Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Turtleneck Love

I love a classic turtleneck. Simple, unfussy, close-fitting around the neck so it doesn't bag or droop. Alone or under a jacket or coat, they're a wardrobe staple in any fashion icon's closet.

From the classic icons of the sixties and seventies like Audrey and Ali.

   
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To current icons like Ines and Kate...

                 
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They all look chic and pulled together in their simple black or white turtlenecks. Yep.... I do love turtlenecks. Always have done.

Which is kind of odd, really. Since our relationship has been...well... rather fraught over the years. 

Let me explain. As a child I had an enormous head. Seriously. That's me second from the left, at age two. See what I mean?


When I was a child, my grandmother bought me lovely outfits at a chi-chi children's store in Fredericton. I remember one grey, woolen jumper (that's tunic to you Brits) with red trim and a matching turtleneck sweater for wearing underneath. And after trying to shoe-horn my head into the neck of the sweater, having it stick somewhere halfway and almost smothering me, my mum had to cut the neck of the sweater up the back and sew in snaps. Only then would it fit over my head. Sigh. Fashion can be painful. 

And even more painful in high school when, changing after gym class, I hurriedly jammed my head into my favourite chocolate brown turtleneck and pulled a muscle in my neck when it snapped sideways. Other people have athletic injuries. I have fashion injuries. 

So I have always loved turtlenecks. It's just that they haven't always loved me.

And this fall they seem to be everywhere again. In the ads in fashion magazines. Like this one for Ralph Lauren. I love this classic black sweater, such a lovely high neck. 


And in the fashion shoots. Like the white Tod's turtleneck on the left from the October issue of Vogue. Or the Max Azria one on the right from Vogue's September issue. 

   

And just like last year, classic, slim, white and black turtlenecks, with lovely high necks, are everywhere in the magazines... but where the heck are they in the stores? 

The heavier, longer sweaters are not hard to find. I've seen several on Net-a-porter.com, and I found this grey Vince sweater at Holts last fall. It's actually quite light weight. And the neck stays up nicely and doesn't scrunch down or look sloppy. (Can you tell that a shlumpy neck is something I obsess about in a turtleneck?) I wear this sweater a lot with skinny jeans or with my leather pants. 


But what I've really been longing for, and searching for, is a slim, silky turtleneck sweater that has a high, stretchy neck that won't bag, and which will slip easily under a blazer or pullover and won't be too hot. And, hopefully, is a bit loose and falls away from the body, so I can wear it alone. Tight-fitting sweaters having gone the way of the dodo bird since the onset of middle age middle...aka slippage.

And, as I said before, where the heck have all the sweaters like this been hiding?  See what I mean about a fraught relationship? I love turtlenecks, but clearly they don't feel the same about me. I'm sure they slip quietly out of sight when I hove into view at the mall. 

Except for Vince. I Love Vince, and Vince loves me. 

I bought this silky, slim, stretchy-neck, lovely long-sleeved, not-too-tight number at Holt Renfrew last winter. It fit the bill perfectly. Well almost. I was, in fact, looking for a white sweater when I bought it. But, almost perfect turtlenecks that tick all the boxes except colour are not to be scoffed at... so it came home with me. 

www.vince.com
I love it with my black boots and tan Tory Birch cords. Or with my black leggings and my newly re-discovered pea coat, which I unearthed from my closet and which I talked about in a post a week or so ago.



And so the search continued for a similar sweater in white. I tried all my usual places... and some new ones... with no luck. Then I had an inspired thought. Vince.com carried my lovely, black turtleneck... and they also had it in grey and in white. Yeah.

Now, I don't do a lot of on-line clothes shopping, except at the Gap. That's because I'm too suspicious that the size and fabric and cut of the products will be nothing like the pictures on the website. I know what Gap products I like and how they fit; plus, I can return them at a local store if I've made a mistake. Easy. Foolproof, even. So since I already had the Vince sweater in black, and I'd received an e-mail about their 25% off sale, I ordered it on-line. Just as an experiment... to see if this was something I might do in future.

Well, let's just say that I was happy with the sweater when I received it. Lovely... all the attributes I wanted... and the right colour. 

I was less impressed with the on-line shopping experience itself. Vince.com ship with Fedex which allows you to sign up for e-mail alerts when the product will be delivered. The only alert I received was the knock at the door when the delivery man was standing on my back step. It was just by chance that I was home. I had to pay the shipping, which I knew about, and taxes and duty, which I knew about too. But, I also had to pay a $10.00 "road fee"... whatever that is. So, I actually ended up paying quite a bit more for the sweater than if I had bought it in Ottawa at full price. Good thing it was 25% off! 

Still, I console myself with the fact that I wasn't able to find the sweater (or one I liked as much) in Ottawa, which is why I ordered it on-line to begin with. And with the fact that it was an experiment... and I've learned my lesson. 

