How to Wear a Turtleneck [An Illustrated Guide]


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There are fashion staples that every woman needs to have in her closet. Among these is the turtleneck. How, though, can women go about wearing a turtleneck while still staying true to their personal style?

There are several different types of turtlenecks available on the market today. Not only will you be able to mix and match these types based on your style, but you'll be able to layer them, accessorize them, and personalize them to make them all your own.

In this guide, we'll address the basic types of turtlenecks you can bring into your wardrobe. These include:

  • Classic Turtlenecks
  • Ribbed Turtlenecks
  • Cowl Necks
  • Funnels Necks
  • Knit Turtlenecks
  • Wool Turtlenecks
  • Cropped Turtlenecks
  • Sleeveless Turtlenecks

Once you've found one that you like. You can take a gander through our style guide to determine what look you want to embody before heading out on the town.

What is a Turtleneck?

Before you start adding to your wardrobe, you'll need to determine which kind of turtleneck suits your personal style best. What is a turtleneck, then, and how can you wear one when you go out in public? Let's dive into the options you have available to you, so you know what to look for when you head to the store.

Classic Turtleneck

You've probably seen the perfect classic turtleneck in spy movies, rom-coms, and more. These simple wardrobe additions are typically body-fitted, meaning that they'll add a bit of "oomph" to your wardrobe while also keeping you warm.


Attractive young woman wearing black turtle neck

A classic turtleneck typically has a fitted neck that should lie flat against your skin. These are a versatile type of turtleneck, as you can wear them in a professional environment as well as a casual one. You can even layer a classic turtleneck with a dress, as its slim fit won't add any extra bulk to external layers.

Ribbed Turtleneck

If you're looking for a turtleneck with a bit more texture, you'll want to invest in a ribbed turtleneck. Like the classic turtleneck, the ribbed turtleneck is typically close-fitting. Its neck can either lie flat against your skin or curl over into a cowl.

Gorgeous lady with brown hair, nude make up wearing beige turtle neck

What makes a ribbed turtleneck unique from a classic turtleneck is, well, its ribs. These turtlenecks will have a distinct texture that makes them a little more difficult to hide under tight layers. However, the ribbed texture makes these turtlenecks ideal for professional and casual wear. They are stand-alone items that you can pair with any number of accessories, skirts, or pants.

Cowl Neck

If you're looking for a turtleneck that makes more of a statement, take a look at the cowl neck turtleneck. These sweater-like investments are usually as comfortable as they look, given that they're frequently made out of a thicker fabric than the classic turtleneck.

Beautiful woman wearing grey turtle neck drinking coffee

The neck on a cowl neck turtleneck is typically long enough to cover your ears if you leave it unfolded. That extra length allows your turtleneck to double as a scarf, both in terms of warmth and in aesthetic appeal.

Cowl neck turtlenecks often appear to be more casual than classic or ribbed turtlenecks. That said, when you pair these turtlenecks with a pair of leggings or a skirt, they'll be right at home in a professional setting. Be sure to wear an undershirt, though - especially if your turtleneck is knit. The thicker fabric will keep you warm, but you'll want an extra layer to protect you from any wayward breezes.

Funnel Neck

If you're not fond of the feeling of fabric against your neck, a funnel neck turtleneck may be the fit for you. Funnel neck turtlenecks are shorter in neck length than classic turtlenecks. They'll typically come to rest halfway up your neck, allowing for increased mobility and comfort.

Woman with glasses wearing turtle neck sweater

You'll find funnel neck turtlenecks in all sorts of styles, from knit wool to cashmere. These turtlenecks double as undershirts and statement pieces, meaning that they'll serve a versatile purpose in your wardrobe.

Knit Turtlenecks

We've already mentioned the knit style once or twice on this list. That's because knit turtlenecks are among the most common types of turtlenecks we've seen in the past decade. The knit style refers to the method behind a turtleneck's creation. These wool turtlenecks will come together in a braided style, adding a layer of elegance and comfort to any outfit you choose to wear.

Beautiful blonde young girl wearing winter pullover turtle neck

Knit turtlenecks tend to surge in popularity in the wintertime, often thanks to the warmth that their weave provides. They come in a variety of sizes, as well, offering you a choice between an oversized sweater paws and a body-conforming look. These turtlenecks have a home in casual and professional environments, depending on what you choose to pair your knit top with. Black leggings and tall boots will lend you an air of professionalism, whereas ripped jeans and Converse will let you look more casual.

Wool Turtleneck

Speaking of wool - not all wool turtlenecks are knit turtlenecks. More often than not, you'll find wool turtlenecks that look as sleek as classic turtlenecks.

