Ask Lance, Fashion, Style Journal

Ask Lance: How to Wear A Turtleneck

How to wear a turtleneck lance chung feature

Lately, I’ve had this intense fixation on turtleneck sweaters. Maybe I’m just prematurely turning into an old man, or perhaps I can attribute my newfound obsession to the sartorial savants of Pitti Uomo, or one of the other menswear capitals of the world. Regardless, it’s an item that i’ve dusted off and been wearing on repeat since the temperatures have dropped. Like a crisp, white shirt or a great pair of jeans, it’s a classic that every man should have in his arsenal. However, it can be a tricky item to pull off. Wear it the wrong way and you can end up looking outdated and uncomfortable. Do it properly, though, and you’ll look like the very reason the word “sprezzatura” came into existence.

Bonding over our mutual love for turtlenecks, I recently got together with my friend and stylist, Amarsana, to create a style guide focusing on this very piece. Here, you’ll find six very different looks that showcase six different ways to wear the sweater of the season. Read on and enjoy!

Photography: Janick Laurent

Turtleneck Sweater copy
On its own
The great thing about turtlenecks is the amount of versatility they offer in a man’s wardrobe. While layering is most certainly encouraged (and often necessary), you can just as easily wear one on its own. If you’re looking for something cozy, a chunky cable knit is the way to go. A thin Merino wool is an equally classic and sophisticated alternative. Roll out the neck for a more je ne sais quoi vibe, if you please.

(Turtleneck by Loft 604)

Turtleneck sweater with sweatpants copy
With sweatpants
Heading to the cabin for a quick getaway? Ditch the tailored goods and spend your weekend in cozy bliss by wearing your turtleneck with a pair of matching sweatpants, thick socks and some heavy-duty boots. Don’t be afraid to go for a looser fit (comfort is key), just make sure the proportions are right.

Note: Ladies, want to get the look? Head over to Amarsana‘s site to see six ways to wear it on your own!

(On Lance: Turtleneck by Oliver Spencer; sunglasses by MYKITA, available at Josephson Opticians; sweatpants, socks and boots by Roots Canada. On Amarsana: Turtleneck by Brooks Brothers; sunglasses by RETROSUPERFUTURE, available at Josephson Opticians; sweatpants, socks and boots by Roots Canada)

Turtleneck Sweater with Leather Jacket copy
With a leather jacket
For those days where the weather is a little more forgiving, a slick leather jacket is all that you need to inject some attitude into your overall ensemble. Channel your inner Marlon Brando by pairing a thick roll neck with your favourite moto or bomber jacket. I love the idea of going tone on tone with the two pieces – it comes off as clean, classic and sophisticated. Just make sure to pick a knit with some personality to keep things interesting. Pull out the sleeves for added effect.

(Leather jacket by Danier Leather; turtleneck by J. Lindeberg; sunglasses by Ray-Ban)

Turtleneck Sweater with Overcoat copy
With an overcoat
While layering is something that I fully endorse, sometimes it can come off as a bit busy if you’re doing it the wrong way. One way to avoid such mistakes is to forgo it altogether and instead, pick a few pieces that each have their own charm. A statement coat paired with a visually interesting turtleneck and pants is all that you need to leave a lasting impression. Each piece has its own personality, yet they all work together to create one cohesive look. The key is to maintain balance. Go for one bold print or pattern that will catch everyone’s attention, and round out the rest with pieces that have more subtle characteristics that can be further appreciated once up close.

(Coat by Sandro; turtleneck by Massimo Dutti; pants by Club Monaco)

Turtleneck Sweater with casual weekend look
 Weekend layering
Being off duty is hardly any excuse for your style to do the same. Whether you’re going out for a stroll or meeting friends for a bite, being out of the office provides a unique opportunity for men to show off their sartorial personalities outside of their corporate uniforms. Start with a thin turtleneck as your foundation and build with a denim jacket or quilted vest underneath a blazer for a casual, yet polished, ensemble. Add a baseball cap and handsome pair of frames to finish off your look.

(Jacket by Black Fleece; denim jacket by A.P.C.; turtleneck by Gucci; trousers by J. Lindeberg; hat by Roots Canada; glasses by Thom Browne, available at Josephson Opticians; bracelet custom made)

Turtleneck Sweater with Suit copy
With a suit
If you’ve grown weary of the usual shirt and tie combinations, consider wearing a turtleneck with your suit instead. While the rest of your office brethren will end up looking all the same, you’ll be able to set yourself apart from the herd by switching things up. Steer clear of the thicker varieties so as not to add bulk underneath your suit, though. You’ll want to go for a thin cashmere or Merino wool to maintain a trim silhouette. Try to go for complementary colours as well so your outfit doesn’t end up competing with itself. Do it properly, and you’ll look like you stepped right out of an old Italian film. (Note: The combination can be just as effective with a pair of jeans for a more casual look, too.)

(Coat by Krane Design; suit by Club Monaco; turtleneck by Canali; socks and shoes by Loding; watch by TRIWA; lapel pin by BRRYBNDS, available at Lost & Found)

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2 Comments

  • Reply FASHIONIGHTS December 20, 2014 at 10:03 PM

    I love this. Excellent job.

    • Reply Lance Chung December 20, 2014 at 11:38 PM

      Thank you! Means a lot coming from you!

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