Everyone loves a good comeback story, right? That’s where your new favorite winter wardrobe staple enters the arena: The turtleneck. Men’s turtlenecks tend to take some flak as just a touch “dorky” (Steve Jobs wore one practically every day, after all), but let’s be real for a second. Style icons like Steve McQueen also donned the silhouette, so it’s not all nerdy. The best men’s turtlenecks are actually quite cool and refined, and they’re a great option for cold weather outfits.
Still not sold? Consider that centuries before Mr. Jobs donned his black turtleneck to trot out the iPod, medieval knights wore an ultra-early version of the sweater to prevent chafing from chainmail. How badass is that?
Today’s turtlenecks feature some design differences from those proto-turtlenecks—they’re not worn under a suit of armor, for starters. The turtleneck now is defined as much by its modern fabric (like merino wool or organic cotton) as by its extended roll collar, which offers added protection at the neckline.
How to Style a Turtleneck
Every guy needs a stylistic change of pace from cardigans and crewneck sweaters, and a turtleneck is a great way to mix things up. Plus, it’s very versatile. You can wear the turtleneck as a base layer underneath a field jacket, or pair it with a shearling leather jacket (Lt. Frank Bullitt would approve). When worn in place of a shirt and tie underneath a winter suit, the right turtleneck gives off a sort of devil-may-care vibe—the kind of look that says “I’ll dress up, but I’ll do it my way.” (Mr. McQueen would be proud).
And don’t forget that famous gentlemen like Ernest Hemingway also wore turtleneck sweaters for adventures far afield. We can’t promise you’ll look as good as “Papa” when wearing one, but it’s worth a try.
You can find men’s turtlenecks that lean more luxurious, along with performance-oriented sweaters that can work as base layers. Go ahead and give the turtleneck another shot this winter: Effortless style is now in your crosshairs.
The Best Men’s Turtlenecks for Winter 2022-23
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