Young beautiful african american woman wearing glasses and turtle neck

Soft wool turtlenecks are the ideal tops to wear as the weather starts to get chilly. You can pair these turtlenecks with scarves, a beanie, and simple jeans to embrace your hipster roots. Alternatively, you can invest in a tighter-fitting wool turtleneck to improve your winter office-wear.

Cropped Turtleneck

Want to try out a different type of turtleneck? Come summertime, you may find yourself enjoying the versatility of a cropped turtleneck. These turtlenecks embrace the rapidly-modernizing crop top trend by allowing you neck coverage without the pesky fabric by your midriff. Naturally, these turtlenecks may not fit in well in a professional setting. However, if you want to spend a night on the town or add a bit of warmth to a summer dress, the cropped turtleneck is the way to go.


For an equally summer-appropriate look, there's the sleeveless turtleneck. These turtlenecks retain the warm neck and full-body stretch. However, they also promote increased mobility, as they lack the sleeves that other styles embrace.

Happy girl wearing sleeveless turtle neck

You'll be able to wear a sleeveless turtleneck in a casual environment, no matter what time of year it is. You can also pair this type of turtleneck with a jacket or a scarf if you want to make it office-appropriate. Regardless of your style choices, you'll be able to enjoy the aforementioned ribbed, knit, or wool styles when looking for this type of turtleneck, as the cut doesn't dictate the fabric. That kind of versatility makes the sleeveless turtleneck a surprisingly versatile asset in the growing wardrobe.

How To Wear a Turtleneck

Now that you know what kinds of turtleneck styles you have available to you, you can start experimenting with looks. There are several different ways you can wear the turtleneck of your choice. Find the one that's best for you, and you'll be on your way to establishing your unique look.

Knit Turtleneck Tucked In

Transform your knit turtleneck with a chic French tuck, reshaping your silhouette

One of the simplest ways to spruce up your wardrobe is to play with the way you wear your clothes. If you want to change the way your turtleneck looks on you, consider a French tuck. Tucking your knit turtleneck in will change the silhouette of your body and draw peoples' eyes to the rest of your outfit. Pair the tuck with a sharp pair of jeans, and you'll be good to go.

Lots of Layers

photograph of a person wearing a black classic turtleneck layered with red leggings, a scarf, and an unconventional jacket

As the weather gets colder, you might find yourself naturally layering your clothing. Layering turtlenecks with jackets, shrugs, and scarves not only keeps you warm, but it makes your appearance more dynamic. Use a black, classic turtleneck as your base. From there, you'll be able to experiment with brightly-colored leggings, sparkly scarves, and unconventional jackets.

Under a Preppy Jacket

A hyperrealistic photograph showcasing a person wearing a mono-color turtleneck paired with a jacket

Speaking of layers, why not pair your mono-color turtlenecks with a bright jacket? Be it a full jacket or a cropped jacket; a secondary fabric will lend variety to your appearance. Play with colors and textures to see how you can change your appearance!

Cropped with Highwaisted Jeans

A hyperrealistic photograph featuring a person wearing a cropped turtleneck paired with high-waisted jeans

Everyone knows that crop tops pair perfectly with high waisted jeans. Such is also the case with the cropped turtleneck. If you're heading down to the beach or out for the evening, this high-low dynamic will make you look all the more unique.

A Cowlneck Layered Under a Monochromatic Outfit

photograph demonstrating a person layering a cowlneck sweater with another top to add a pop of color to their look

Want to add a pop of color to your look? Why not layer a cowlneck with another top? It may seem unconventional, but this layering will not only keep you warm when your office cranks up the AC, but it'll add an aesthetic appeal to your appearance. Combine the texture of the cowlneck with the monochrome of your top layer, and you'll catch everyone's eye.

Tucked into a Skirt with Thigh High Boots

photograph showcasing a person wearing thigh-high boots with a fitted skirt and various types of turtlenecks, from slightly loose to curve-hugging

Who doesn't love a good pair of thigh-high boots? These boots go perfectly with a fitted skirt and - you guessed it - most types of turtlenecks. Whether you're wearing one that's a little bit or one that hugs your curves, the thigh-high and turtleneck combo is a great way to feel classy.

Classic Turtleneck Tucked Into Jeans

photograph featuring a person with a classic turtleneck effortlessly tucked into a comfortable and stylish pair of jeans, emphasizing the waistline for a sleek appearance

For a similar look, consider investing in a comfortable and stylish pair of jeans. You can easily tuck a classic turtleneck into a pair of jeans to emphasize your waistline and give off a sleek appearance. This look is low-effort and ideal for a casual day out. If you pair it with a scarf and swap the jeans for work pants, it can also make a classic but straightforward work outfit.

