My friend Rachel is the only person I know who has lived the capsule wardrobe philosophy for years. She wears simple colors in gorgeous trendy silhouettes and mixes them with one or two bottoms. She buys higher-end items and resells them while they are still in excellent condition for their next owner. Before I met her, I honestly didn’t believe that there were people who actually pulled that off.
She has also worked remotely for over eight years and is one of the few women that I know who does her work each day, and then logs off. No guilt, no second-guessing the day. I so admire this!
This September we were in Maine together and she had already started wearing turtlenecks (whilst remote working on the porch, with a glass of lunch wine). I realized this might be my window into the clean lines of the capsule mind. She agreed to share her favorites! Here they are…
Turtlenecks have sustained the test of time. My mom recently sent me my kindergarten school picture. Guess what I was wearing? A turtleneck! Guess what I am wearing right now? A turtleneck! Between the months of October through April, you will find me in a turtleneck. Now that I think of it I wear mock-neck tanks in the summer. Something about the cut feels sophisticated, chic, and slimming (because I can easily cover my double chin!)
Growing up in Southern California, I would seize every opportunity I could to wear a turtleneck during “winter” (78 degrees in the dead of January), but when I moved to New York City turtlenecks became a necessity. 7 years later I’m writing blog posts about them. What is life!
This post will mostly be a highlight reel of my favorite turtlenecks, places to find quality turtlenecks and the best material to look for when purchasing your own sacred turtleneck. I also want to highlight how available some of these more expensive pieces are secondhand. I have bought the majority of my higher quality cashmere and wool winter staples from Poshmark + Noihsaf Bazaar. The beauty of buying high quality pieces is that you can resell them listed as “worn once” when really they were worn 150 times… but who could ever tell! I have a capsule wardrobe so I cycle through 15 pieces of clothing per season, so buying quality fabrics is important to me and my closet that is only 2 feet wide.
The last thing that I think is very important to note is that turtlenecks can also double as a mask. Two birds, one turtleneck!
a. Everlane Micro Rib Turtleneck: This is probably my favorite turtleneck purchases of 2019. It’s incredibly soft, it has the right amount of stretch, easily layered/tucked, and the price cannot be beat. Additionally, it is highly durable. After 20+ washes, it looks and feels the same as the day I bought it. I have it in three colors and after today I will have it in four. 10/10 would recommend.
b. Banana Republic’s merino wool turtleneck is another steal. For a 100% merino wool piece, this is very affordable and will last a long time. I love merino wool — you’ll see a theme emerge as you continue reading. Merino wool is a natural fiber gathered from Merino sheep. It’s thin, soft and easy on your skin. It also regulates your body temperature and vaporizes sweat making your clothes essentially odor free. During layering season this is a huge game changer! This turtleneck is currently 50% off. Run, don’t walk.
c. Back at it again with the merino wool, this time ribbed (praise!) and cheaper (PRAISE!). Uniqlo’s micro-rib merino wool turtleneck is such a steal. All of the benefits as listed above, except this is extra fine merino — it won’t keep you as warm, but will definitely do the trick when layering with a thicker sweater OR if you live in a more mild climate but want that chic winter look, this one’s for you. Another perk is that it’s machine washable for those intimidated by temperamental textiles. 45 minutes ago I just shrunk my most beloved wool sweater in the washer; I stand with the intimidated. For a more stylized version of this turtleneck with a raw hem, I love this COS sweater.
d. Plot twist! Another merino wool turtleneck, but this time a lot thicker and still affordable, chic, and tuck friendly. If turtlenecks make you feel like you are being suffocated, this is a great starter-turtle. It’s not as tight around the neck and the fold falls more mid neck than high neck. This is also a great option for those experiencing mild winters but want to go out sans jacket. It will keep you just toasty enough. Thank you merino sheep for your sacrifice!
e. We are now dipping into my love language: Cashmere. Naadam’s cashmere is next level in terms of quality. It doesn’t pill as easy, it gets softer with every wear (literally) and it won’t drain the bank. I’ve really leaned into the cropped look these past few years. This top goes great with high waisted jeans for a warm but less bulky look. I’m the type of girl who tucks her sweaters into her jeans (this is considered sinful to many) so this sweater gives the tucked look without the extra stuffing.
f. Can’t keep away from the cashmere. This is a classic cashmere turtleneck. Cozy, slim fit, soft as can be. I would recommend sizing up for that oversized look. Working from home, I wear this almost all day in my video meetings as my professional self, and then not so shamelessly climb into bed. Work clothes that double as pajamas are always worth the investment!
g. Ozma knows quality, so I’d buy almost anything they produce. This turtleneck is made of silk noil which is essentially raw silk, but it’s not as delicate as traditional silk so you don’t have to be as precious with the fabric. The nubby texture, soft drape, and reasonable price point makes this fabric (and turtleneck) a unique piece to have in your wardrobe that gets softer with wear. Wear this under a romper, dress or tucked into your favorite denim.
h. Jenni Kayne’s Italian cashmere turtleneck is the definition of bougie. This turtle will last you a lifetime, if you treat it right. I use The Laundress wool and cashmere shampoo for my special turtle friends. It keeps the fibers soft and keeps unwanted moths away. A piece like this won’t need to be washed that often, but when you do wash you don’t want to fear you will ruin it. This shampoo helps take the edge off.
j. For your turtleneck averse, this no-roll-turtleneck has plenty of space to breath. I also love the more boxy look with a boot cut jean, pair with a fun pair of boots (recommended by Joanie) Everlane’s cashmere is also high quality without the sticker shock. It does pill (like all cashmere) but if you invest in a de-fuzzer your sweater will look and feel new every season.