And now I finally own a silky, slim, stretchy-neck, lovely long-sleeved, not-too-tight sweater... in white. And which slips easily over my still fairly large, although not as alarmingly huge as when I was a child, head.




Ah, the life of a fashion icon is not an easy one. Or so I hear. Trying to keep one's wardrobe stocked with all those fashion staples, can be difficult.  

And yes, turtleneck love can be tough love sometimes. You might even say, a pain in the neck at times... if you liked bad puns. 





Do you suffer from turtleneck love? Painful or otherwise.






Linking up this week with Style Me Wednesday at Shopping My Closet, What I Wore Wednesday at The Pleated Poppy, and Thursday Blog Hop at Over 50, Feeling 40

37 comments:

  1. Looks great on you but I've never been a fan of turtlenecks on me. My neck is short (but so am I) and I've always felt turtlenecks make it look even shorter.

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    1. I think I like them because my body is so short compared to my long legs and turtlenecks kind of elongate my body....maybe.Thanks for stopping by Diane.

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  2. Really suits you!

    I'm a Brit and I think what you call a jumper, I would have called (when I was a little girl) a "pinafore dress". Which is not to say that there isn't some UK region where "tunic" trips more readily off the tongue. And I'd be more likely to say "polo neck" than "turtleneck". But I'm a Londoner and date from a time when a trouser and a boot were plural, a time of tie dye and loons and purple.

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    1. I love how we all speak our own version of English. Maybe I was thinking of Australians...do they say tunic?

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    2. Hi, Susan.

      As an Australian I'll translate as clearly as I can :)

      ( USA ) turtleneck = poloneck or skivvy ( especially the T-shirt version )
      ( USA ) jumper = pinafore or tunic dress

      ...and what we call a jumper you folk call a sweater :)

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    3. Thanks, Cee. Here in Canada we use the same terms as Americans for some things...not for others. I know several Canadians who use tunic, when I would say jumper. Depends on what part of the country we come from.

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  3. I Have loved turtlenecks, but the last 5 or 10 years, I find them too much of a commitment to wear inside, especially when teaching. A scarf keeps me warm but can be removed or loosened when the heat suddenly ramps up (either externally or internally). I do have two tissue-weight merino turtlenecks in grey, brown, for layering in deepest winter, and a black Sarah Pacini I've had for years, long enough and medium-weight so it can be worn under a jacket or on its own. And I recently couldn't resist a Aqua merino one I saw a J Crew. On sale, of course. So maybe my love is being rekindled. . . Curious to know, in future, might you consider getting Holts to try to bring a similar item in, given that their carrying a pretty wide selection of Vince and that the online experience was less than ideal?

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    1. Oh...I hear you. Ten years teaching writing in a computer lab with 32 computers all giving off heat, not to mention 30 teenage bodies giving off heat....made me very adept at layering. I must think to ask my friend who works at Holts. Not sure how that would work since they are closing in Ottawa. Good idea though.

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  4. Hello Susan, I've been reading your blog for a little while and enjoying it very much. I myself can't wear turtlenecks any more - I can't stand anything too tight around my neck. However, I have a question - where in Ottawa do you buy Vince? Is it only in Holts? (In which case I'm very late to the game!) I've been seeing Vince items on blogs and like the styles very much, although my budget is probably more Gap than Vince (I would definitely be sale shopping).

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    1. Thanks for reading, Patricia. I have not yet been able to find Vince anywhere else in Ottawa. But your question gives me an idea for some research. I should try to scout several brands that I currently only get at Holts and where else they might be available. I have found good jeans elsewhere, and just last week found Yoga jeans at Shepherds in the new outlet mall in Kanata. Watch this space and I'll post any info I find.

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    2. Thank you Susan! I don't get downtown very often (I live east of the city) but I do enjoy window shopping in the nicer stores when I get the chance. I'm looking forward to checking out the new outlet mall. I'm about your age, maybe a bit younger (54) and have just started looking at more expensive brands - that's what reading blogs will do to you!! :0)

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  5. Oh man...this made me laugh. I can relate to the "big head child" syndrome (and your bit about fashion injuries--LOL!). I like the idea of a turtleneck but they don't look good on me at all. Maybe if I layered a v-neck sweater over them but then we are talking too many hot layers going on. I like how you styled yours in these photos...they (you!) look very nice.

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    1. Thanks very much. I like the Vince T-necks because they are so thin...and so not hot at all. And then if I do get hot I can take my jacket off and they look good alone...not tight or clingy.

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  6. Polonecks are classic as you say, love how you've styled these looks. I like how you wear a scarf and blazer with the poloneck. Your old family photo is cute!

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    1. Thanks Lorna mai. I love how you call turtlenecks polo necks...wonder where the expression "polo neck" came from? English is sure a funny language, eh? Thanks for stopping by.

