A turtleneck, also known as Polo Neck is basically a sweater with a high neckline or collar that covers some or more part of the neck when rolled or folded. It’s mostly knitted and has come a long way in history.
Like other iconic pieces, such as the bomber jackets, the turtleneck shirt started out as a utilitarian piece. They are such a classic piece that carries a noteworthy history.
Summary of Turtlenecks’ history
In the 1500s, the turtleneck shirt was invented. Constant use of the armour caused chafing of the upper body and neck of the knights. It eventually made it difficult for knights to turn their heads during a battle. A turtleneck was worn to solve this life-threatening problem.
In the 1600s, it took a dramatic transition from a protective piece to a fashion statement. Ruffles were added to the neckline to make it look glamorous. It was worn by Queen Elizabeth I of England and people of high social standards at that time. A depiction of one’s social class could be seen in the size and volume of the ruffles.
In the 1800s, the turtleneck shirt was preferably used as office wear. In 1860, it got its name ‘polo neck’ when it was added as a uniform for the English polo players.
In the 20th century, turtlenecks had many uses. Major highlights are;
In the 1920s: Turtlenecks with lower necklines were introduced. Noel Coward, an English playwright continued wearing this piece keeping it in trend through his decade, till it finally went off fashion.
The 1940s -1950: Skin tight and cropped variants of the turtleneck became popular. Jayne Mansfield and Audrey Hepburn gave iconic looks to the turtleneck.
The 1970s: Feminists like Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman-Hughes, fought with the notion that women can wear turtlenecks too.
During the 2000s it fell in and out of fashion, but today it has made its way to a ‘must have’ in your closet. So here are 3 reasons you need a turtleneck too.
1. It’s multifunctional:
Sportswear, a royal piece and an iconic robe are different functions of the turtleneck from our short journey through history. And it still holds true today as it can be worn for different purposes ranging from a wedding to a stroll. It is easy to work in which makes a great business casual. Such a versatile piece.
2. It’s easy to style:
Its suave nature makes it easy to style. It’s also very comfortable and easy to tuck in for working-class men and women. If you run out of matching ideas, try on a turtleneck. A turtleneck in your blazers can never go wrong.
A sophisticated look could be styled with denim jeans, heels and a pair of shades. Wearing in or over a dress or skirt can give a formal look. Don’t be afraid to accessorize with a chain, pendant or wristwatch. Mind your colors when matching. Stick with black for a start.
3. It works with the weather:
Turtlenecks come in different materials with different weight levels. Thick ones that can be worn or layered in temperate countries. Lighter ones with a smaller fold are largely worn in the tropics and can be layered too. You can also get a turtleneck without sleeves.
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