Monochromatic Classic Turtleneck With a Long Pleated Skirt and Boots

photograph featuring a person with a monochromatic classic turtleneck paired with a long pleated skirt, capturing a country-chic aesthetic

Is your aesthetic a little more country? Don't worry, there's a turtleneck look on this list for you, too. You can readily pair a monochromatic classic turtleneck with a long pleated skirt. Whether you tuck the shirt in or not is up to you. However, be sure to complete this look with a pair of heeled boots. They can be work boots or casual boots, but either way, the extra "oomph" of height is what pulls this look together.

Under a Denim Jacket

photograph showcasing a person wearing a turtleneck paired with a denim jacket, suitable for cooler fall nights or early spring days

If the weather's getting cooler, a turtleneck may not be enough to keep you warm on its own. On chilly fall nights or early spring days, you can readily pair the turtleneck of your choice with a denim jacket. Be it a cowl neck or a classic look; a monochromatic turtleneck contrasts beautifully with blue denim. It will help you retain your casual aesthetic, even as the weather starts to turn.

Funnelneck Dress

photograph featuring a person in a stylish funnelneck dress, showcasing the versatility of turtlenecks beyond traditional tops

Turtlenecks don't have to be kept solely as tops. Funnelneck dress looks, in particular, allow you to embrace the comfort of a turtleneck while still looking date-ready.

Luxe Layers

photograph showcasing a person with a classically layered turtleneck look, featuring long coats, long pants, and a sharp pair of sunglasses

Want to class up your turtleneck look? Then it's time for layers. Think long coats, long pants, and a sharp pair of sunglasses, to boot. This look is ideal for a professional setting, but it can also help you stand apart when you're out on the town.

Under Overalls

photograph featuring a person wearing a new pair of overalls paired with a turtleneck, showcasing the comeback of this fashion trend

Overalls are slowly making their way back into the fashion scene. With them come look old and new. If you want to take advantage of this rising trend, why not pair a new pair of overalls with a turtleneck? No matter what type of turtleneck you decide to wear, pairing it with denim will lend excellent contrast to your appearance. This look is ideal for a day spent at home, too, meaning that you can break out your most comfortable, oversized turtlenecks.

With a Jumpsuit

photograph showcasing a person wearing a jumpsuit with a turtleneck underneath, transforming summer-wear into versatile year-round fashion

2019 saw the jumpsuit make a comeback. As it turns out, you can readily pair jumpsuits with many of the clothes you already have in your closet. For example, wear a turtleneck under a jumpsuit as the weather gets colder, and you'll be able to turn summer-wear into all-year wear.

With An Oversized Crewneck Sweater, Boots, and Leggings

photograph featuring a person in leggings and boots, complemented by an oversized crewneck sweater

The leggings and boots combo has yet to be beaten. Pair that already-stellar look with an oversized crewneck sweater, and you're in business. This comfy look is ideal for first dates or a day spent out shopping with friends.

An Oversized Cableknit Turtleneck Sweater and Skinny Jeans

photograph showcasing a person in an oversized sweater paired with skinny jeans, highlighting the contrast and comfort of this stylish combination

Are you a fan of contrast? Then you're going to love the oversized sweater, skinny jeans look. This combo challenges the eye and emphasizes comfort.

Boxy Funnelneck

photograph featuring a person wearing a boxy funnel neck paired with leggings or skinny jeans

Speaking of comfort, what's more comfortable than a boxy funnel neck? This non-traditional turtleneck goes well with leggings and skinny jeans, making it perfect for casual days at the office or a day spent lounging at home.

With a Cute, Matching Hat

photograph showcasing a person wearing a turtleneck paired with beanies

One of the best ways to change your turtleneck look is to add a hat! Beanies, duck hunters, sunhats, and more all look good with turtlenecks. It's choosing the best one for your aesthetic that's difficult!

Find the pieces to complete this look through Amazon's extensive catalog.

Sleeveless Turtleneck Tucked Into a Fitted Skirt

photograph featuring a person wearing a sleeveless turtleneck tucked into a fitted skirt

If you want to wear your turtleneck on a night out on the town, but don't want to feel like you're covering up, never fear. We recommended sleeveless turtlenecks for nights when you want to look your best. For a truly dynamic look, try tucking your sleeveless turtleneck into a fitted skirt. The flow of the skirt will keep your silhouette in check, while the tuck will let you play with the location of your waistline. You can accessorize this look further with chunky jewelry to embrace the fun and flirty you.

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