1 Piece/3 Ways: Fine-Gauge Turtleneck

February 20th, 2013

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The turtleneck is an often overlooked menswear staple. Stereotyped with hockey dads, old english professors, and iconic billionaire computer geniuses, this sweater frequently gets a bad rap.

Also referred to as the roll-neck, polo-neck, or skivvy, the turtleneck has been around for centuries. Originally popularized by athletes and naval officers for it’s durability and warmth, it was eventually embraced by artists, philosophers, and innovators.

When done right, a turtleneck can serve as a stylish and functional layer, and it doesn’t have to look stuffy or old-school. We’ve been wearing them at TSB for years, and we’re happy to see them making a “comeback” in mainstream fashion.

Here, I styled a thin charcoal number for three different occasions.  I hope this inspires some of you to go out and brave the turtle!


 1. Creative Business

If you work in a creative industry, like fashion, or writing, or fashion writing, a fitted turtleneck with a tailored suit is fair game.

It looks sharp, sophisticated and it’s a subtle way to stand out from the typical corporate “suits”.

As Dan has written hundreds of times, simplicity is key in menswear.

Less is more. Less is more confident.

A very classic color palette here – navy, grey and brown. Can’t go wrong.

The suede belt and shoes also help compliment a polished look.

  • Aviator shades by Randolph Engineering
  • Grey cashmere turtleneck by Uniqlo
  • Navy ludlow suit by J. Crew
  • Brown suede D-ring belt by Brooks Brothers
  • Brown socks by Suitsupply
  • Brown suede wingtips by JCrew
  • Brown leather briefcase by Frank Clegg Leatherworks
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  • Marcus Forlan

    Great post to capture the versatility of a turtleneck.

    I used to gravitate towards turtlenecks because I had a think neck relative to my shoulders and they were a great way to hide this imbalance. Useful tip for anyone with such a problem!

    But regardless, I love turtlenecks with suits, sport coats, leather jackets, coats and almost anything you can imagine. They can be dressed up, down or in between depending on what you are wearing them with.

  • Jeff

    A turtleneck is always a great look—and you look especially good in all of the pics.

  • http://www.chapmanbags.com Chapman Bags

    This is a great convo about menswear- I think the issue with turtlenecks is that they can be really bad on the wrong person or with the wrong outfit. They are not exactly universally flattering- slim body type with a jacket and great accessories, yes. Chunky man with less style, an unfortunate no.

  • John

    Everyone is commenting about the belt on look #1, but that awesome briefcase needs some love!

    Look #2 is the best in my opinion, but the barbour is shorter then your suit jacket. Breaking the “rules” a bit here? I like the contrast though!

    • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

      Agreed on the briefcase. Frank Clegg’s handmade leather products are on another level.

      Who’s rules? Your rules? :)

      • Marcus Forlan

        The same rules you talk about breaking in some of your posts :-).

  • LouCaves

    All great looks. The D-ring belt really caught my eye.

    I used to get t-necks as a teenager for Christmas and hated it! Now it’s a staple in my wardrobe. Go figure. Maturity? :)

    Love Archer’s wardrobe. LOL!

    • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

      An acquired taste, maybe.

  • http://undefined khordkutta

    Whoa, that Members Only is ridiculous. Really dig the 1st look as well.

  • Rory

    Killer looks. Love turtlenecks but can’t find any here in Ireland in the past few years. Tempted to look online but not sure what sites to check. Also a bit wary of online buying as I like to try things on first.

  • http://undefined TimL

    Great look.
    I started wearing the heavier gauge tutlenecks under sports coats and suites back in 2001 after seeing George Clooney in Oceans 11. Got alot of nice compliments.
    A very sharp look.

    • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

      Been in the game for years!

      • http://undefined TimL

        I’ve been dressing in style for years but you guys up the game with all sorts of looks and patterns.

  • Robert

    The D-Ring sueded belt in the first look steals the show IMO. I’ve worn the fine gauge Banana Republic turtleneck for years. It’s a great alternative to the shirt/tie business look. Plus it’s a time saver on those A/W months you may be running a little behind.

  • Archer

    I’m not saying I invented the turtleneck. But I was the first person to realize its potential as a tactical garment.

  • http://www.theseals.com.au Desmond

    The belt in look one is a corker!

    Townsend, do you have your Barbour jacket/s tailored? If so, is it simple for a tailor to work with the waxed cotton?

    I tried on a couple of the classics (Bedale, Beaufort etc) in a store one time and they just looked ridiculously loose fitting on me when zipped up.


    • http://tsbmen.com Townsend

      Hey Desmond,

      I don’t have them tailored, I just find the appropriate size, as Barbours can tend to run a bit big.

      Thanks for reading!

  • Ella

    Tom Cruise? Is that you?

  • http://secondhand-dandy.blogspot.com/ Secondhand Dandy

    There is a popular sentence, that: “There’s no thing more flattering the man than a turtleneck” and photos above are the greatest confirmation of such statement. Impeccable! :D