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    2. Polo literally means " round ", which is what a polo ball is, funnily enough.

      The Brits thought it would apply to describe a " rounded collar " that both applied to either an open neck shirt, ie. " polo collar " or " poloshirt " or a high rounded collar, ie " poloneck. "

      The Yanks just took a look and thought, " Hmm... That thing looks like the neck on a turtle. "

      ...and the rest is history :)

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  7. By coincidence I purchased a black turtleneck at Judith and Charles yesterday. I went in looking for a light weight black t-shirt for layering, and ended up buying a black turtleneck as well. It's going to be very cold soon, and covering my wrinkled neck is a nice touch. Both were made in Canada which I like, but interestingly the small fit best in the t-shirt and the medium was best in the turtleneck. If I hadn't tried them on in the store I would ordered both in the same size and been disappointed with one of them!

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    1. Good thing you found them in the store, eh? I like "Judith and Charles" clothing. So glad they changed their name. It was embarrassing to have to admit, when asked, that my pants or blouse was from "Teenflo."
      Thanks for stopping by.

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  8. I love how classic turtlenecks look, but they've never looked good on me (short neck, big bust) and the older I get, the less I can tolerate anything fitted around my neck. So I'll create "faux" turtlenecks by wrapping a lightweight scarf if the weather's cool enough to warrant. Yours look fabulous!

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    1. I think that you're not alone. A lot of people find turtlenecks too constricting. I seem t like everything tight around my neck. Thanks for reading, Sue.

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    2. It love turtlenecks, but much prefer " snug fitting " to " tight. "

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    3. " I love turtlenecks ", I meant... *Face palm*

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  9. i love the way turtlenecks look in the ads or on other people, but i also find them too confining. when i've worn them i've found myself constantly tugging at them to loosen them. i'm with une femme--give me a pretty scarf which will fill the collar of my coat without choking me.

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    1. My mum always said that my grandfather put his heavy, long underwear on in October and didn't take it off until May ... and then always complained that my grandmother kept the house too hot. Maybe I've inherited some of that. Once the frost hits...I reach for a turtleneck before anything else. Except when I was going through menopause...and still working...then it was tissue thin tee shirts, under a sweater, under a scarf or jacket so each layer could be peeled off as needed. Thanks for reading, Susan.

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  10. What an amusing post. Yes, I've had "fashion injuries" too when pulling on a tight sheath dress. Turtlenecks are lovely and I've worn them since childhood. They are one of the few items available to both boys and girls. Many are uncomfortable, though, so we need to look for ones that fit us.

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    1. Yep, fit makes all the difference doesn't it? That's for stopping by.

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  11. Hi: I saw your comment over at Chicatanyage re. the Polo Necks. Yes, I am a fan! Always have been. They look so stylish, keep you warm, come in so many weights etc etc. And I am loving the newer sort of tunic style you have here. I wear a lot of black leggings and tight jeans and they look just wonderful with a longer turtleneck/tunic!
    And now, I'm off today on the hunt for the perfect winter coat! Not too heavy, no quilting, not too short, just the right color etc etc. We will see! I might actually do a post on winter coats next week. Glad to discover your blog!

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    1. I am all about the long/tunic turtleneck/polo neck and jeans/leggings combo. Good luck with the coat quest. Thanks for reading.

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  12. I love the look of turtlenecks and this sweater you have is gorgeous. As much as I love the look, I can't stand them around my neck so I resort to cowl necklines.

    Thank you for sharing on TBT Fashion link up. Have a great weekend!

    Alice
    www.happinessatmidlife.com

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    1. Thanks. And thanks for hosting the link-up, Alice.

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  13. Susan, I recently came across your blog, and I'm really enjoying it. I'm originally from Ottawa so I particularly enjoy your comments about Manotick and Ottawa. I've been in CA for the past 18 years, but I get home often to visit family.

    I enjoy reading too, so I'll be checking out some of your book recommendations.

    As for turtlenecks, I've always loved the look of them. I particularly like your Vince sweater. I haven't work turtlenecks in quite a few years, but I think I'll check them out again.

    I look forward to reading your blog.

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    1. My black and white Vince turtlenecks are so thin that I can even wear then during a hot flash:) Thanks for reading and following along, Janet. I guess you're not getting snow today like we are!

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  14. You look lovely!
    I only like thin material turtleneck and not so keen on thick wooly ones.

    Thank you for linking with Passion4Fashion LinkUp where I am co-hosting with Rachel.
    Angele
    Following you on bloglovin - I'd be thrilled if you could follow me back:) https://www.bloglovin.com/theeuropeanmalteser

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Angele, and for following.

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  15. Life long fan and wear them religiously for several months of the year, but I understand those who either don't like how they look on them or can't wear them due to physical discomfort.

    Cee

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All comments, ideas, commiserations, questions, complaints... are most welcome.