There is something about a turtleneck that I just like. Plain and simple. In the winter months, the chances are you’ll find me in one when I’m trying to look put-together (but with minimum effort). Turtlenecks have a way of being at once refined and casual. They are the sartorial equivalent of après-ski or a Mercedes 220D.
I like the romanticism of a good turtleneck, too. Looking through any time period and you’ll find an iconic image of some archetypal menswear figure sporting one. Scottish farmers? Check. Debonair Hollywood actors? Check. Ralph Lauren? Check. Sailors? Check. French poets? D’accord. Through all manners of life, the turtleneck has reigned as the supreme pullover option for someone who wants to look good and feel good.
How to Style a Turtleneck
A turtleneck may just be the easiest thing to style, but let’s start with something I need to get off my chest before we begin. A mock-neck is not a turtleneck. A quarter-zip isn’t a turtleneck. A proper turtleneck needs that attractive fold around the neck, and a little bulk never hurt, either.
Now, with that said, the turtleneck is as versatile as it comes. You can pair it with a suit jacket and jeans for a cocktail party look. A full suit for when you want to don your gay apparel during the holidays. A pair of jeans and some loafers for an off-duty Greenwich Village dad look. Or a pair of ripped and baggy jeans with an Aran sweater-style turtleneck for a totally casual vibe. Wearing a turtleneck is a statement for sure, but all that statement is saying is, “I look great in this.”
The Best Men’s Turtlenecks
Uniqlo Extra Fine Merino Turtleneck Long-Sleeve Sweater
Uniqlo’s turtleneck is just the right price and shape to start experimenting with turtlenecks and is a testament to the brand’s cult following when it comes to basics. The merino base is buttery and light, making it great for layering while breathable enough so you’re not overheating. It comes in a few color variants and has a comfortable drop-shoulder to a slightly modern look.
Quince Mongolian Cashmere Turtleneck Sweater
It’s hard to beat Quince’s price when it comes to a cashmere sweater. While I understand some people will be suspicious if it’s any good at this price, I can assure you that it is. It’s a very simple silhouette that goes with nearly anything, and the beauty of it is that the more you wear it the softer it gets. I sized up on this one to keep it just a little baggy for when I want to cozy up in it, but the excess fabric drapes well enough it doesn’t look ill-fitting.
Cable Turtleneck Sweater
Abercrombie and Fitch has graduated from its mall days into a brand that stays on trends and still offers timeless options at a reasonable price. Its cable turtleneck bridges the financial gap between Buck Mason and Wills while still offering the wearer a great option. It’s not too chunky, and goes great under a blazer, dark jeans, and loafers for date night or after-work drinks.
Buck Mason Herdsman Turtleneck
There are many different kinds of turtleneck, and a thick wool variant is a great step up from your basic black option. Buck Mason’s herdsman turtleneck uses a comfortable five-gauge wool in a waffle pattern to give a little texture without being overly decorative to keep your style simple and timeless.
Wills Aran Cable Turtleneck Sweater
It’s hard to find a more classic sweater option than an Aran Cable design, and Wills’s version is the perfect option for the modern man. Perfectly paired with jeans, it easily elevates even the most casual of looks. At less than $200, this sweater is a great option for someone looking for a pure wool sweater in a style that will never feel stale.
Aimé Leon Dore Donegal Turtleneck Sweater
ALD’s basics are unparalleled, and the Donegal Turtleneck is no exception. This sweater comes in a gray and blue option, which lightens up the usual sombre sweater tones seen just about everywhere. It has a generous, chunky neck to it to add a bit of depth to your outfit, which makes it great to balance with a jean like a 505 Levi.