck/ 

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